By Dean Jobb
Formats and Prices
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 5, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Winner of the CrimeClue True Crime Book of the Year Award
Long-listed for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence
”When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.” In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream murdered as many as ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedent. Poison was his weapon of choice. Largely forgotten today, this villain was as brazen as the notorious Jack the Ripper.
Structured around the doctor’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Dr. Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.
Dean Jobb transports readers to the late nineteenth century as Scotland Yard traces Dr. Cream’s life through Canada and Chicago and finally to London, where new investigative tools called forensics were just coming into use, even as most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then, most investigators could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown. As the Chicago Tribune wrote, Dr. Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer: one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.” For fans of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, all things Sherlock Holmes, or the podcast My Favorite Murder, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is an unforgettable true crime story from a master of the genre.
“Jobb’s excellent storytelling makes the book a pleasure to read.” —The New York Times Book Review
Cast of Characters
THE LAMBETH POISONER
- » Thomas Neill Cream, doctor, abortionist, blackmailer, serial killer
KNOWN AND SUSPECTED VICTIMS
- » Flora Eliza Brooks, Cream's wife, Waterloo, QC
- » Matilda Clover, London, England
- » Ellen Donworth, London, England
- » Mary Anne Matilda Faulkner, Chicago
- » Catharine Hutchinson Gardner, London, ON
- » Alice Marsh, London, England
- » Sarah Alice Montgomery, Chicago
- » Emma Shrivell, London, England
- » Ellen Stack, Chicago
- » Daniel Stott, Garden Prairie, IL
TARGETS OF ATTEMPTED OR SUSPECTED POISONINGS
- » Violet Beverly, London, England
- » Louisa Harvey, also known as Louisa Harris, London, England
- » Matilda Nadeau, Quebec City
- » Louisa Mary Read, mother of Cream's sister-in-law, Jessie Read, Quebec City
- » Emily Turner, London, England
THE CREAM FAMILY
- » Daniel Cream, brother; husband of Jessie Read
- » Mary Cream, sister
- » Mary Elder Cream, mother
- » William Cream, father; timber merchant in Quebec City
- » Elizabeth Harbeson, stepmother
- » John Rehm, sergeant
- » Edward Steele, lieutenant
- » Albert T. Ames, sheriff of Boone County
- » Robert Anderson, assistant commissioner, Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard)
- » James Brannan, superintendent, L Division (Lambeth)
- » Colin Chisholm, chief inspector, L Division
- » George Comley, constable, L Division
- » George Harvey, inspector, L Division
- » Frederick Smith Jarvis, inspector, Metropolitan Police
- » George Lowe, inspector, L Division
- » Melville Macnaghten, chief constable, Metropolitan Police
- » Patrick McIntyre, sergeant, Metropolitan Police
- » John Mulvany, chief inspector, L Division
- » John Bennett Tunbridge, inspector, Metropolitan Police
- » Alfred Ward, sergeant, L Division
CORONERS AND FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS
- » Dr. John R. Flock, coroner
- » Dr. James Niven, physician
- » Dr. Theodore Bluthardt, Cook County physician
- » Dr. Walter Haines, professor of chemistry and toxicology, Rush Medical College
- » Canute Matson, Cook County coroner
- » Major W. E. Waite, Cook County deputy coroner
- » Dr. Frank Whitman, Boone County coroner
- » A. Braxton Hicks, coroner for mid-Surrey
- » Dr. Thomas Kelloch, house physician, St. Thomas' Hospital
- » Dr. Thomas Stevenson, chemist and Home Office analyst
