Devil's Rooming House

The True Story Of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer

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By M. William Phelps
Price: $24.95 Pub Date: 04/01/2010 Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781599216010 Imprint: Lyons Press Trim: Pages: 320

A silent, simmering killer terrorized New England in 1911. As a record-setting heat wave took the lives of more than 2,000 people, another silent killer began her own murderous spree. That year a reporter for the Hartford Courant noticed a sharp rise in the number of obituaries for residents of a rooming house in Windsor, Connecticut, and began to suspect the reason: Amy Archer-Gilligan, who’d opened the Archer Home for Elderly People and Chronic Invalids four years earlier. Bible-thumping “Sister Amy” would be accused of murdering both of her husbands and up to sixty-six of her patients with cocktails of lemonade and arsenic. Her story would shock turn-of-the-century America and provide the inspiration for the Broadway sensation and classic film Arsenic and Old Lace.
With The Devil’s Rooming House, acclaimed crime writer M. William Phelps has written the first book about the life, times, and murders of America’s most prolific female serial killer. He recounts how a pioneering, pious caretaker and entrepreneur of the nursing home industry became an American original in the realm of evil: the first Black Widow and Angel of Death. With first-hand accounts from Amy’s “inmates,” riveting trial transcripts, and the shocking discoveries of the investigative journalists who covered the case, Phelps puts readers face-to-face with the matron of what the media billed a “Murder Factory.”
Historical crime at its best, The Devil’s Rooming  House is a true story of greed and murder even more shocking than its fictional counterpart. In telling this fascinating tale, Phelps also paints a vivid portrait of early twentieth-century New England.

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M. William Phelps