1888 was an eventful year in the criminal calendar:
Louisa would become the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Her case was controversial and unforgettable, a foretaste, in many ways, of what would later transpire in an equally celebrated Australian criminal case, that of Lindy Chamberlain ("a dingo took my baby").
Carol had long been interested in Louisa Collins' story. Did she kill her two husbands (and possibly a baby)? The literature was uncertain. So Carol wondered if she could use her research skills to determine the truth.
When she stumbled across a reference to Louisa as "the Lucretia Borgia of Botany", she realised that the necessary big-picture themes would be reflected in the title "The Lucretia Borgia of Botany Bay". However, the marketing gurus changed the title to the shorter and more evocative, Black Widow, with the subtitle, The true story of Australia's first female serial killer.
Why "serial killer"? Some definitions state that a serial killer was responsible for three or more murders, others two or more. In view of the information Carol found, she and her publishers deemed that the term "serial killer" was appropriate.