“The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream” Book Review

This book contains two of my favorite genres: history and true crime. I had never heard of Dr. Cream or his crimes (not sure if it’s more well-known in England), so I was interested in learning more about this Jack-the-Ripper-esque killer.

Dr. Cream was an actual practicing doctor during the later half of the 19th century who poisoned (mostly) women in the guise of providing them with medical treatment. His crimes spanned several countries (the US, Canada, and the UK). It’s only because of his own hubris that he was eventually caught and put on trial. This book had all the makings of an intriguing story – especially the inclusion of a main character that is truly nuts. However, I felt that this book suffered from a structure that just didn’t work. The book jumps around from different time periods for no discernible reason. I think it would have benefitted from a more chronological telling. It would have made the book so much easier to follow along with. I found myself confused with which part of Dr. Cream’s story I was reading and how all of the events of his life connected together. The book starts with his crimes in the UK only to go back and forth between his past and previous crimes. There were also some parts of the story that felt rather dry even though the story is rife with dramatic moments (especially when one of the poisonings is described).

Obviously, you can tell that the author spent a ton of time researching this case and this period in history. The book is well-supported by facts and insights into that time period. However, I most likely won’t be recommending this to anyone because I just couldn’t get past the hard-to-follow structure. Perhaps this was just a miss for me – maybe other readers won’t be bothered by this storytelling technique.

3 stars

*Free ARC provided by Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review*

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