Review: Crimson Petticoats by Ryan Green

Posted April 5, 2022 by Stephanie in 4 Stars, Nonfiction, Review, True Crime / 8 Comments


Title: Crimson Petticoats: The Betrayal, Brutality and Bloodshed behind the French Maid Massacres
Author: Ryan Green
Publication: April 5, 2022
Genre: True Crime, Nonfiction
Find it on: Amazon | BookBub
Rating: 4/5

In 1861, the police of a rural French village tore their way into the woodside home of Martin Dumollard. Inside, they found chaos. Paths had been carved through mounds of bloodstained clothing, reaching as high as the ceiling in some places.

The officers assumed that the mysterious maid-robber had killed one woman but failed in his other attempts. Yet, it was becoming sickeningly clear that there was a vast gulf between the crimes they were aware of and the ones that had truly been committed.

Would Dumollard’s wife expose his dark secret or was she inextricably linked to the atrocities? Whatever the circumstances, everyone was desperate to discover whether the bloody garments belonged to some of the 648 missing women.

Crimson Petticoats is a chilling account of Martin Dumollard and one of the most disturbing true crime stories in French history. Ryan Green’s riveting narrative draws the reader into the real-live horror experienced by the victims and has all the elements of a classic thriller.

“Is a monster born, or made?”

Crimson Petticoats is a nonfiction about French serial killer Martin Dumollard who was active in the mid 1800s, and where his wife Marie-Anne Martinet was his accomplice. His modus operandi was to approach women who may have been looking for new or better work, telling them that he is in search for new staff on his wealthy master’s chateau and that the work load would be light but well payed. Those who took him at his word, or those who were desperate enough to believe him anyways, would pack all they have and follow him out of the city. Once they were alone Dumollard would attack, rape and kill them, taking everything, even the clothes on their corpses to be sold. He was considered to be one of the first serial killers in France.

Personally I had never heard about Martin Dumollard before reading this book. Which I really liked because I love learning about true crime cases that are unknown to me. To be honest, it all kind of blew me away because it truly is one of the most horrendous cases I’ve ever heard about. It’s also the first time I’ve read a book by Ryan Green but I’m sure it won’t be the last because it was a really good one. The book was very well-written, not extremely long so the story definitely didn’t drag like some nonfiction does and it was also engaging enough to keep my attention the whole time. I really enjoyed it!

Another thing I enjoyed was that the book went into the whole “are monsters like Dumollard born or made?” and I thought that made for some fascinating food for thought. I also thought it was pretty intriguing how his wife Marie-Anne was involved in it all and the wondering of in how far she was Dumollard’s collaborator. The book does indicate to her being the brains of the whole thing, which I think may also have been the case. Spoiler alert… both Martin Dumollard and Marie-Anne Martinet were arrested eventually. Dumollard was sentenced to death and his wife sentenced to twenty years of hard labor where she eventually died in prison.

Overall, Crimson Petticoats by Ryan Green was an absorbing and gripping nonfiction that I’m for sure going to remember for a long time. The writing was excellent and I liked the questions that were brought up during the book. It’s definitely one of the best nonfiction books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Highly recommended!



About the author:

Ryan Green is a true crime author in his late thirties. He lives in Herefordshire, England with his wife, three children, and two dogs. Outside of writing and spending time with his family, Ryan enjoys walking, reading and windsurfing.

Ryan is fascinated with History, Psychology and True Crime. In 2015, he finally started researching and writing his own work and at the end of the year, he released his first book on Britain’s most notorious serial killer, Harold Shipman.

He has since written several books on lesser-known subjects, and taken the unique approach of writing from the killer’s perspective. He narrates some of the most chilling scenes you’ll encounter in the True Crime genre.

“Ryan Green is an incredible storyteller…he doesn’t just tell the story, he allows you to be part of it.” ~Blackbird

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8 responses to “Review: Crimson Petticoats by Ryan Green

  1. verushka

    I haven’t heard of this guy either, but this speaks to my true crime interests immensely! I like that it tac kales the question of how he was created, so to speak. You don’t often find that

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