- » George Percival Wyatt, coroner for the counties of London and Surrey
- » Dr. Cuthbert Wyman, house physician, St. Thomas' Hospital
- » Lyman Brooks, hotel owner and father of Flora Brooks, Waterloo, QC
- » John Cantle, salesman, Toronto
- » Robert Caswell, prison chaplain, Toronto
- » Robert Gardner, brother of Catharine Gardner
- » David Lindsay, archdeacon and rector of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Waterloo, QC
- » Sarah Long, hotel maid, London, ON
- » John McCulloch, salesman, Toronto
- » Dr. Cornelius Phelan, Waterloo, QC
- » Dr. Herbert Reddy, Cream's McGill Medical School classmate, Montreal
- » William Sellar, salesman, Montreal
- » Leon Vohl, chief of police, Quebec City
- » George Harvey, president, G. F. Harvey Company, drug manufacturer, Saratoga Springs, NY
- » Martin Kingman, salesman for G. F. Harvey Company
- » Joseph Martin, target of obscene postcards, Chicago
- » Robert McClaughry, warden, Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet; later, chief of police, Chicago
- » Mary McClellan, Cream's landlady and mother of his fiancée, Lena, Chicago
- » Frank Murray, superintendent, Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, Chicago
- » Julia Stott, wife of Daniel Stott; Cream's mistress and co-accused, Garden Prairie
- » Francis Coppin, physician's assistant, London
- » Robert Graham, doctor, London
- » John Haynes, ship's engineer and former British government agent, London
- » Elizabeth Masters, London
- » Elizabeth May, London
- » Emma Phillips, Matilda Clover's landlady, London
- » Lucy Rose, Emma Phillips's maid, London
- » Laura Sabbatini, Cream's fiancée; dressmaker, Berkhamsted
- » Emily Sleaper, daughter of Cream's landlady, London
- » Charlotte Vogt, landlady of Alice Marsh and Emma Shrivell, London
TARGETS OF BLACKMAIL THREATS
- » Dr. William Broadbent, physician, London, England
- » Dr. Joseph Harper, physician, Barnstaple, England
- » Walter J. Harper, Joseph Harper's son; medical student, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, England
- » Frank Pyatt, druggist, Chicago
- » James Rayner, druggist, Chicago
- » Countess Mabel Russell, wife of Earl Russell, London, England
- » William Frederick Danvers Smith, bookseller and member of Parliament, London, England
- » Amos Coon, lawyer, Belvidere, IL
- » Reuben Coon, state's attorney, Belvidere, IL
- » Charles Fuller, lawyer and state senator, Belvidere, IL
- » George Ingham, Cook County assistant state's attorney, Chicago
- » Sir Charles Russell, attorney general, London, England
- » Gerald Geoghegan, barrister, London, England
- » John Jennison, Chicago
- » Daniel Munn, Chicago
- » Alfred Trude, Chicago
- » Henry Warburton, barrister, London, England
- » John Waters, lawyer, London, England
- » Omar Wright, Belvidere, IL
JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES
- » Sir John Bridge, magistrate, London, England
- » Joseph Eaton Gary, circuit court, Chicago
- » Sir Henry Hawkins, High Court of Justice, London, England
- » Horace Smith, magistrate, London, England
KEY FIGURES IN CREAM'S CLEMENCY APPEAL
- » Shelby Moore Cullom, US senator from Illinois
- » Thomas Davidson, executor of William Cream's will and family friend, Quebec City
- » John Dunn, vice consul, British consulate, Chicago
- » Joseph Fifer, governor of Illinois
- » Richard Oglesby, governor of Illinois
- » Frances Willard, president, Woman's Christian Temperance Union
A Note to Readers
This is the true story of a serial killer who preyed on women in London, Chicago, and Canada more than a century ago. None of the dialogue, scenes, or details have been invented or embellished. Every word enclosed in quotation marks is drawn from a court or police file; a newspaper report, memoir, or historical study; or a letter or other document preserved in an archive or museum. Wording and spellings within quotations have been preserved, uncorrected, so the past can speak directly to the present.
