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The month of July is almost over, which means it's time to discuss Oxygen Book Club's pick, which highlights books in the true crime sphere each month and features exclusive interviews, guided discussions, and more.
In July, Oxygen Book Club read "The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer" by Dean Jobb, which investigates one of the most terrifying murderers of the 18th century: Thomas Neill Cream. He was a doctor who primarily preyed on female sex workers and his weapon of choice was poison. Cream killed at least10 people in three different countries, consistently evading justice. Jobb investigates exactly how Cream got away with his horrific crimes, and the historical investigation that reads like a thriller made it an obvious choice for an Oxygen Book Club read!
So, once you've finished reading the book yourself, consider examining these discussion questions with your friends:
1. Had you heard of Dr. Cream before this book? Why do you think his crimes are less well-known than those of Jack the Ripper, a fellow London serial killer?
2. What part of Dr. Cream's exploits did you find the most disturbing, and why?
3. In one case, Cream's lawyer discredits a witness because she is a Black woman. How did the racism and sexism of the time play into Cream's murder spree?
4. What did you think was the most frustrating time Cream evaded justice?
5. The book takes you along with Inspector Frederick Smith Jarvis as he uncovers the true depth and depravity of Dr. Cream's crimes. Did this story structure work for you? Why or why not?
6. In one Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes famously tells Watson, "When a doctor goes wrong, he is the first of criminals." What do you think this line means, and how does it relate to Cream?
7. Do you believe Dr. Cream was responsible for more murders than the ones we know he committed?
8. What similarities and differences did you see in the United States legal system at the time and England's legal system?
9. If you were to turn this story into a movie or TV show, who would you cast as Dr. Cream?
10. Did this book inspire you to seek out other nonfiction about the era? What similar books have you read and would recommend to others?
And if you have more thoughts let us know! Use the hashtag #oxygenbookclub to keep the discussion going on social media.
For Oxygen Book Club's interview with Jobb, watch the video above. Check back each month for Oxygen Book Club's picks, which highlight the best true crime stories the literary world has to offer.
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