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About Dean Jobb
"Jobb's true crime stories are not to be missed" – CrimeReads
I specialize in true crime and I'm drawn to stories that have been overlooked or forgotten – hidden gems tucked away in the attics of history. My latest book, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, recreates Scotland Yard's hunt for a Victorian Era serial killer who murdered as many as 10 people in Britain, the U.S. and Canada. I discovered the subject of my previous book, Empire of Deception – Leo Koretz and his amazing oil swindle in 1920s Chicago – by chance, while doing other research. I spotted a reference to his arrest in Nova Scotia and I knew instantly it was a great story.
Empire of Deception won the Crime Writers of Canada award for best true crime book of 2015, was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and was named the Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year. I'm also the author of two collections of Nova Scotia true crime stories – Daring, Devious & Deadly (2020) and Madness, Mayhem & Murder (2021).
I write a monthly true crime column for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and my features and book reviews appear in CrimeReads, The Irish Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, Canada’s History magazine and other major publications. I teach in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program at the University of King’s College in Halifax.
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“Jobb’s excellent storytelling makes the book a pleasure to read.” —The New York Times Book Review
”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 from a master of the genre.
As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang-war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. As bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant. Leo Koretz was the Bernie Madoff of his day, and Dean Jobb shows us that the American dream of easy wealth is a timeless commodity.
“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
“Captivating . . . A story that seems to be as American as it can get, and it’s told well.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A masterpiece of narrative set-up and vivid language . . . Jobb vividly . . . brings the Chicago of the 1880s and ‘90s to life.” —Chicago Tribune
“This cautionary tale of 1920s greed and excess reads like it could happen today.” —The Associated Press
Welcome to a rogues’ gallery of murderers and pirates, a pair of brazen bank robbers and a fraud artist who fooled Halifax’s elite. A supporting cast includes a wise-cracking Cape Breton judge, legendary journalist-turned-politician Joseph Howe, circus showman P.T. Barnum and future prime minister John Thompson. Daring, Devious & Deadly is a collection of fifteen true tales of crime and justice that spans more than 150 years of Nova Scotia’s history, from a triple murder in 1791 at a farm near Lunenburg to 1947, when Angus Walters, skipper of the racing schooner Bluenose, was attacked in the pages of an American magazine.
The stories are drawn from communities across the province, from Sydney and Amherst to Halifax, from the rugged coast of the Eastern Shore to the historic town of Annapolis Royal. Filled with surprising twists and courtroom drama, these stories of greed, murder and vengeance offer a window on the past. But justice can be far from blind. Religious hatred, partisan rivalry, social status, ethnicity or political corruption sometimes invaded the courtroom, threatening to upset the delicate balance between guilt and innocence. Was justice done in each of these cases? You be the judge.
Meet the larger-than-life characters from Nova Scotia’s past who broke the law as well as the mold. Jack Randell, skipper of a Lunenburg-based rum-running schooner, sparked a diplomatic row in 1929 when he tried to outrun the United States Coast Guard. Henry More Smith was a nineteenth-century thief so brazen that he swiped law books from the office of a Halifax judge, then returned them to collect a reward. Samuel Herbert Dougal was a monster who preyed on women and likely murdered two of his wives while serving with the British Army in Halifax in the 1880s. And Irish-American terrorists hatched a fiendish plot to blow up a Royal Navy warship anchored in Halifax Harbour in 1883. Their target? Prince George of Wales, a midshipman on board who would one day ascend to the British throne as King George V.
Madness, Mayhem and Murder, the sequel to 2020’s bestselling Daring, Devious & Deadly, is a collection of sixteen more true tales of crime and justice. The stories are drawn from almost two centuries of Nova Scotia’s history, from the province’s first murder case in 1749 to its last execution in 1937. The cast includes pirates and privateers, terrorists, shadowy Confederate agents, and a motley crew of smugglers, thieves, killers, duel-fighting gentlemen and a few people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are stranger-than-fiction tales of crime and punishment, tragedy and redemption, and guilt and innocence, with a lot to say about the past – and the unending quest for justice.