"The First of Criminals"
LONDON • 1891
"A Great Sin-Stricken City"
A MAN CLAD IN A MACKINTOSH TO OUTSMART THE DAY'S showers, a top hat covering his bald head, turned up at the door of a townhouse at 103 Lambeth Palace Road. His name was Thomas Neill, he told the landlady, and he was in search of lodgings. He took the upper-floor room at the back. It was October 7, 1891, and Cream was back in Lambeth, a downtrodden maze of grimy slums and smoky factories across the Thames from the Gothic splendor of the Houses of Parliament. It was a London neighborhood he knew well: his rooming house stood opposite St. Thomas' Hospital, where he had been a medical student more than a decade earlier. He could not help but notice that a new building, just downriver from the tower of Big Ben, had been erected since his last visit. Faced with bands of red brick and white stone and set on a foundation of granite quarried by inmates of Dartmoor and other prisons, it was the new headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard.
Cream was in the heart of the world's largest city, the capital of an empire at its zenith. Swaths of scarlet on globes and maps staked Britain's claim to the far-flung colonies and territories—and tens of millions of people—under Queen Victoria's rule. London was a sprawling metropolis of more than five million, a glittering bastion of wealth and power built on a foundation of poverty, crime, and desperation. Church spires and the giant teapot dome of St. Paul's Cathedral pointed skyward from a sea of slate roofs and chimneys belching black coal smoke. A chaos of carriages, freight wagons, and horse-drawn omnibuses clogged the main streets. At night, the sidewalks became a sea of bowlers and wide-brimmed feathered hats as men and women passed like ghosts through a netherworld of flickering gaslight and sinister fog. Pickpockets shouldered their way into the crowds in search of watches and billfolds. Prostitutes scanned the audiences at West End theaters and music halls in search of customers or strolled the adjacent Strand, transforming the busy thoroughfare, one observer lamented, into "one of the scandals of London." Enclaves of the rich and privileged rubbed shoulders with foul, dangerous slums like Whitechapel where, just three years before, the notorious Jack the Ripper had brutally murdered five women. To an editor at the city's Daily Chronicle, London was a modern Sodom and Gomorrah, "a great sin-stricken city."
Lambeth rivaled Whitechapel as one of the city's poorest, dirtiest, and most crime-ridden neighborhoods. Not even the police were safe—one bobby, a rookie on one of his first patrols, confronted a group of Lambeth thugs and was thrown through a plate-glass window. When the journalist Henry Mayhew set out to expose London's nineteenth-century underworld, he headed for the "well-known rookery of young thieves in London." Children as young as five, he discovered, roamed the streets in ragged clothing, stealing to survive. "Fagin, Bill Sikes, and Oliver Twist would have all seemed quite at home in Victorian Lambeth," the celebrated author Simon Winchester has written. "This was Dickensian London writ large."
Lambeth's industries choked the air with smoke and soot. Maudslay's foundry forged parts for the steam engines, pumps, and other mechanical marvels that powered the Victorian Age. Earthenware jugs, chimney pots, and drainpipes were fired in Henry Doulton's famous pottery works. Overhead, trains puffed and clacked on elevated rail lines that sliced through the heart of the neighborhood. Their destination was Waterloo Station, one of the city's major terminals. Thousands of people—commuters who worked in the city, travelers bound for points in southern England, steamship passengers newly arrived from abroad via Southampton—passed through its doors every day. Even the dead disturbed the living. London's cemeteries were so overcrowded that a special railway, the Necropolis line, shunted corpses from a local station to graveyards south of the city. Lambeth, the London historian Peter Ackroyd would note, "was, in every sense, a dumping ground."
It was also considered the "most lurid and beastly" of the city's red-light districts. The neighborhood surrounding Waterloo Station, a magnet for streetwalkers, became known as Whoreterloo. Brickwork supports for the station's elevated tracks offered secluded spots where business could be transacted—the succession of "dark, damp arches," one resident complained, "encouraged the more disreputable of the population."
