The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams

The Curious Habits of Doctor Adams
Jane Robins

Dr. John Bodkin Adams might not have been the worst serial killer in history, but he ranks among the most distasteful. A pink, blubbery eunuch spoiled by his mommy and puffed up with a grotesque sense of entitlement (he wasn’t even a good doctor), Adams enjoyed offing wealthy elderly widows and helping himself to a slice of their estate in the process. To top it all off he not only got away with it (with some help from the medical establishment of the day), but maintained a pious air of persecuted self-righteousness till his death. Set in the 1950s, but through a trick of English social geography seeming like 40 years earlier, it all makes for a fascinating if repellent psychological portrait, foreshadowing an even worse Dr. Adams, Harold Shipman, waiting in the wings.