Mommy Deadliest by Michael Benson (December 2010)

Publication Date:
December 2010
Pinnacle True Crime

Reviewed by:
1 Star
On March 9, 2012
Last modified:July 13, 2012


Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...catch one of the many television documentaries instead.

Stacey Castor had been married for only two years when she poisoned her husband, David, by putting antifreeze in his drink following an intense argument.

Although the process was slow and painful, David died and Stacey walked away from this alleged suicide $71,000 richer.

Mommy Deadliest by Michael BensonBut when police began questioning the death of Stacey’s first husband, Michael Wallace, she knew the police were closing in on her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Stacy wasn’t above stooping to the lowest forms of desperation. She poisoned her daughter, Ashley, with antifreeze, faked a suicide note that also served as a confession to two murders, and left her 18-year-old daughter to die alone in her room.

Fortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.

Michael Benson tells the story of Stacey Castor, the only woman who could make Joan Crawford look like Mother of the Year, in his 2010 true crime release Mommy Deadliest.

I think this book had all the makings of a great story – a black widow who chooses murder by poison, infidelity, ex-wives, and alternative suspects – but Mommy Deadliest really fell flat.

First, Michael Benson seems to have taken most of his information from court records and the 20/20 episode about the case. Sure, he did some interviews, with his biggest contributor being David Castor’s ex-wife, Janice. While in this particular case the ex-wife was right, it didn’t get past me that Janice’s driving motive was a jealousy of Stacey (which is obvious by her behavior at David’s father’s funeral, a strong need to remind everyone that she was the first, and longest, wife).

Then there is the choppy, jump-around, repetitive writing style that made me realize there was no way I could give it a good review. Writing huge portions of the book verbatim from court transcriptions make me want to hurl a book into the nearest trash can every. single. time.

I’m mentioned the cons, let me mention the pro:Mommy Deadliest is a book dealing with a subject that elicits rage, disgust, and sympathy for a daughter who experienced the worst kind of betrayal.

There is no way that I can recommend adding this book to your reading list. I will say this: if you’re willing to skim, pick it up. If not, then catch a rerun of the 20/20‘s “Black Widow” episode or Snapped‘s episode number 28 to save yourself time and money.


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