Cover Image: The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book is about the victorian era serial killer Dr. Thomas Niell Cream. He is known for poisoning ten people and possibly more in three different countries. He preyed on prostitutes, giving them pills containing poison causing them agonizing deaths. He also had a medical license so finding the means and supplies weren't;t very hard and he did very litle to hide hhis acts. 

I'd never heard of Cream before reading this book and while I believe he was a horrible man, I enjoyed reading and learning about his crimes. This book highlights his crimes and how he stayed under the radar for so long.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 The 1800s were the heydey for poisoners. Poisons were readily available and there were, until the middle of the century, no tests that could detect poison as a cause of death. Arsenic was the poison of choice, but was the first poison detection test that was developed. Enterprising individual went on to find other poisons, there were many from which to choose. Dr. Creams poison of choice was strychnine. He would kill many in the US, Canada and England.

During present time he would have been stopped much earlier. With no computers that could track past crimes, there were no connections that could easily be made. Not even after he was found guilty and spent ten years in Joliet, he was released to kill again, start again in other countries. Thanks to an intrepid detective who made many trips, the pieces were finally put together.

Well researched, and though it went back and forth in time, I found this true crime story fascinating. Crossley was the narrator and he did well.
Was this review helpful?
Rich with well-researched detail, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb will satisfy any true crime or history enthusiast. Even by today's standards, the span of the crimes perpetrated by this doctor are almost unimaginable, spanning two continents and evading capture (or censure) time and again. Jobb's narrative deftly weaves together countless sources and forms an incredible timeline of Dr. Cream's dastardly legacy.
Was this review helpful?
True crime isn't my usual genre, so keep that in mind while reading this. The description of this one was interesting, so I gave it a try. 
This is exhaustively researched and very readable for the most part. While the time jumps did make sense from an overall narrative perspective, it was occasionally difficult to figure out where and when things were occurring.
The epilogue in my ARC ended at 68%, with the rest devoted to sources and other materials.
Was this review helpful?
This book details the story of Dr. Thomas Neill Cream who is a little know Victorian age serial killer with quite the tawdry background. I don't think I am spoiling anything by saying Dr. Cream poisoned numerous people in the U.S., England, and Canada. On top of all that he was notoriously obsessed with sex. He has been likened to, and even suggested as a possibility of being, Jack the Ripper. This book was meticulously researched while remaining a reader-friendly page turner...not an easy feat. I suggest this title for those interested in true crime and the Victorian period.
Was this review helpful?
I had completely forgotten about Dr. Cream until I saw this book for request. I was excited to get re-acquainted and it wasn't disappointing in the least. Jobb did a great job of weaving the story of this serial killer together in a way that made it entertaining but still factual. I felt like I had leapt into the Victorian era of Dr. Cream's hunting grounds. It's non-fiction books like these that make people actually appreciate the history of our world.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, this was quite an exhilarating read. For those interested in thrillers, true crime, mysteries of the fiction type, will be quite surprised (as I was) how a non-fiction story of this caliber could be transposed. This truly reads like a novel, with twists and turns, ups and downs. I commend the author for such a rollercoaster of read. 

Dr. Cream is infamous in history for murder. The author does an excellent job bringing the readers to each day, setting the stage (the time of day, the weather, witnesses, etc.), and sharing a pertinent anecdote, an important puzzle piece to the story. Each chapter reads similar to an “episode” to me, as if watching a thrilling documentary of the twisted mind and actions of this killer.

The author clearly has done extensive research to create this. He clearly documents all of his references at the end. But beyond the details of Dr. Cream and his victims, the author does a great job portraying the Victorian culture of the time frame, the city life, medical education, training and licensing at the time, and the various police protocols and steps taken during the investigations. The contrasting details of America vs. Canada vs. England are also noted and add to the splendor of this read. Many comments and quotes from newspaper articles and medical journals of the time help keep the discussion grounded in the mindset of the time and the general public.

To all considering this read, I highly recommend. You will not be disappointed. I will look into more reads from this author. Prior to reading, I was hesitant and unsure how a creative writer writing non-fiction would turn out, but I am very impressed and commend the author’s strong work.

