Four star: potentially my favourite true crime book of 2014; definitely will be on the short list.
John Bodkin Adams practised medicine in Eastbourne; he was particularly solicitous of old ladies. Many of them died under his care, often after he had prescribed for them huge amounts of morphine, heroin and barbiturates. Many left him money or possessions; he liked posh cars and he was particularly greedy and avaricious for 'mementoes' such as gold pencils that he picked up even while the patient was still alive. 42% of those died of 'cerebral thrombosis' according to his death certificates (three times the expected average of about 14%). Was he a mass murderer?
Jane Robins presents the evidence and charts the history of the police investigation, at the end of which we are left in little doubt that he was guilty. Then she describes the trial and new evidence comes to light. Was Adams killing for gain or was it euthanasia? Or was he simply trying to ease suffering without properly calculating that the effect of his treatment might be to shorten life?
This is a true crime as exciting as any whodunnit and the final result is in doubt until almost the very end.
Riveting. January 2014; 284 pages
- I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57