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The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The…

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial… (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Dean Jobb (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
803271,749 (3.9)3
Teoksen nimi:The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer
Kirjailijat:Dean Jobb (Tekijä)
Info:HarperAvenue (2021), 432 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, WIP
Arvio (tähdet):


The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer (tekijä: Dean Jobb)


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näyttää 3/3
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer by Dean Jobb is a 2021 Algonquin Books publication.

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream- cold- bloodedly poisoned at least ten people and attempted to kill several more- that we know about, in three different countries, during the Victorian era.

This case, as the blurb states, was mostly forgotten about, so I was completely unaware of it before reading this book.

Dubbed the “Lambeth poisoner", Cream preyed on prostitutes, giving them capsules which contained poison. Naturally, their deaths were hideously agonizing.

Cream held a medical license which gave him ready access to certain drugs and chemicals- a fact he did little to hide.

He also attempted to extort money from wealthy men by accusing them of committing his crimes- this didn’t work- but the attempt was incredibly bold- and just plain nuts!

Ironically, his blackmail schemes were what got him in trouble, initially, along with his reputation as an abortionist.

While he was continuously under suspicion, he managed to skirt the law for a long time- but eventually, his luck did run out.

Once he was finally brought to trial, the failures and prejudices of Scotland Yard were exposed for all to see. The class and sex of the victims played no small role this, obviously.

“The real mystery is why it took Scotland Yard so long to realize the Lambeth Poisoner was hiding in plain sight- a drug-addicted doctor who consorted with prostitutes, had access to strychnine, and knew far too much about the gruesome deaths of four women.”

Overall, this is an incredible true crime case. The author did a good job with organizing the material, and provides photographs, letters, documents and illustrations throughout, as well.

Dr. Cream is a chilling figure, and an enigma in some ways.The author doesn’t attempt to explore the psychology behind the crimes, or his choice in victims, in depth, sticking instead to more of a journalistic approach, allowing the reader to come to those obvious conclusions organically.

This book sheds light on the doctor's crimes, his methods, his boldness, and the investigations that allowed him to continue his murderous career far longer than he should have-

4 stars ( )
  gpangel | Nov 5, 2021 |
“Crime and murder were obsessions in the nineteenth century,” Dean Jobb notes. Crime stories filled the newspapers, and novelists churned out horrid tales. The detective genre was basically invented by Edgar Allan Poe and was perfected by Arthur Conan Doyle in Sherlock Holmes. Charles Dickens and his friend Wilkie Collins wrote novels centered around crime and Scotland Yard’s detectives.

Holmes told Watson that “when a doctor goes wrong, he is the first of criminals.” And in Dr. Thomas Neill Cream, we discover the ‘first’ of criminals, a serial killer of unfortunate women, a man who faced the bar and walked out to kill again. And again, before a Scotland Yard detective crossed two continents to chase down Cream’s history and finally brought him to justice.

Cream was a model youth and young man: a Sunday School teacher who had memorized the Gospel of Matthew; a wealthy man who dressed well; a graduate of the esteemed Royal College of Edinburgh University. While a student he picked up the vile habits of smoking, drink, drugs, and women.

He was an abortionist, setting up practice in the poorer neighborhoods among women reduced to prostitution. His crimes precipitated from arson for insurance fraud and broken engagements to the abandonment of the wife he was forced to marry after he aborted their baby. He perfected his craft of murder with poison, obtaining the drugs by posing as a salesman to pharmacists.

As scandal surrounded him, Cream relocated across Canada, the United States, and Britain, setting up his practice and grooming his next victim. Who knows how many more he would have poisoned had not Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Smith Jarvis followed Cream’s trail across continents.

Cream’s convoluted career raises questions: How did a privileged, educated, and religious man become so vicious? Did he believe he was ridding the world of fallen women? Was he a sociopath who hid under a conventional façade until free to act out his perverse desires?

True Crime aficionados and mystery lovers will enjoy this book. Also, readers of Victorian Age history.

I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Jun 30, 2021 |
Thank you to Algonquin Books and Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Victorian true crime is one of my favorite literary niches, and those who love it should be completely engrossed by The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream. Non-linear narratives almost never work for me, but the way that this true crime saga unfolded was quite clever, and I was never lost or confused. I think if the book had began when Cream was born, I would have become bored before he even made it to medical school.

The research for this book that Dean Jobb conducted in three countries is very impressive and detailed enough to flesh out the book well. I was endlessly horrified, not by the poisonings themselves (which were gruesome) but by how the good doctor kept getting away with it for so many years as the bodies piled up. Also deeply satisfying: the ideas that Jobb teases from the historical evidence about Dr. Cream's mental state, religious upbringing, and other factors that may have contributed to turning him into a serial killer. The reader is invited to psychoanalyze Cream at her leisure, and armchair psychology of serial killers can be entertaining (at least it is for me). The state of medicine during the 19th century, with the doctor as a sort of all-powerful godlike figure definitely had a part to play in Cream's murderous mayhem, as did lax drug regulations and the ugly male takeover of midwifery (many of his victims, the evidence indicates, may have been seeking abortions when they consulted this evil doctor).

I was waving the book in the air more than once saying "listen to the women! Why don't they listen to the women!" but of course doctors still disregard the claims of women even today. What if he had gone around poisoning men, regardless of social standing and reputation? He'd have never gotten out of prison for Serial Killings Round Two. ( )
  jillrhudy | Jun 8, 2021 |
näyttää 3/3
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