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The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper [Hardcover]

James Carnac
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 13.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Jan 2012

This memoir was recently discovered and appears to have been written in the 1920s by somone who asserts that he was Jack the Ripper.

This person is James Willoughby Carnac, this memoir written shortly before his death is an account of his entire life, including a few short months in 1888 when he became the murderer known to posterity as Jack the Ripper.

This book introduces a new suspect for the infamous murders in Whitechapel in 1888. There is information in this book that does not appear to be derived from contemporary newspapers or any other publications and the descriptions of Tottenham in the 1870s, the visits to performances of Jekyll and Hyde, the intricate geography of Whitechapel in 1888 are written with pin-point accuracy. There is also a credible motive given for James becoming the murderer Jack and also a reason for the end of the murders. Given the fact that the author also appear to have knowledge about aspects of the case not in the public arena at the time it could be that this actually is the autobiography of Jack the Ripper.

Ultimately it is up to the reader to decide if they believe the mystery has been solved at last but even if they end up deciding the account to be a work of fiction it would still be one of the very earliest imaginings of the Ripper case, written in the early years of the twentieth century, a fascinating piece of period writing and a worthy addition to the Ripper canon.

Whatever side they come down on there is no question that this book will be a source of much debate.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; First Edition edition (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593068203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593068205
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 500,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This is the autobiography of a man who claims that for a few short weeks when he was a young man he killed several women in Whitechapel. It is either a genuine confession by Jack the Ripper, or it's an extraordinary novel. Or it is something else, but what? Only you can decide" (Paul Begg)

"An account by someone who was there, was at least a witness to the scenes of the murders and was potentially the perpetrator of the Jack the Ripper murders... a text that will no doubt be debated for years to come" (Alan Hicken)

Book Description

In his own words - the confession of the world's most infamous killer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - but of course it's fiction 8 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A jolly good yarn, especially if you are fascinted by the Jack the Ripper story. It purports to be a diary found after someone's death (of course) and you are intended to think that this might - just might - be the genuine diary of Jack. But the more you read it the more you realise it is a (good) work of fiction (at least in my opinion). There's a weird sequence which seems like a drug induced dream, a couple of anomalies an a curious ending. You are left wondering though if it really was found as stated, and indeed who did write it....but I don't think it was Jack the Ripper's diary. Still a jolly good read though
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting 13 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enthralling read that had me hooked very early on. I am only half way through as I write this but am more than confident to recommend this book to anyone interested in the Whitechapel Murders. It is incredibly macarbre and unnerving at times as the author is not only justifying his actions but is quite flippant when discussing taking another life. Whether this is truly a manuscript written by Jack the Ripper or simply an authors take on the events it is still a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be one of the finds of the century! 16 Jan 2013
By Edwin56
What an incredible find! An unpublished manuscript from the 1920s unearthed nearly 100 years later. It must be one of the finds of the century, and even more baffling it was in the possession of S.G. Hulme Beaman before his death in the 30s. Hulme Beaman was the creator of the iconic puppet Larry the Lamb, who was a firm favourite of mine as a child, he was the first puppet ever to be heard on radio before being transferred to TV. It's amazing that Larry the Lamb should have a connection with Jack the Ripper. The manuscript was given to Hulme Beaman by James Carnac to get published on his death, but this act was never carried out, either Beaman didn't want to or he died before he could, either way it was never published until Alan Hicken who runs a TV Radio and Toy Museum in Somerset recently discovered it. The book itself is one of the first ever written on Jack the Ripper, whether it is the real autobiography or just a well written novel to me is immaterial, the history behind the book more than makes up for the uncertainty of it. A fascinatingly good read, no hesitation in giving this 5 stars on all different levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy It As fiction 7 Dec 2012
'The Autobiography Of Jack The Ripper' looks exactly like what it actually is - an inadequate attempt to replicate the sensational and credible revelations offered to readers within the unique and stimulating pages of 'The Diary of Jack the Ripper' (narrative by Shirley Harrison). Although The Autobiography's 'memoir' was written as late as the 1920's, the original author cannot be traced using the name 'James Willoughby Carnac,' despite his claimed relative affluence and personal association with the medical profession. The journal's birthdate looks real enough but the words offered amount to no more than an imaginary tale of Jack the Ripper's exploits, written by someone with a fondness for creative literature. As a work of truth-revelation the book looks contrived, lacks evidence and is somewhat undermined by a weak 'analysis' offered by Paul Begg that does absolutely nothing to establish the 'memoir's' story as being genuine. Despite these failings, however, the work remains quite readable, even vaguely enjoyable, but only as a tall story. It's not to be taken seriously as anyone's autobiography.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A strange read ... 8 Mar 2014
By Ramon
What I found interesting about this book was its sheer inconsistency. The fact that the third part (In particular the terrible moralistic postscript) is so obviously fake has the paradoxical effect of rendering the second part more credible. It is a though someone stumbled on a fragment of something truly disturbing and watered it down for public consumption. Of course James Carnac never really existed: the circumstances of his parents death and his own would be easily verifiable through court records. However, the way he describes his desires seems very much in accordance with modern serial-killers, and he tends to sideline large, easily accessible details in favour of small ones not generally known to the public. Moreover, the fact that the second part is so much better written and more vivid seems to suggest more than one author to the document. Of course it's a fake; how would a dead man be able to attach the record of his death into the manuscript and why would the 'solicitor' bother ? Whether it's 100 % fake is what renders it more mysterious and worthy of greater exploration ...
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1.0 out of 5 stars A NEW LOW IN RIPPEROLOGY 21 Jan 2014
For famed Ripperologist Paul Begg to have sullied his hands with this ridiculous and ludicrous purported "Autobiography of Jack the Ripper" is very sad. On the back cover Mr. Begg is quoted as saying: "It is either a genuine confession by Jack the Ripper, or it's an extraordinary novel...Only you can decide." Mr. Begg knows better: it is NOT a genuine confession and it is NOT an extraordinary novel. What it is is a hoax, pure tripe, an absolute insult to anyone with half-a-brain.

