“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
”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 a master of the genre.
About the Author
Dean Jobb is an award-winning author and journalist and a professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program. He is the author of eight previous books, including Empire of Deception, which the New York Times Book Review called “intoxicating and impressively researched” and the Chicago Writers Association named the Nonfiction Book of the Year. Jobb has written for major newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, and the Irish Times. He writes a monthly true-crime column, “Stranger Than Fiction,” for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. His work as an investigative reporter has been nominated for Canada’s National Newspaper and National Magazine awards, and Jobb is a three-time winner of Atlantic Canada’s top journalism award.
“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.”
“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
PRAISE FOR EMPIRE OF DECEPTION:
“Intoxicating and impressively researched, Jobb’s immorality tale provides a sobering post-Madoff reminder that those who think everything is theirs for the taking are destined to be taken.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Comprehensively researched and enthralling . . . High-stakes hijinks give the story a rollicking feel, but Jobb manages great poignancy, too. . . This lively and sweeping account seems to have already given a master con artist his due, putting him in the ‘pantheon of pyramid-building swindlers.’”
—The Washington Post
“This cautionary tale of 1920s greed and excess reads like it could happen today.”
—The Associated Press
“Jobb vividly, albeit briefly, brings the Chicago of the 1880s and ‘90s to life . . . [and] is a masterpiece of narrative set-up and vivid language.”
“Dean Jobb skillfully dusts off this century-old tale with a fast-paced narrative, a keen eye for detail and a cast of characters in which the free-for-all city of Chicago plays a prominent role . . . [A] masterfully told story.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune