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The Curious Habits of Dr Adams: A 1950s Murder Mystery

Jane Robins

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, True crime, Prose: non-fiction, Crime & mystery

Perfect for fans of Kate Summerscale, this is the chilling true tale of Dr John Bodkin Adams, the family doctor suspected of murdering 160 of his patients in 1950s Eastbourne.

'Was rich Mrs Gertrude Hullett murdered at her luxurious 15-room home on Beachy Head? Detectives are tonight trying to establish the cause of the 50-year-old widow's sudden death...' - Daily Mail, 1957

In July 1957, the press descended in droves on the UK's idyllic coastal town of Eastbourne. An inquest had just been opened into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs Bobbie Hullett. She died after months of apparent barbiturate abuse - the drugs prescribed to calm her nerves by her close friend and physician, Dr John Bodkin Adams.

The inquest brought to the surface years of whispered suspicion that had swept through the tea rooms, shops and nursing homes of the town. The doctor's alarming influence over the lives, deaths and finances of wealthy widows had not gone unnoticed - it was rumoured that the family doctor had been on a killing spree that spanned decades and involved 300 suspicious cases. Superintendent Hannam of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate.

The Curious Habits of Dr Adams brilliantly brings to life the atmosphere of post-war England, and uses a wealth of new documents to follow the twists and turns of an extraordinary Scotland Yard murder enquiry. As expertly crafted as the best period detective novel, this book casts an entertainingly chilling light on a man reputed to be one of England's most prolific serial killers.

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Praise for The Curious Habits of Dr Adams: A 1950s Murder Mystery

  • Jane Robins has written an endlessly enjoyable book, which reads like an Agatha Christie. - Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

  • She tells the story with great brio, and a real feeling for the vanished social milieu in which Adams operated. - Lynn Barber, Sunday Times

  • The case against Adams as a serial killer is a classic of British crime, but Jane Robins takes nothing for granted. She re-examines the evidence, consults modern experts (some of whom worked on the enquiry into the activities of Dr Harold Shipman) and presents her own perturbing conclusions. On the basis of this book, would you have convicted the curiously-behaved Dr Adams? - Saga

  • Vividly characterised, wonderfully atmospheric and thoroughly riveting. - Daily Mail

  • This is a compelling, very well-written story. It will feed the British love of a good murder mystery. Robins gives her own verdict in the final chapter but her readers are the jury. - Scotsman

  • One to keep you alert on the beach. - Observer

  • A compelling account of a murder mystery. - Oldie

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