> Skip to content
  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241442319
  • Imprint: Michael Joseph
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $32.99

Triflers Need Not Apply

Be frightened of her. Secretly root for her. And watch history's original female serial killer find her next victim.

In 1900, who would believe a woman capable of killing two husbands and forty other men?

In 1900 Chicago, a husband dies under the most suspicious of circumstances. Anton Sorenson had a $2,000 life-insurance policy set to expire and took out a new policy for $3,000. For just one day - July 30, 1900 - both policies were in effect.

Sorenson dies of a cerebral hemorrhage on that very day. According to his wife, Belle Gunness, he had come home from work with a terrible headache. She said she gave him quinine powder, a common remedy, and went to prepare dinner. When she returned to check on him, she said, he was dead.

Belle remarries, this time to a much-younger man. Eight months later, Peter Gunness is also dead, the back of his skull smashed in.

In 1906, a series of personal ads begin to appear in a local Midwest newspaper. Belle is looking for investors for her farm. None of the men who answer her ad are ever seen again . . .

In a dazzlingly original and chilling reimagining of the life of Belle Gunness, the original black widow, Camilla Bruce opens the door to the mind of a female serial killer, where murderous scheming and the darkest of thoughts reside.

  • Published: 2 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241442319
  • Imprint: Michael Joseph
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Camilla Bruce

CAMILLA BRUCE was born central Norway and grew up in an old forest, next to an Iron Age burial mound. She has a master’s degree in comparative literature and has co-run a small press that published dark fairy tales. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat. You Let Me In is her first novel.

Also by Camilla Bruce

See all

Praise for Triflers Need Not Apply

Got me out of a reading slump! Dark glee, tragedy . . . fans of my story The Corset will gobble this up

Laura Purcell

Dark, twisted and dangerously addictive

Sam Lloyd

A brutal and compelling tale that starts as a revenge story but quickly becomes so much more. Clever, shocking and horrific in places, it's the sort of book for which the phrase 'page-turner' was invented.

Lucie McKnight Hardy

Come for the fabulous premise, stay for the razor-sharp portrait of a marvelously complex (and often totally terrifying) mind. I was a big fan of You Let Me In, but Camilla Bruce has absolutely outdone herself with Bella Sorensen and Triflers Need Not Apply.

Laird Hunt

Deliciously dark, wickedly observed with a protagonist who will haunt you in the best way. Utterly gripping, chillingly compelling - you won't read another story quite like Bella's.

Miranda Dickinson

Loved this fascinating tale of how a woman's pain turns to rage and then murder. Based on the real life adventures of serial killer Belle Gunness, this book is a dark, thrilling ride into a world of revenge. Oh so satisfying.

Julie Owen Moylan

Triflers Need Not Apply is a perfect read for any crime fiction fan. A chilling immersion into the mind of a serial killer - dark, seductive and addictive. A truly gripping read.

Lia Middleton

Based on a true story, with dark humour throughout, you will be hooked


Extraordinary. Bruce does a marvellous job of reimagining this real-life murderer, without excusing her crimes

The Times

This gory fictionalisation of her story is also a great character study


Explosive . . . If you like true crime, you'll devour this chilling story of revenge

Woman's Weekly

Explosive . . . If you like true crime, you'll devour this chilling story of revenge


Clever and pacy . . . To think of [Bella] only as a cruel murderer is too two-dimensional and doesn't do her, or Camilla's writing, justice

Belfast Telegraph

Chilling. Camilla Bruce's adept reimagining of this compelling historical figure is difficult to forget

Gazette and Herald

You'll veer between pity and loathing for the main character, with perhaps a touch of horrified admiration at times

The Hunsbury Handbook

Related titles