Why Are We Obsessed With True Crime?

Answers to an age-old question

Tara Rose
7 min readFeb 3, 2020


Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

As a female, I know that women are more often obsessed with true crime than our male counterparts. What I know about me: I am in a true crime book club. My Netflix queue looks looks like I’m picking up a new set of unsavory skills on how to become a murderer. I am a co-host of a true crime book club podcast — Murder Shelf Book Club. Obviously, we know where my interests lie.

My significant other? Well, he just doesn’t get it. His support of my fascination is asking me to kindly refrain from talking about serial killers in front of the family or taking a red pen to our episodes, “The pause needs to be longer here, between the music and when you first start speaking.”, “There are too many clicks, you need to smooth this out.”, “You should have introduced yourselves and gave a better description of why you’re doing this.” But what about the content?! I start to wonder if he has even listened to the actual words…

In researching one of our episodes about the trial of Lizzie Borden (an awesome book by the way) — The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson, it became apparent to me that this is not a new phenomenon. This has been going on for more than a century; maybe even centuries — before the dawn of the term ‘serial killer’. For those of you who may not be familiar, Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her stepmother and father with a hatchet in 1893.

You might know the rhyme…

“Lizzie Borden took an ax,

And gave her mother 40 whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father 41.”

Abby and Andrew Borden were murdered in their home, while Lizzie was present. Without spoiling the details of the trial or much of the story, you should know that she was ultimately acquitted. At the time, it was unthinkable that an upper middle-class white woman would have the physical strength, and the audacity!, to commit such a crime.

Robertson uses newspaper quotes from three prominent reporters of the time, Julian Ralph, Joe Howard and Elizabeth Jordan, to demonstrate the atmosphere at the New Bedford Courthouse — crowds of men and women, high-society and ‘calico’ types — mill workers. On…



Tara Rose

Life-long learner, reader of all things. Writing about what interests me and sharing it with you. https://taramrose.medium.com/subscribe