cover image The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer

Dean Jobb. Algonquin, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-61620-689-5

Jobb (Empire of Deception) provides the definitive account of serial poisoner Thomas Neill Cream in this enthralling real-life thriller. Born in Scotland in 1850, Cream moved with his family to Montreal, Canada, where he earned his medical degree at McGill University. He became a respected member of his London, Ontario, community, while leading a murderous double life. After the body of a woman with whom Cream was alleged to have had an affair was found near his office in 1879, a victim of chloroform poisoning, he became a suspect and fled to the U.S. In Chicago, he became a person of interest in several deaths and was convicted in 1881 of poisoning a patient. When his life sentence was commuted in 1891, Cream immigrated to England, where his murder of several prostitutes in London with strychnine led to his arrest and execution in 1892. (It was also mooted that he could have been Jack the Ripper, though he was in prison in Illinois at the time of the Ripper killings.) Jobb nicely places this grim story in context, as Cream’s London trial created a precedent for the admission of similar uncharged crimes as evidence and exposed massive Scotland Yard failures that left Cream free to kill more people until he was finally apprehended. Jobb’s extensive research pays off in a true-crime masterpiece that will easily sit alongside The Devil in the White City. (July)