Prostitutes were described as "unfortunates" in the press, but some of the women working in the brothels, propositioning men on the street, or picking up clients at the Canterbury, Gatti's, and other Lambeth music halls considered themselves fortunate. Life was precarious for young women from poor, struggling families. A sudden misfortune—the death of a parent or husband, the breakup of a marriage or relationship, losing a low-paying job as a maid or toiling in a factory—could leave them to fend for themselves. Some working-class women turned to prostitution, the British academic Kathryn Hughes noted in an exploration of Victorian life and attitudes, when "the usual ways in which they got an income from their bodies—by working as a milliner, or a domestic or a factory hand—had come up short." Selling sex, even for a few weeks or months, might be their only option, and it offered something most women, regardless of their social standing, were denied in the Victorian world: income and independence. One Lambeth prostitute told Mayhew she earned as much as four pounds a week, far more than she had made "workin' and slavin'" as a servant in Birmingham.
Prostitutes seemed to be everywhere in Lambeth. There were "more women in the street than ever, and they are more brazen and persistent," complained Rev. G. E. Asker of St. Andrew's Church. Even he was being propositioned as he walked through the neighborhood. "The brothels are many of the perfect hells," Asker added. "Shrieks and cries, 'murder' and so on, frequently are heard."
For Lambeth's newest resident, it would be a perfect hunting ground.
* * *
MARY Cream was only fourteen when her oldest brother left home to attend medical school. She remembered fragments of his troubled life—mentions of his stints as a doctor in Ontario and Chicago, his conviction for murder. When she saw him again in Quebec City in the summer of 1891, for the first time in close to two decades, she could scarcely believe what he had become. "He was most wild and excitable," she remembered. "Not right in his mind."
Cream had arrived in Quebec City on August 2, shortly after his release from Joliet. His family had emigrated from Scotland to Canada when he was four and settled in the capital of the province of Quebec. His father, William Cream, had managed a major timber exporting firm, amassing a fortune by the time of his death in 1887. Cream spent almost six weeks in the city, staying at the home of his brother Daniel. Relatives began calling him Thomas Neill. "He wished and decided to drop the Cream," noted Thomas Davidson, a Quebec businessman and family friend, "on account of his unfortunate troubles." No one seemed to suspect he might have other motives for changing his name.
"His actions at times were that of an unsound mind," Jessie Read, Daniel Cream's wife, would recall. "He would change countenance and appear as another man," excited and manic at one moment, quiet and vacant-eyed the next. Davidson, who attributed Cream's "mental derangement" and "unbalanced" mind to his long imprisonment, was appalled when Thomas lashed out "in a most scandalous manner" at one of his sisters, possibly Mary Cream, calling her a streetwalker and a liar. These "atrocious slanders," Davidson later noted, were repeated in a letter Thomas fired off to his sister's friends.
Davidson and Daniel Cream devised a plan to send him abroad. A fresh start, they reasoned, might improve Thomas's mental as well as physical health. It would, at least, free them from the strain of dealing with his erratic and abusive behavior. As executors of William Cream's will, Daniel and Davidson withdrew a sum from the estate—the equivalent of twenty-three thousand US dollars today—that would help get Thomas back on his feet. Daniel considered sending him to Glasgow, near his birthplace in Barony, perhaps to visit relatives there. They settled on London, a city Cream knew from his days at St. Thomas' Hospital in the late 1870s. A transatlantic steamer could deliver him to Liverpool in just over a week, but they opted to dispatch him on a slower, sail-powered ship. "We believed," Davidson explained later, "that the long sea voyage and the complete change of scene would restore him to both mental and bodily health."
On September 9, the night before he was to sail to England, Cream wrote a will. He claimed to be "of sound mind" and, oddly, named his sister-in-law, Jessie Read, as his executor and sole heir. In the event of his death, she would inherit all his property as well as anything he might be owed from the estates of his deceased parents. Did Cream feel a sense of imminent doom, that he would not be returning from England? The two-paragraph will, written in the neat, upright lettering that would soon be familiar to Scotland Yard detectives, offered no insights into his motives.
He left Quebec City the next morning. On October 1, after a twenty-day voyage, he scribbled a note to Daniel Cream, announcing his arrival in England.
* * *
CREAM became a regular at Gatti's Adelaide Gallery Restaurant on the Strand. The restaurant's decor was elegant—vaulted ceilings, stained glass, ornate plasterwork, a palette of blue and gold—and it was a favorite of the theater crowd. Actors and playwrights from nearby playhouses claimed many of its marble-top tables. One day, when most of the seats were taken, he shared a table with another man.
