Although female lawbreakers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were rarely considered dangerous criminals, there are many records of women participating in non-violent crimes including shoplifting, prostitution, and fraud. This work studies frauds and swindles perpetrated by women during that era, and offers character studies of several key female swindlers including Ann O'Delia Diss Debar, Mabel Parker, and Sarah Casselman, among others. Frauds covered include spiritually-based crimes (i.e. deceptive seances, ""spirit writing"") and love crimes (i.e. matrimonial racketeering), as well as ""sob story"" panhandling, counterfeiting, faking wealth, and pension fraud.
Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, ticket-scalping, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking and shoplifting. He lives in British Columbia.