[Y]our natural creature, not inhibited by reason, lives by theft, murder, and dissimulation. It lives, even as regards the male, but for one purpose: to continue its species. Enrage a woman, then, or frighten her into the natural creature, and she will discard all those petty rules invented by the human male for his advantage over, and his safety from, the less disciplined members of the species.... And she will fight you with tooth and talon, with lies, with blows below the belt-metaphorically, of course. -from the Introductory The subtitle says it all: "Being a Series of Accounts of the Lives and Deeds of Notorious Women, Murderesses, Cheats, Cozeners, on whom Justice was Executed, and of others, who, Accused of Crimes, were Acquitted at least in Law; Drawn from Authenticated Sources." In this deliciously histrionic book, Victor MacClure explores with glee a rogues' gallery "deeply shocking" women who were "less than kind and good, something so antagonistic to the smug conception of Eve as the 'minist'ring angel, thou.'" He regales us with the once infamous and now forgotten crimes of Lady Warriston, who in 1600 violently killed her aristocrat husband; the Countess of Somerset, who unleashed a scandal of adultery, witchcraft, strip poker, and murder at the court of King James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England; and others. True crime with an historical twist, this is a wonderfully wicked read. Scottish author VICTOR MACCLURE (1887-1963) also wrote Death on the Set, The Clue of the Dead Goldfish, and The Ark of the Covenant.