This is a dissertation about the ways in which American culture understands the behavior of women who commit serial murder. Despite what most people think, female serial homicide is a distinct criminal phenomenon accounting for perhaps as many as 30% of all serial murders. These killers are women who murder secretly over the course of months or years and claim on average more victims than their male counterparts do. They are successful for three reasons: First, cultural mythology holds that serial murder is a crime committed only by men. Second, female killers use traditional gender stereotypes to conceal their crimes. Third, American culture seems to have a great deal invested in believing that, by virtue of their gender, women are simply not capable of committing the crime. For the most part, the materials used for this dissertation are available in the public record. They derive from interdisciplinary research into theoretical and empirical criminology and sociology, print and broadcast journalism, and true-crime, literary, and cinematic treatments of the topic in American culture.