Thank you NetGalley for my free copy. The comments above are my own without influence.
Was this review helpful?
A narrative nonfiction that had me completely enthralled. Dr. Cream is a terrible person and I was immediately sucked into the story about a Victorian serial killer. The writing was so interesting and I learned a lot about police investigation, or lack thereof, during this time. I also liked seeing how he was connected to Jack the Ripper. The fact that the killing spree spanned so many countries, I was able to see a lot of the way that things were handled in different parts of the world during this time. Definitely would recommend because this story is WILD!
Was this review helpful?
I love true crime, but often don't end up reading many true crime books due to getting bogged down in details or irrelevant tangents. But this book...this I devoured, and I loved every minute. Dean Jobb writes what could be a dry examination of historical fact like it's a juicy film noir. Does he get into historical details? Of course. He goes over the social environment and Cream's early life, but he spaces these investigative pieces out between chunks of suspense and drama, and it never felt dry or dragging. His writing style is so easy to read and the content so thoroughly researched. It's a nonfiction book that reads like a novel, and I have already recommended it to several folks who have come into our library.
Was this review helpful?
The first third of this book was interesting and well-organized. As it goes on, however, it slowly unravels and becomes little more than a trial transcript. I did not write a full review but I highlighted the title on my site.
Was this review helpful?
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Dr. Cream - and frankly, after reading this, I am quite surprised! This serial poisoner has a surprisingly local connection to me - as my aunt and uncle used to live in Garden Prairie and my mom now lives in Belvidere - where Cream was first convicted of murder! I really wasn't expecting to see a map highlight such small towns in Illinois! Jobb's book brings Cream's life, crimes and victims to light here in this fascinating narrative nonfiction. It reads like a fictional thriller, honestly, and I had a hard time putting this one down! 

Impeccably researched, Jobb also offers plenty of detail to set the scenes and really shows how investigations in the Victorian era worked - and how many advantages that killers really had. It's a genuinely fascinating read - and I always know when a nonfiction book is especially absorbing because I find myself chasing down my husband to read the interesting bits to him. I really enjoyed this one - though I wish that there had been a bit more insight into the motivations. And I feel awful that the Illinois penal system failed so terribly to retain him considering he wasted no time at all in picking back up with his murderous ways. 

I also appreciated Jobbs' focus on the victims as well. Plus, the Jack the Ripper connection only added to this one. I am really glad that Jobbs took the time to explore that as well. The additional supporting materials - like the photos, letters, drawings and maps really added a lot to this one, too! I really enjoyed this and am definitely curious to check out more from Jobbs in the future!
Was this review helpful?
What a great book! I had never heard of Dr. Cream so this was a fascinating story on top of a well-written journey through the underbelly of 19th century London. Highly recommend for those who love history and the macabre!
Was this review helpful?
Dean Jobb, a Canadian author, has written true crime before. The Case of the Murderous Doctor Cream is a worthy addition to his bibliography. In an era when poisons were just becoming detectable by coroners, Thomas Neill Cream finished medical school and set up practice. By all accounts, he was a mediocre student but a charismatic and brilliant killer who persuaded a number of people to take the poisons he gave them under the guise of medicine. Constantly pursuing money through nefarious means to live a luxurious lifestyle, his greed was part of his eventual undoing.

Jobb didn't write a book that simply detailed Cream's calculating murders; he included lots of fascinating information about how people lived in the Victorian era. Forensic tests and detective methods we take for granted today had in many cases not yet been discovered while Cream was poisoning his trusting victims. It is both astonishing and disturbing at how many times law enforcement failed to apprehend him and the courts failed to convict him. Several lives could have been saved.

(excerpt of review written about the audio version)  http://www.soundcommentary.com/adultreviews
Was this review helpful?
Dean Jobb has covered Thomas Neill Cream's life and treacherous deeds in exquisite detail, focusing on the specific crimes and (eventual) punishment more than the motivations of this creepy, cruel, doctor.  He also describes detective and forensic methods of the era.  Jobb's writing is reminiscent of Erik Larson's ability to write historical scenes in such vivid detail that it nearly pushes the reader into the scene of gruesome deaths and the filth and poverty juxtaposed with the great wealth and ostentation of the Victorian era elite.  Highly readable and utterly fascinating.
Was this review helpful?
I decided to DNF this ARC which is a very hard thing for me to do. The story is pieced together from interviews and on investigative work. The pictures made this book even creepier and were my favorite part. The writing held my interest at first but then it seemed to slow down half way through and I couldn’t get myself to finish it. I had never heard of this case though and found it very creepy at how easy this would to be do and probably there were others that did just what Dr. Cream did. There were many times that I wondered why the Police didn’t do more.
——
This book is over 400 pages but if you enjoy true crime it probably won’t seem long enough.
——
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream is a creepy historical account. A story of a killer who had no motive or remorse. If you enjoy true crime this is a book for you! 🩺
Was this review helpful?
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream 
By Dean Jobb

I enjoyed this book and the writing - this was so engaging and so interesting I just really enjoyed it so much I couldn't put it down!