He introduced himself as Thomas Neill. He was educated, tastefully dressed, and "well informed and travelled, as men go," the other diner recalled. They shared meals many times, with Cream preferring bread and cheese, washed down with beer or gin, to the plovers' eggs and other delicacies on the menu. He spoke about how much he enjoyed attending the city's music halls. He talked about money and seemed obsessed with poisons. But most of the time, he talked about women.
"His language about them was far from tolerable or agreeable," his dining companion had to admit. Cream carried around a collection of pornographic photographs, which he delighted in showing to his new friend and to other diners. He was restless and fidgety and could not stand still, even when drinking at the restaurant's bar. And he was always chewing something—gum, tobacco, or the end of a cigar, his jaws "moving mechanically like a cow chewing the cud." He seemed wary of every patron and waiter who approached his table. He rarely smiled, and his laugh sounded forced and fake, as if he were the villain in a melodrama. And people could not help but notice that his left eye turned inward, giving him a crazed, sinister look. Cream later claimed he had come to London to consult an eye specialist, and one of his first stops after his arrival had been the office of a Fleet Street optician. James Aitchison diagnosed his condition as hypermetropia, or farsightedness—his eyes focused improperly, blurring his vision and causing severe headaches. Cream had been suffering from the condition since childhood, Aitchison concluded, and had needed glasses for years. He supplied two pairs of spectacles to correct his vision.
The more his dining companion learned about Cream, the more troubled he became. "He was exceedingly vicious, and seemed to live for nothing but the gratification of his passions," he remembered. "His tastes and habits were of the most depraved order." And he made no secret of his drug use. Cream was constantly taking pills, three or four at a time, that he said contained cocaine and morphine as well as strychnine, a deadly poison used in minute quantities as a stimulant in medicines. The pills relieved his headaches, he said. They were also, he seemed delighted to add, an aphrodisiac.
Getting narcotics and poisons in London, Cream had discovered, was easy. He called at a chemist's shop on Parliament Street—just around the corner from Scotland Yard's new headquarters—and identified himself as a doctor from America, visiting the city to take courses at St. Thomas' Hospital. The clerk, John Kirkby, could not find the name Thomas Neill in the shop's register of licensed physicians. "I am not in the habit of selling poisons to persons whose names I cannot find in the register," he would say later. Access to poisons was restricted by law, and if Cream could not prove he was a doctor, he should have been required to produce someone known to the pharmacist to vouch for him. But Kirkby made an exception and took this new customer at his word. He filled Cream's orders for opium and strychnine several times that fall. When Cream asked for empty gelatin capsules of a size not in general use in Britain, Kirkby helpfully tracked them down from a supplier. Doctors and druggists filled them with medicine too bitter tasting to be taken on its own.
Cream did not say how he intended to use the strychnine or the hard-to-find capsules. Kirkby did not ask.
DO YOU FEEL AN UNCOMFORTABLE HEAT AT THE PIT OF your stomach, Sir? and a nasty thumping at the top of your head? . . ." Gabriel Betteredge, the head servant in the household of Lady Verinder, asks another character in the 1868 novel The Moonstone. "You're certain to catch it. . . . I call it the detective-fever."
Wilkie Collins's story of intrigue and a priceless stolen diamond (the Moonstone of the title) introduced one of the earliest professional detectives in English literature, Sergeant Cuff of the London police. "When it comes to unraveling a mystery there isn't the equal in England," readers are assured, and his first order of business in The Moonstone is a meticulous examination of the room where the gem had been stored. "In all my experience along the dirtiest ways of this dirty little world," he snaps when a colleague doubts the value of a piece of evidence, "I have never met with such a thing as a trifle yet." "I don't suspect," he states with confidence at another point in his investigation. "I know." Betteredge, who observes Cuff as he makes his inquiries, is soon infected with the mystery-solving bug.
