Time and tide are steady and reliable, functions you can rely on. When you involve personalities and events, however, egos and feelings as well as the search for the everlasting dollar contribute to how those various functions relate to lives. Tide may never change, but time is elusive; you can have more — or you can have less. Sometimes fate intercedes. Sometimes that fate is brought about by those you know in unimaginable ways. Murder is not new; it has been around for thousands of years. The reasons are varied and yet make sense to the perpetrator at the time, but not necessarily to anyone else.
In The Wicked Wives by Gus Pelagatti, we are given the opportunity to look into the lives of a group of both women and men that were responsible for the murders of the women’s husbands in the 1930s. The story is based on a true set of crimes, and the strange and unethical reasons understate how little it takes for someone to cross over to the side of murder. During this time in Philadelphia, the scandal resulted in 17 wives being arrested for murdering their husbands. It would take one man to stand up for the victims and uncover the acts that would bring justice.
During the depression, money was scarce and this is the story about how a group of women went about finding the money to lead the lifestyles they were accustomed to, and the depravity of the acts they were willing to use to get where they felt they had to go. Not alone in their disenchanted lives, there appeared to be a mastermind, one who helped and used convincing arguments that allowed them the reasoning for killing their husbands for the insurance money. This man was also an integral part of the process and a lover to all of the women involved.
Pelagatti has used his background as a trial lawyer to help dig into the files and do the research behind this strange and bizarre set of crimes, and bring us a story of these women and their prolific thoughts and reasonings. He digs deep into the psyche of those involved and brings us a look at the lives they led and the circumstances that lead them to the final act of taking another’s life.