Serial and Mass Murder : Understanding Multicide through Offending Patterns, Explanations, and Outcomes book cover
1st Edition

Serial and Mass Murder
Understanding Multicide through Offending Patterns, Explanations, and Outcomes

ISBN 9781138067943
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
298 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book reframes the study of multicide (that is, serial and mass murder) to use objective measures, and aims to expand our understanding of multicide offending through descriptive and inferential statistical analyses of different homicide patterns of the offenders. Criminal homicide and multiple murders are rare occurrences that typically account for a very small percentage of all violent crimes in most countries. Despite this low occurrence, homicide continues to be an area of intense study, with a focus on subjective measures and classifications. The research and analysis based on a database of over 1,300 cases contributes to the criminological study of violence and draws distinctions between the types of offenders (partnered and solo, serial and mass, male and female, etc.) from a range of different countries and across decades.

Traditionally, studies of homicide focus on male offenders and theories of offending are then applied to females and co-offenders. The research presented in this book reveals that women and partnered offenders have very different homicide patterns from men. Looking at the history of multicide offending, this book uses descriptive and inferential statistical analyses to directly compare differences in offending and outcome patterns across multicide offender types.

This exploration of the multidimensionality of homicide at an international level is useful for scholars and students interested in criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology, or law.

Table of Contents


Part I: Serial murder

1. Who are the serial killers? 

2. Are there explanations for serial murder?

3. What happens after the murders end?

Part II: Mass murder 

4. Who are the mass murderers?

5. Are there explanations for mass murder? 

6. What’s the aftermath?

Part III: Multicide

7. Comparing serial and mass murder

8. Comparing mass shooters and lone actor terrorists

9. Conclusions and future directions

View More



Elizabeth A. Gurian is an associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Norwich University. She is also the associate director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Her research focuses on multicide offenders, including serial and mass murderers, lone actor terrorists, and mass shooters. In 2016, she was awarded an American Association of University Women publication grant for her work exploring serial murder adjudication and outcome patterns. She has published in several leading criminology journals, and she has discussed her work through media such as BBC Radio, VPR, WCAX, and the New York Times and CBS podcast, “Why Women Kill”. 


As anyone who’s spent much time reading about serial killers, mass murderers, or homicide in general knows, the existing research tends to focus on solo male offenders who look an awful lot like Ted Bundy. Elizabeth Gurian’s work fills a huge gap in the field by bringing women, minorities, partnered offenders, and international ones into the dialogue. While there may always be something about violent crime that remains unknowable, Gurian’s knack for examining a multitude of multicide offenders (and her refreshing rejection of stale typologies like "Black Widow") makes this book a great gift to anyone who’s longed for a more holistic, comprehensive examination of these almost folkloric figures.  
—Tori Telfer, Author of Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History