So was the Victorian public. Crime and murder were obsessions in the nineteenth century. "Nothing," proclaimed one London news dealer, "beats a stunning good murder." Readers craved "sensations" and the vicarious thrill of peering into an abyss of wickedness and scandal at a safe distance. One British social historian has likened it to a form of pornography—a guilty pleasure that could be indulged in newspapers, books, and plays. Writers scrambled to produce novels based on the latest outrage, while London's theater promoters sometimes brought crimes to the stage before the real-life offender had stood trial. Souvenir hunters could buy ceramic figurines depicting killers and victims. The mainstream press, taking its cue from the Illustrated Police News and other lucrative crime-filled publications, offered lurid accounts of brutal deaths and the trials that followed. Apologies might be offered if readers had to make do with disappointing accounts of "commonplace murders." In 1861 one London publication, The Spectator, surveyed the previous week's highlights in the British courts: accounts of two women poisoning their children; a lodger who murdered his landlady; a doctor who performed a fatal abortion; and a man accused of trying to kill his son in a dispute over an inheritance. Otherwise, the paper noted, "the week has been a dull one."
Murder was a spectacle that could be enjoyed in person as well. People flocked to crime scenes, hoping to catch a glimpse of the house or alley where a murder had been committed. They descended on London's Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, jostling for seats so they could witness the ritual of trial and conviction. The satirical magazine Punch
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021:
The New York Times Book Review * BuzzFeed * CNN * CrimeReads * Book Riot
One of IndieWire's 10 Best Gifts for True Crime Fans
One of The Washington Post's "50 Notable Works of Nonfiction"
One of CrimeReads' "Best True Crime Books of 2021"
“Jobb recounts Cream’s life and evokes the societal attitudes that allowed him to kill: the blind faith placed in doctors, the power imbalance between Cream and the people who sought his care.”
—The New York Times
“A deeply absorbing account of the life and deeds of one of the Ripper’s earliest ‘successors’ . . . An admirable piece of work, a model for its kind.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“[Dr. Thomas Neill Cream] will hauntingly occupy a space in your nightmares after you read of his life and crimes in The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream. An extraordinarily well-researched and arrestingly written work . . . this is a book that grabs you from its first sentence, weaving a suspenseful tale and taking readers on a grand, if gruesome, historical journey.”
“Jobb . . . re-creates Cream’s heartless life in short, highly dramatic chapters.”
—The Washington Post
“If you've been hunting for your next true crime addiction this summer, Dean Jobb's The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream has it all: a serial-killer doctor, corrupt leaders, and a ground-breaking investigation by Scotland Yard, all within the spellbinding setting of London circa 1892.”
“True crime fans will want to pick up Dean Jobb’s engrossing account of Thomas Neill Cream . . . Jobb builds Cream’s world in vivid, transportive detail; I had a lot of fun being swept away.”
—BuzzFeed, “28 Summer Books to Get Excited About”
“A must for true crime fans.”
“A tour de force of storytelling. One of the best books I’ve read this year. Dean Jobb breathes new life into Cream's victims—who they were, where and how they lived—all the while blending in thorny issues of policing, of the fictional detectives being created, of the other serial killers on the loose. This book is both chilling and thrilling.”
—Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Gamache series
“The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is a macabre, utterly suspenseful true crime thriller about a forgotten madman every bit as cunning and evil as Jack the Ripper. Dean Jobb combines scholarship with a breakneck narrative so relentless it kept me up all night. Warning: Read with the lights on.”
—Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park
“The story of the infamous poisoner Thomas Neill Cream is so many things—horrifying, fascinating, and insightful, a portrait of late 19th-century police work at a time when the idea of the professional detective was just starting to take shape. And in this vivid and compelling book, Dean Jobb does full justice to that story.”
—Deborah Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Poisoner’s Handbook
“[Jobb] creates a nuanced portrait of Cream that’s much more chilling than Mr. Hyde.”
“Masterful . . . True crime doesn’t get any better than this.”
“[A] fascinating read.”