Here goes an encapsulation of how this mystery manuscript came to be: in 2007 a chap who runs a toy museum in England buys a bunch of memorabilia from the estate of one S.G. Beaman who created Toytown and Larry the Lamb back in the 1920's. Amongst the items he buys is an unpublished manuscript by one James Carnac who claims he was Jack the Ripper. Carnac supposedly left his manuscript to Beaman, you see, and now the toy store gent gets the mystery manuscript published and backed by one-who-should-know-better Begg and what do you know, folks, ca-ching! Mirth and merriment, most likely, all the way to the bank!

So I read the transcript and our Jolly Jack Carnac comes out with a most ridiculous tale of his chats with X, some executioner ancestor in skin-tight black clothes who shows Carnac a fully functioning torture chamber on some apparently ultra-dimensional plane of existence and gives him a bow at the scene of the murder of Long Liz - and this Carnac also hears The Voice - and he can bore us to tears with descriptions of X and mention long talks with him but offer us naught of what was actually said or discussed - same as when he recounts his time with last victim Mary Kelly - he can recall all of the minute details of the room but remembers zip of what she said.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious Jack the Ripper book!
Great book with a novel slant on the murders by Jack the Ripper. Is it an autobiography or a novel it leaves it for you to decide!
Published 27 days ago by A Little Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars unexpected ending
l love something different and this book is certainly that. Entertaining with a surprise twist in it's tail. Great read
Published 10 months ago by kolkliff
1.0 out of 5 stars Total Fake
This is a good read if you treat it as fiction, and it is just fiction. Although it's a very poorly researched piece of fiction. A wide range of information is readily available. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alisha Bookseller
3.0 out of 5 stars Ripper
Good read, but lots of doubts as to the authenticity. I wonder if it could ever be proven who he was in this day &age
Published 13 months ago by Janine
5.0 out of 5 stars The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper.
Book arrived on time and in good condition. Purchased as part of Christmas present for my elder sister and not read by myself. Cannot therefore review text of same.
Published 14 months ago by KEN ABBOTT
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as gift
As this was bought as a gift I did not read it myself - but the person who received it was very pleased with it.
Published 18 months ago by Sue Dennett
2.0 out of 5 stars A work of fiction nothing more nothing less.
It's difficult to really know where to start with this book. A supposed killer near the end of his days wanting the world to know who really did commit the "Whitechapel Murders" as... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Realitycheck
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