Summary

A silent, simmering killer terrorized New England in 1911. A heat wave unlike any that had come before killed people in the streets, caused others to drown in the waters where they sought relief, and drove still others to suicide. As more than 2,000 people died during the natural disaster, another silent killer began her own murderous spree. Amy Archer-Gilligan operated the Archer Home for Elderly People and Chronic Invalids in Windsor, Connecticut. What was thought to be a respectable business run by a pioneering woman was exposed as little more than a murder factory. Amy would be accused of murdering both her husbands and dozens (as many as 60) of her elderly patients with cocktails of lemonade and arsenic - all for money. She would be convicted and sentenced to hang, and her story would shock turn-of-the-century America and provide the inspiration for the Broadway sensation and classic film Arsenic and Old Lace. Acclaimed crime writer and New York Times best-selling author M. William Phelps has written the first book to tell the true story of greed and murder even more shocking than its fictional counterpart.
Readers will enter a kind of Twilight Zone where a Bible-thumping caretaker and entrepreneur of the nursing home industry became one of history's most evil female serial killers. With first-hand accounts from Amy's "inmates", riveting trial transcripts, and accounts from the investigative journalists who covered the case, Phelps puts readers face-to-face with a woman who was both a Black Widow and an Angel of Death. And Phelps paints a vivid, spine-chilling portrait of turn-of-the-century New England.
This is historical true crime at its best.
©2010 M. William Phelps (P)2015 M. William Phelps
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Douglas on 15-09-15

Not exactly Jack Olsen,

or even Gregg Olsen, but it is well researched and decently presented in a narrative style. Almost anyone familiar with true crime or serial killers has heard about this early 1900's case of the Christian boarding house killer, and it is nice to finally have a comprehensive book that tells the story.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Xtina on 16-03-15

Strays away from the main story much too often!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes and No. Being a true crime and investigative book fan, I was a little disappointed mainly because of the lack of detail of the events and the constant mention of the heat wave that occurred during this time. I feel the author goes on and on about the weather and strays away too frequently from the story. Although the story of Amy Archer Philips is interesting, I believe maybe because of the lack of information available or lack of research on the author's part caused the author to try to elongate the book by constantly mentioning the heat wave. Maybe this book should have been titled "The heat wave of 1912 and the first female serial killer." Obviously not a good title but you get my point. I would have enjoyed more information on the trial(s).

Has The Devil's Rooming House turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all.

Which scene was your favorite?

The events leading up to and including Amy's arrest and trial.

Did The Devil's Rooming House inspire you to do anything?

To write reviews on audible books I've read. I've been fairly satisfied with all my books on audible thus far until now.

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3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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