Dr. Cream has been poisoning people all over the world for at least fifteen years. The story tells around the 1892 trial in London when Dr. Cream was finally being tried for his atrocious acts. As a doctor and member of the medical community, the trust and his position, along with poor investigation skills and blunders, is probably why Dr. Cream had been able to murder this many people so far. 

Jobb really unearthed the investigational efforts or lack of in this amazing account of a man's crime - a new breed of killer at the time.
Was this review helpful?
"Do you think we are poisoned?" Shrivell had asked.
They were foolish, Vogt had told them, to take pills from a stranger.
"He is not a stranger," one of the women had protested. "He was a doctor."

In the late 19th century, while the public was obsessed with murder and crime, Thomas Neill Cream poisoned victims in London, Chicago, and Canada. The doctor was convicted of a murder in Illinois, sending him to the penitentiary in Joliet, but in truth he had killed at least six in Canada and the Chicago area by that time, including his wife. After his release, his time in prison shortened when the governor commuted his sentence, Cream soon moved across the ocean to England. A decade before, he had completed some studies at a hospital in Lambeth - he now moved back into this area of London, and a spate of deaths followed, along with blackmail accusing prominent people of the poisonings.

This true crime narrative looks not only at Dr. Cream's killings in London for which he has been called the Lambeth Poisoner, but also his eventual trial and, through the eyes of Inspector Frederick Smith Jarvis of Scotland Yard, Dr. Cream's beginnings in North America. A note at the beginning of the book informs the reader that anything written in quotation marks is directly quoted from a police or court file, memoir, newspaper, letter, or something else of the sort. Following the main content of the book, there is a cast of characters - this would have been more useful for me personally at the front of the book. Although there is a table of contents, I didn't look through it and therefore didn't know this resource existed while I was reading. Photos and illustrations, both of individuals and locations, are inserted throughout. Some of the chapters focusing on public sentiment, advances in policework, etc. felt a little jarring to me, bringing me out of the narrative. I think some of this information might have done better integrated throughout other chapters, rather than, for example, a chapter on Sherlock Holmes sandwiched between a chapter on Dr. Cream's return to London and one of his first murders there.

I would recommend this one for those who like The Devil in the White City or otherwise have interest in true crime or serial killers.

Thank you to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for the eARC. The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer was published last week, July 13 2021.
Was this review helpful?
I'd never heard of Dr. Cream, a wealthy Canadian who literally got away with murder during the Victorian era. Dean Jobb's book, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, will give you shivers when you read about how this monstrous man escaped justice while hiding in plain sight. 

This is a diligently researched true crime book that reads like a novel, and it's filled with fascinating details about 19th century London and the police who sought to capture him--only to have him escape. Recommended for all true crime fans.
Was this review helpful?
I picked up this book because I enjoy history and true crime, and I also found it fascinating that this was the first book that really explored one of the most notorious serial killers of the nineteenth century (well, the label "serial killer" didn't exist back then, but that's beside the point). Like many true crime stories, it centers around an elusive criminal who carries out his murders while continuing to evade the law and the public eye. What I found captivating about this story was that the author goes into the history of the medical profession in the late nineteenth century, and how being a doctor served as an effective cover for Dr. Cream's crimes. I also found it interesting that Dr. Cream somehow managed to stay under the radar, at least for so many years, moving around from Canada to the U.S., to England, and back again, leaving a trail of unsolved murders in his tracks. If you love history, true crime, and colorful characters, you'll definitely enjoy this book. There is a lot of historical background in the first few chapters before the story of Dr. Cream actually begins, so just bear with it if you find the book to be a slow start. This book is mostly narrative nonfiction, so, for the most part, it's a quick and easy read.
Was this review helpful?
As a big fan of true crime books, I don't know how I had never heard of Dr. Thomas Neill Cream who poisoned many people throughout the United States, Canada and Great Britain. He mostly chose to prey on Prostitutes and desperate women who came to him for help. I really enjoyed this book especially the photos and illustrations.  It was very well researched.

Thank you to @algonquinbooks; @deanjobb for the #gifted copy of the book.
.
Was this review helpful?