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Poisoned Blood: A True Story of Murder, Passion, and an Astonishing Hoax

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Pretty, smart, and pampered, Audrey Marie Hilley grew up in a small Alabama town believing she was entitled to the best of everything. But marriage to her high school sweetheart, a cushy secretarial job, and motherhood were not enough to satisfy Marie, and she soon began to act out in troubling ways. Only when her husband, Frank, became sick with a mysterious illness, did Pretty, smart, and pampered, Audrey Marie Hilley grew up in a small Alabama town believing she was entitled to the best of everything. But marriage to her high school sweetheart, a cushy secretarial job, and motherhood were not enough to satisfy Marie, and she soon began to act out in troubling ways. Only when her husband, Frank, became sick with a mysterious illness, did it seem that she was ready to put someone else’s needs ahead of her own. The truth was far more disturbing.   Four years after Frank died, Marie’s daughter, Carol, began to experience debilitating stomach pains. The young woman was near death when the horrifying reality finally emerged: Marie had poisoned her husband with arsenic and was attempting to do the same to her daughter. It was the first in a series of shocking twists that exposed Marie Hilley as a cold-blooded chameleon capable of the most sinister of crimes. From Alabama to Florida to New Hampshire, her trail of death and deceit included multiple identities, a second marriage, a false kidnapping, a fake death, several dramatic escapes, and a final act of desperation that brought the whole sordid saga to an astonishing end.  


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Pretty, smart, and pampered, Audrey Marie Hilley grew up in a small Alabama town believing she was entitled to the best of everything. But marriage to her high school sweetheart, a cushy secretarial job, and motherhood were not enough to satisfy Marie, and she soon began to act out in troubling ways. Only when her husband, Frank, became sick with a mysterious illness, did Pretty, smart, and pampered, Audrey Marie Hilley grew up in a small Alabama town believing she was entitled to the best of everything. But marriage to her high school sweetheart, a cushy secretarial job, and motherhood were not enough to satisfy Marie, and she soon began to act out in troubling ways. Only when her husband, Frank, became sick with a mysterious illness, did it seem that she was ready to put someone else’s needs ahead of her own. The truth was far more disturbing.   Four years after Frank died, Marie’s daughter, Carol, began to experience debilitating stomach pains. The young woman was near death when the horrifying reality finally emerged: Marie had poisoned her husband with arsenic and was attempting to do the same to her daughter. It was the first in a series of shocking twists that exposed Marie Hilley as a cold-blooded chameleon capable of the most sinister of crimes. From Alabama to Florida to New Hampshire, her trail of death and deceit included multiple identities, a second marriage, a false kidnapping, a fake death, several dramatic escapes, and a final act of desperation that brought the whole sordid saga to an astonishing end.  

30 review for Poisoned Blood: A True Story of Murder, Passion, and an Astonishing Hoax

  1. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Marlene♥

    Wow. Another fantastic old true crime book. It is terrible that I have to search for old true crime goodies because there is nothing good to read that is newly published. Well I do ask friends to give me recommendations for newer books but I guess they are in the same boat. A lot of newer books are or biased, or telling everything in the first chapter, or are boring and only based on newspapers and trial transcripts. Take a look at the 3 old tc books I just read. Shallow Grave in Trinity County This Wow. Another fantastic old true crime book. It is terrible that I have to search for old true crime goodies because there is nothing good to read that is newly published. Well I do ask friends to give me recommendations for newer books but I guess they are in the same boat. A lot of newer books are or biased, or telling everything in the first chapter, or are boring and only based on newspapers and trial transcripts. Take a look at the 3 old tc books I just read. Shallow Grave in Trinity County This book was a good old fashioned true crime book but to be honest I also had to skip a few chapters in the beginning to not be spoiled. But the book was good. Then I picked a jewel Serpentine This is not only a true crime book but also an adventure.. What fantastic writing and not only that but also fantastic research. This is how you write a book. Then I finished this book Poisoned Blood last night. What a story and also a lot of research. Such an interesting read. Lots of back story about the people surrounding Marie Hilley. Another true crime book I highly recommend. The story in it self was great but I think this must have been a lot of work because this case was very confusing. Alas my book is now read in 2 halves. I know my mum will enjoy reading this so I hope she does not mind. It also had a lot of photo's. Message to True crime authors of the now. Please take note. *We do not want a very biased account (Ann Rule). I understand there will be always a little bit of bias cause we are human, but please try not to be so biased. If you constantly feel the need to tell us how mean so and so was and how good his or her victim, it feels like you think we have no brains. We have thank you and we can make up our own minds. * Please do not assume we know about the case. Best books are the one written in chronological order. Youth, life, killing , trial if there. Thanks for listening. p.s readers of true crime: feel free to add your own pet peeves in the comments section. 4.6

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    The lady killer was one of my family member's next door neighbor, here in Alabama. Of course, everyone said said she was the sweetest lady, they never would have thought she was a murderer looking at her appearance. She was classy, pretty, and dignified, fooling everyone with her looks and charm. This scandal was very huge in the South during this time period, and her name is forever part of history here. This has even been made into a movie, starring Judith Light. The lady killer was one of my family member's next door neighbor, here in Alabama. Of course, everyone said said she was the sweetest lady, they never would have thought she was a murderer looking at her appearance. She was classy, pretty, and dignified, fooling everyone with her looks and charm. This scandal was very huge in the South during this time period, and her name is forever part of history here. This has even been made into a movie, starring Judith Light.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First question, how the hell do you support a wife who pretends to be dead and then come back as her own twin sister??? Second, why in the world are prisons letting convicted murders out on weekend passes?? Especially unsupervised ones??? How the eff is that, or was that, ever a thing???

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caz Freeman

    Shocking how on earth did the authorities not spot the clues for so long

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    This is a riveting true story of a woman who went about her business of poisoning loved ones that she no longer wanted around. An astonishing complex case that keeps us on the edge of our seats. The tale of a woman with a genius for deception and the saga of this cold cruel person is told expertly by this amazing author. I highly recommend it for all true crime fans.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie Cramer

    I read this book years ago, but when I came across the ebook version I realized that I couldn't remember many of the details so I gave it another go. I'm glad I did because it's very good. If you want a detailed account of a sociopath at work over the years, check it out. I read this book years ago, but when I came across the ebook version I realized that I couldn't remember many of the details so I gave it another go. I'm glad I did because it's very good. If you want a detailed account of a sociopath at work over the years, check it out.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pat Wittorf

    In-put-downable I give you fair warning don't start this book if you don't have time to finish it it's that kind of book . Writing true crime books might seem to be simple . I mean the Facts are all out there it's just a matter of collecting all the data and putting it on paper . The truth of the matter is though is that they are perhaps the most difficult to write . The author encounters mountains of minutia and it's his job to wade through it and take out what's necessary to tell the story prop In-put-downable I give you fair warning don't start this book if you don't have time to finish it it's that kind of book . Writing true crime books might seem to be simple . I mean the Facts are all out there it's just a matter of collecting all the data and putting it on paper . The truth of the matter is though is that they are perhaps the most difficult to write . The author encounters mountains of minutia and it's his job to wade through it and take out what's necessary to tell the story properly and keep it interesting. That had to be especially difficult in this case since the truth of the case is almost beyond belief. As a matter of fact if that had been written as a fictional detective story I would probably have put it down there shortly after starting it since it just defied logic. However Mr. Ginsberg kept my interest from page 1 to the end which included an almost sleepless night for me but it was worth it. Unfortunately there are still unanswered questions but perhaps that's always the case in a true crime story how can we ever truly know the heart of a person.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Teddie

    Marie Hilley had a lot going for her. Good looking, smart, a warm personality that drew people to her, a husband who loved her, and two healthy kids. How were people to know that there was a darker side, and nobody near her was immune from danger. The book is written in chronological order (except for a short prologue), yet there is lots of foreboding that warns of what is to come. Eventually Marie makes a misstep, and she is arrested. But that's far from the end of the story. There's so much mo Marie Hilley had a lot going for her. Good looking, smart, a warm personality that drew people to her, a husband who loved her, and two healthy kids. How were people to know that there was a darker side, and nobody near her was immune from danger. The book is written in chronological order (except for a short prologue), yet there is lots of foreboding that warns of what is to come. Eventually Marie makes a misstep, and she is arrested. But that's far from the end of the story. There's so much more that comes after that. If I didn't know this was a true story, I would suggest several of the more sensational parts be deleted or softened to make it more believable. ***POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT*** (...for anyone who hasn't read the synopsis of this book or seen the movie based on Marie's story.) Really! I mean, who fakes their own death and then comes back as their (nonexistent) identical twin? And I don't need to even ask, What mother poisons her own daughter? An evil one. This is a well researched and well written book. I'm glad I chose it as one of the half dozen or so true crime books I read a year. 4.5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Riccol

