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The Devil's Rooming House

The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer
Narrated by: Eddie Frierson
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Douglas
  • Douglas
  • 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.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-11-18

Amazing

This was an amazing book to listen e narrator was intriguing and made it hard to stop listening.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Fairchild
  • 14-07-18

REALLY PREVIOUS REVIEWERS??

I kept putting off this book because all I read about in the reviews was "it's mostly about the heatwave. blah, blah, blah."! Totally not true. The heatwave was only in 1/4 of the book and it set up the book really well. Without out it would have been rather blah. Plus I learned about something that I had never knew about. IGNORE THE REVIEWS THAT COMPLAIN THAT ITS ALL ABOUT THE HEATWAVE!!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chandelle
  • 12-10-16

Narration

I didn't particularly care for the narration but the story is great. A couple of production issues with sections read twice.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Xtina
  • Xtina
  • 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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eddie38
  • 09-09-15

FASCINATING!

Okay, I would agree with some of the other reviews that this story was repetitive at times ... but when you kill 54 people (might be that many) the psychosis of the main character can seem to be repetitive. I thought that the extremely hot weather that set up the story was very interesting ... if not completely necessary to the narrative. And speaking of --- I felt the narration was fantastic. At times it was like listening to a documentary, complete with the "talking heads" being interviewed. While perhaps not the most amazing true crime book ever written ... I was gripped by the story and the characters and will try to search out more from this team if they ever work together on another of Mr. Phelps' books. I thought the reader's performance was right on point for the subject matter and the different character voices really added to the narrative.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-03-20

Reasonable

The story is interesting. The narration is a little off, with the voices sounded like cartoon characters, and talking in halting sentences. The rest is fine, though.

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Profile Image for Sondra Woolf
  • Sondra Woolf
  • 06-01-20

Too much side info

I liked the story of the Archer house and Amy.. but there were way too many side stories that had little to do with the actual story.. almost a whole chapter talking about the heat wave .. ect.. it would’ve been so much better if it was just focused on Amy and her deeds

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Marcia Hayes
  • Marcia Hayes
  • 14-04-15

Don't waste your money

The book was all over the place very dull and hard to follow do to jumping all over the place and getting involved in different characters lives. The voice is the reader used were absolutely awful.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Clifford
  • Clifford
  • 10-03-15

Interesting story

Great story, but not incredibly well-written. Somewhat repetitive--caught myself wondering on several occasions if I had repeated a passage. And I've never heard of dictionary.com being cited as a source in a serious piece of non-fiction. Also, I listen at 1.5x speed, but the narrator really overdid the direct quotes. I can go a long time before I'll need to hear a man doing so many little old lady voices.

2 people found this helpful