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Blood on her hands: South Africa’s most notorious female killers

Tanya Farber

Murder has always fascinated us, and when women are the masterminds, the intrigue grows exponentially. Not only are female murderers much rarer than male killers, but their crimes usually also involve a more sophisticated type of plotting.

In Blood on her hands, award-winning journalist Tanya Farber investigates the lives, minds and motivations of some of South Africa’s most notorious female murderers, from the poisonous nurse Daisy de Melker, to the privileged but deeply disturbed Najwa Petersen, to the mysterious Joey Harhoff who died before revealing where the bodies of her victims (including her own niece) were. Farber sets each case against the backdrop of the different eras and regions of 20th and early 21st century South Africa the women operated in. Her writing style is lighter than the subject matter might suggest and Blood on Her Hands will keep you reading until late at night – probably with your light on.

The women featured also include: Dina Rodrigues, Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron, Marlene Lehnberg, Chane van Heerden and Celiwe Mbokazi.


Tanya Farber is an experienced journalist who currently works at the Sunday Times. She has won international journalism awards (including two Lorenzo Natali Awards from the European Union for Human Rights Journalism and one CNN African Journalism Award), and locally has won print feature writer of the year at the Vodacom Journalism Awards. Tanya has a MA degree in journalism from Wits University, co-wrote photographer Alf Kumalo’s biography with him (Alf Kumalo: Through my Lens), and has also written two resource books on writing and journalism for the Open Society Foundation.

Category:  Gender Studies: Women
ISBN:  9781868429264
Publisher:  Jonathan Ball Publishers
On sale:  June 2019
Format:  Paperback
eBook ISBN  9781868429271 
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