    Despite the narrative that often abruptly jumped with the next paragraph, leaving me wondering for a minute which person or time frame was now being discussed, this book was hard to put down. It opens with her capture so the mystery is not who did it but how did they finally get her and what was she doing inbetween. What interested me the most was the "character study" of the daughter - how did she cope with her father dying, the deteriorating relationship with her mother, the frequent moves, he Despite the narrative that often abruptly jumped with the next paragraph, leaving me wondering for a minute which person or time frame was now being discussed, this book was hard to put down. It opens with her capture so the mystery is not who did it but how did they finally get her and what was she doing inbetween. What interested me the most was the "character study" of the daughter - how did she cope with her father dying, the deteriorating relationship with her mother, the frequent moves, her declining health, and then the realization that her own mother had been poisoning her. Second was how her friends and acquaintances (and even her then-husband) reacted to her "twin" - did they or did they not believe it? Not knowing a thing about this case until I started the book, I was admittedly shocked by the ending. I did not see that coming. So overall, not a bad read for those who like the true-crime genre.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This was a wild story. If it were a work of fiction I don’t think I would have thought it was credible. This woman, Audrey Marie Hilley, was quite a piece of work. All through the book I would stop and say to myself, and sometimes even aloud, “this woman is a nutbar”. A what a nutbar she was. I was captivated through the entire story. It is a well written book that tells the story of this woman’s life from start to the end of her spree. The author is a reporter, so the book is written in a factu This was a wild story. If it were a work of fiction I don’t think I would have thought it was credible. This woman, Audrey Marie Hilley, was quite a piece of work. All through the book I would stop and say to myself, and sometimes even aloud, “this woman is a nutbar”. A what a nutbar she was. I was captivated through the entire story. It is a well written book that tells the story of this woman’s life from start to the end of her spree. The author is a reporter, so the book is written in a factual style without some of the slanted viewpoints of some true crime writers and without a lot of sensationalism. I really appreciated that fact. I highly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a good true crime story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris Pezzella

    Very complex case!! This is a spellbinding case of a seemingly normal young girl who grew up to be a coldly calculating serial killer. She had many social skills which she used to her advantage to make people believe she was an innocent and falsely accused victim in the whole story. The end will surprise you! I was very taken with the story and wanted "more"! I found an episode about the case from the ID channel on YouTube in which her son discussed the case in depth and showed home movies of the Very complex case!! This is a spellbinding case of a seemingly normal young girl who grew up to be a coldly calculating serial killer. She had many social skills which she used to her advantage to make people believe she was an innocent and falsely accused victim in the whole story. The end will surprise you! I was very taken with the story and wanted "more"! I found an episode about the case from the ID channel on YouTube in which her son discussed the case in depth and showed home movies of the family Search on "American Monster Alabama murder mystery" . If you are a fan of true crime stories, this will be one you won't want to miss!

  12. 5 out of 5

    David A

    “Poisoned Blood” by Philip E. Ginsburg is a page turner! From the first day I picked up this True Crime novel, it grabbed hold of me and would not let go! The main character Audrey Marie, is a complex, driven and cunning predator. You will at times feel sorry for her and at times loath her - often - within the pages of the same chapter you are reading. This is a true story; one that I was unaware of even though I grew up during the timeline Marie accomplished her plans and schemes. If you love look “Poisoned Blood” by Philip E. Ginsburg is a page turner! From the first day I picked up this True Crime novel, it grabbed hold of me and would not let go! The main character Audrey Marie, is a complex, driven and cunning predator. You will at times feel sorry for her and at times loath her - often - within the pages of the same chapter you are reading. This is a true story; one that I was unaware of even though I grew up during the timeline Marie accomplished her plans and schemes. If you love looking at the inside thoughts and dreams of a plotting feminine killer; this is a book you will devour from the 1st page until the last!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    An incredible true-crime story about a woman in Alabama who poisons her father, tries to poison her daughter, is put in jail, escapes jail, moves to New Hampshire for three years under a new name, moves to Florida, becomes a blonde and returns to New Hampshire as her twin sister, is finally found out by the people of her small town in New Hampshire, is arrested; the cops discover who she really is after checking around the country, and she finally goes back to Alabama to be tried. Gets put into An incredible true-crime story about a woman in Alabama who poisons her father, tries to poison her daughter, is put in jail, escapes jail, moves to New Hampshire for three years under a new name, moves to Florida, becomes a blonde and returns to New Hampshire as her twin sister, is finally found out by the people of her small town in New Hampshire, is arrested; the cops discover who she really is after checking around the country, and she finally goes back to Alabama to be tried. Gets put into prison, escapes from prison again......you can imagine the ending.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Wow! This book makes me think of the quote, “What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” It tells the true story of a master manipulator, a woman who murdered her husband, poisoned practically everyone she knew, assumed many identities and fled cap-ture multiple times, living all over the country. It was definitely a page turner as the author de-scribes a truly bizarre tale of a diabolical psychopath, con artist and pathological liar living in a fantasy world of her own inve Wow! This book makes me think of the quote, “What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” It tells the true story of a master manipulator, a woman who murdered her husband, poisoned practically everyone she knew, assumed many identities and fled cap-ture multiple times, living all over the country. It was definitely a page turner as the author de-scribes a truly bizarre tale of a diabolical psychopath, con artist and pathological liar living in a fantasy world of her own invention. The story is truly disturbing and horrifying but the true crime crowd will love this title.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Marquez