—Oxygen.com, July Book Club Selection
“Chilling and fascinating . . . Jobb’s true crime stories are not to be missed.”
“Jobb’s extensive research pays off in a true crime masterpiece that will easily sit alongside The Devil in the White City.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Jobb richly embellishes his grim central tale with carefully researched setting, detail, and social mores of the late Victorian era, elegantly contrasted with his eponymous fiend, Thomas Neill Cream . . . A vivid, engaging revival of a forgotten Victorian villain.”
“An illuminating, if frightening, book . . . Jobb handles this hideous yet compelling story so well . . . An absorbing and grim account, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is a gripping addition to the true crime genre.”
“Jobb uses Cream’s spree to illuminate the era’s surgical and policing practices, and despite Cream’s monstrousness, Jobb’s storytelling ‘makes the book a pleasure to read.’”
“[A] fascinating read.”
“The graphically told tale of a notorious 19th-century slayer… Impressive.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books
“Jobb does a masterful job of following the investigation, which ranged from England to the United States to Canada, and of presenting Dr. Cream not merely as a murderer, but as a complex, unstable, and deeply fascinating individual. True crime doesn’t get any better than this.”
“Jobb’s research is excellent . . . [His] compelling account of Cream’s reign of terror will appeal to readers interested in Jack the Ripper or Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.”
“Engrossing . . . An informative and entertaining true crime text.”
“Jobb captures the hypocrisy, class differences, and gender inequality of the times in an extensively researched non-fiction telling of the forgotten nineteenth century serial killer Dr. Thomas Neill Cream . . . Both grim and hard to put down.”
—Southern Bookseller Review
“Dean Jobb’s meticulous research is evident on every page of his gripping study of the extraordinary serial killer Doctor Cream, a nineteenth century ‘monster of iniquity’ whose homicidal career was truly stranger than fiction.”
—Martin Edwards, author of Mortmain Hall and the Lake District Mysteries
“Dean Jobb has produced another mesmerizing feat of historical storytelling. The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream vividly recreates the career of one of the most audacious—and deadly—criminals in history.”
—Gary Krist, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Sin and The Mirage Factory
“Tense, atmospheric, and effortlessly readable, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream has all the sinister elegance of a hansom cab emerging from a late Victorian London smog.”
—Paul Willetts, author of King Con
“Deeply researched and rich in grisly detail, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream fuses the blow-by-blow efforts to catch a serial killer with the larger picture of crime and detection in the late nineteenth century. A fine piece of social history as well as an extraordinary story, it engrossed me right up to its deeply satisfying conclusion.”
—Charlotte Gray, author of eleven nonfiction bestsellers, including The Massey Murder and Murdered Midas
“A brilliant evocation of an age and a fascinating dissection of a serial killer's crimes. Dean Jobb is a first-rate storyteller and historical detective. A real page-turner.”
—Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
“Corruption, madness, murder: Dr. Cream has it all. This is a spectacular and absorbing tale, meticulously reported and vividly told. An enthralling page-turner.”
—Jonathan Eig, author of Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster
“The definitive retelling of a story about a devious doctor, the dogged investigators who hunted him, and the murders that shocked the world. Dr. Cream’s story comes to life in Jobb’s spellbinding tale."
—Kate Winkler Dawson, author American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI
“A tour de force of research, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream conjures an era when poisoners roamed the earth—and police seemed powerless to stop them.”
—Margalit Fox, author of Conan Doyle for the Defense
“An exciting whodunit . . . Jobb also does the unusual in true crime: he describes in detail the lives of Cream’s victims. The scholarship he employed to tell this story is staggering . . . the numbing regard and treatment of women in Victorian times — especially of unmarried pregnant, widowed and abandoned women — tugs at the heart.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“A must-read... historically rich and shockingly poignant, Jobb’s text is not one to miss.”
—True Crime Index
“First-rate creative non-fiction [and] very hard to put down . . . Crime buffs are going to motor through this book.”
- On Sale
- Jul 5, 2022
- Page Count
- 432 pages
- Algonquin Books