Work Title: The Good-Bye Door: The Incredible True Story of America's First Female Serial Killer to Die in the Chair
Work Author(s): Diana Britt Franklin
Kent State University Press
208 pages, Softcover $18.00
Reviewer: Lynn Evarts
Anna Marie Hahn was one of the most notorious serial killers of her time. There was even a rumor circulating that she "had spread arsenic on her ample breasts, which her male victims sucked." She was sent through the "Good-Bye Door," the door to Ohio's electric chair, on December 7, 1938, after being convicted of poisoning two people. She was accused of killing eight, and there were five others who were poisoned but did not die. She maintained her innocence up until her execution, but wrote a confession that she sent to her lawyers, admitting to four of the murders.
The author became interested in Hahn's case after reading a short article about her, and subsequently learning that some of what had been written about Hahn was inaccurate, particularly the fact that she murdered several husbands. In truth, she only had one husband, and he was alive and well at her trial.
Hahn's trial captured the attention of pre-war America like no case ever had before. Reporters from all over the United States covered the court proceedings, with one Cincinnati Enquirer reporter logging 10,000 words a day on his typewriter. Adding to the enigma that was Anna was her illegitimate thirteen-year-old son who accompanied her on some of her poisoning excursions. It appeared that her initial motive for the poisonings was monetary: she bilked elderly gentlemen out of their money, often slowly poisoning them...