Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father 41.
So goes the popular children’s skipping-rope rhyme, based on the real case of the 1892 unsolved murder of Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother, albeit with a total of 29 whacks with an axe rather than 81 purported in the jingle. Lizzie Borden was identified as the prime suspect within days of the crime. She was later famously acquitted in the 1893 double murder trial, based on a lack of direct evidence and likely a belief that a woman could not possibly have committed such a horrendous act.
Sarah Schmidt has breathed new life into this case with her fictional account, based on extensive research, of the time surrounding the murders.
And ooh it was good!