When I saw this book on Audible, I downloaded it for two main reasons – it was massive, and it was a subject I had a bit of interest in. I watch a lot of crime documentaries, how detectives catch murderers, how they operate, etc, and this fit the bill for the series’ I’ve been watching recently.
I did a small amount on Jack the Ripper in school during history lessons with Mr Bingham. A lot of what was on that A4 printed page I now know to be a little fabrication that has been added in the years since the Jack the Ripper murders, but it was an interesting lesson nonetheless.
In the years since that lesson, it appears that a LOT has been discovered about the Ripper, and yet, no one is any closer to discovering who the Ripper was. All the theories in the world can’t make up for a lack of evidence and speculation.
This book doesn’t try and convince the reader of who the Ripper was, why they did it, how they got away with it, instead choosing to put forward one theory, and then put forward all the most supported theories from numerous authors about who they think the Ripper is, why they did it, etc.
What I liked about this book, is that it gives a time line of events, from start to finish of the case, as well as discussing the evidence in detail, the corroborations and contradictions of the case, statements, events, people and places. It’s a truly interesting list that, as it went on, made me want to get stuck in and investigate it. I have a good mine for investigating, but, I can’t see anyone ever finding anything conclusive to say about who the Ripper could have been.
While there isn’t anything conclusive, it does seem to tell the reader everything they need to know about the case, and propose interesting theories about certain suspects – such as Dr Thomas Barnardo of Barnardo’s fame. There is no actual physical evidence that supports it, but as with all things, there is some speculation about motives and the ability to do it. I found this with many of the proposed suspects. While some stood out as likely in my mind, others stood out as highly unlikely, and as though the investigators had set out to find someone, no matter how vague the evidence was.
Some state that, while other authors do this, that and the other, I followed the evidence, then they go on to dismiss things that don’t fit their way of thinking. The good thing about it though, is that it doesn’t adamantly state ‘this is who the Ripper is’, it goes through all the main suspects and details the reasons why they would be the best candidate, with work from some of the authors who’ve investigated the case.
Kris Dyer does a great job narrating the unabridged audiobook, and it’s clear why he does narrating. His voice is clear and easy to listen to, and it took any effort out of listening to it.
If you have an interest of anything Jack the Ripper, crime or murderer related, I’d recommend this book/audiobook. Really interesting, and shows a great deal about the case, policing, politics, and what life was like in the East End at the time. Great stuff!
Below list of the suspects pulled from Wikipedia (so possibly not too accurate) if you fancy indulging yourself in the mystery.
Montague John Druitt, Seweryn Kłosowski, Aaron Kosminski, Michael Ostrog, John Pizer, James Thomas Sadler, Francis Tumblety, William Henry Bury, Thomas Neill Cream, Thomas Hayne Cutbush, Frederick Bailey Deeming, Carl Feigenbaum, Robert Donston Stephenson, Joseph Barnett, Lewis Carroll, David Cohen, William Withey Gull, George Hutchinson, James Kelly, Charles Allen Lechmere, Jacob Levy, James Maybrick, Alexander Pedachenko, Walter Sickert, Joseph Silver, James Kenneth Stephen, Francis Thompson, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Sir John Williams