    I STILL can't believe this all really happened! I enjoyed this book very much, I just felt at times it was a bit long winded with some repetitive things that were unnecessary. I had followed this story after seeing the made for TV movie WIFE, MOTHER, MURDERER and I did find the book to be much more thorough and I learned of details surrounding the case that I hadn't previously known. I highly recommend it for any true crime fans. I STILL can't believe this all really happened! I enjoyed this book very much, I just felt at times it was a bit long winded with some repetitive things that were unnecessary. I had followed this story after seeing the made for TV movie WIFE, MOTHER, MURDERER and I did find the book to be much more thorough and I learned of details surrounding the case that I hadn't previously known. I highly recommend it for any true crime fans.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jean Merritt Jones

    Excellent read!!!! I don't remember how I found this book, but I'm seriously super glad I did. An excellent & awesome read, it's twists and turns are unbelievable. It's one of those true crime books which makes readers say "That really happened?!?" and other exclamations. Most definitely should be on a True Crime reader's list!! Excellent read!!!! I don't remember how I found this book, but I'm seriously super glad I did. An excellent & awesome read, it's twists and turns are unbelievable. It's one of those true crime books which makes readers say "That really happened?!?" and other exclamations. Most definitely should be on a True Crime reader's list!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Arne

    Bizarre true story captivates I read a lot of true crime and I’ve never seen anything like this. The crime against her daughter is so sadistic and cruel you would assume she is a psychopath but that doesn’t really line up. Her psychology is much more complex and unique than that. The dead twin hoax defies explanation. Fascinating!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I liked the book a lot, as I do much of the true crime I’ve read. I wish I had read this In paper format because the pictures would have helped me keep the long list of characters straight. Even though somewhat confusing, it’s amazing that this woman’s was so cunning and that everyone around her so brainwashed. A good read for sure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jane Thompson

    True Crime One of the best true crime stories I have ever read. There is mystery, suspense, and a story that has so many parts that it seems impossible to figure out. The author has done a great job of telling and explaining it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Prescottl

    Superbly written account of a woman who poisoned several family members. Written in chronological order, the author deftly tracked the crimes and the woman's flight from prosecution, when she took on other identities. A fascinating book. Superbly written account of a woman who poisoned several family members. Written in chronological order, the author deftly tracked the crimes and the woman's flight from prosecution, when she took on other identities. A fascinating book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Efguirguis

    Boring. A book written by a reporter. Lifeless. Page after monotonous page without inflection or the slightest hint of tension excitement or mystery. How this book became a bestseller is the real mystery!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erika Yocom

    A bit verbose Solid if verbose writing style. Bizarre story! Marie was a fairly common swindler right up until she decided to become her own twin. Who does that?!? Overall, a good read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alice Price

    Could be the best true crime story I ever read. Grew up near by Anniston Alabama. Never heard of this story. I found it very interesting and entertaining read. I have read a lot of true crime stories. This could be the best I've read so far. Could be the best true crime story I ever read. Grew up near by Anniston Alabama. Never heard of this story. I found it very interesting and entertaining read. I have read a lot of true crime stories. This could be the best I've read so far.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Too Long This could’ve been pared down and still maintained the integrity of the story. There was a lot of unnecessary background information, especially about her second husband that was not at all needed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terra McMillan

    Wow. The cunning and evilness that can be found in the world is enough to make you shudder. This was quite an intriguing tale, something you expect to have happen in a soap opera or a movie, not in real life. People are capable of quite the array of atrocious acts. Makes me even more content to keep my circle very, very small after reading something of this nature.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Curtis

    Fascinating! One of the most in depth books I have read in regards to true crime! Follow the life, or should I say lives of Marie Hilley as she tries to escape the justice she deserves.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    It was fine. There were just way too many details about people who don't matter. Like 15% of this book is background information about people whose names I never bothered to learn and ultimately had nothing to do with anything. But it was fine. I stopped about halfway through the epilogue. It was fine. There were just way too many details about people who don't matter. Like 15% of this book is background information about people whose names I never bothered to learn and ultimately had nothing to do with anything. But it was fine. I stopped about halfway through the epilogue.

  28. 4 out of 5

    genny kenslow

    Really good book Kept my interest from beginning to end. Well told story of a sociopath who got hers in the end. A must read for true crime fans

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lessie Dingler

    Very scary account of a lady with split personality disorder. Really hits home if you live around Alabama.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    Thorough but dry recitation of a very intriguing murderer. If M William Phelps wrote a book on Marie Hilley, I believe it would be more riveting.

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