Curator’s Reviews! The Little Book of Jack the Ripper…
IN A NUTSHELL: The Whitechapel Society was formed twenty years ago to promote the study of the Ripper murders. Members meet bi-monthly and a dozen have contributed chapters to ‘The Little Book of Jack the Ripper”. The book focuses on the victims, suspects and the social and historic background of the case. (Hardback, it’s 189pgs long with B&W spot illustrations. RRP £9.99)
THE VERDICT:The mystery of Jack the Ripper is so enticing and enduring that it cuts through all ensuing eras. The 1980s was a particularly fertile decade for anyone captivated by the tale and movies, TV documentaries and bestselling paperbacks flooded the market, each with a solution more outlandish than the last: The Masons did it… Jack was a Royal Prince! A Hastings hairdresser and a half-human sewer beast also fell under suspicion…The genre quickly reached saturation point and outstayed its welcome much like Jedward imitating Aleksandr the meerkat at a funeral. Worse still, the subject was tarnished with a lack of credibility akin to the study of extra-terrestrial lifeforms.
25 years on, ‘The Little Book of Jack the Ripper’ is a VERY credible book. (Strictly no peculiar and zealous solutions herein!) Beautifully produced and designed it’s a good introduction to the subject, but also a supplement to existing texts, especially in its social and historic analysis. Chapter 9 “The East End – What was it REALLY like?” shuns popular misconception and presents actual data on London’s poverty. The findings will surprise you.
CRIME TIP THAT I LEARNED FROM THIS BOOK:This is a horrible and tragic account of insane violence against poor, vulnerable women. I believe that today Jack would be caught quite quickly. Stats indicate that the success of modern policing is pushing homicidal psychopaths away from protracted serial killings towards intense ‘sprees’.
FAVE QUOTE:“The next day, victim Catherine Eddowes went to visit her daughter in Bermondsey to try and cadge some money from her… Whether her mission was successful or not, she was found later that day in Aldgate High Street where she was imitating a fire engine and had drawn a large crowd.”