The author of Empire of Deception returns with a true-crime narrative about the hunt for one of the first known serial killers, a doctor whose air of authority enabled his poisoning spree in the U.S., Canada and England. Dr. Cream's crimes coincided with the birth of forensic science as well as the public's growing appetite for crime fiction, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels.
... excellent ... Jobb paints Cream convincingly as 'haughty and self-centered, a boorish young man who squandered his money' ... Despite his repugnant subject, Jobb’s excellent storytelling makes the book a pleasure to read. He evokes the 'plank sidewalks and muddy streets' of London, Ontario, as skillfully as he does the 'netherworld of flickering gaslight and sinister fog' of London, England. Judicious shifts in time period, from Cream’s early murders in the United States to his later spree in London, keep the narrative moving, while carefully chosen digressions into the histories of poison, surgery and law enforcement provide much needed breaks from the doctor. Jobb bolsters his narrative with fascinating supporting characters[.]
... fascinating ... Jobb has a talent for scene-setting ... Jobb uses a twin-ply narrative, switching between Canada and Britain, between the bulk of Cream’s life and his last two years, to heighten what is essentially a sad, sad story about a bad, bad man ... His life, in Jobb’s hands, is a splendidly atmospheric journey through the halls of Victorian vice, virtue and, above all, hypocrisy.
... engrossing ... With plentiful insights into why the authorities were slow to focus on Cream’s crimes, the book shows police departments and coroners jockeying for control over murder investigations ... The book also singles out heroes on the side of justice ... The result is an informative and entertaining true crime text.