Anyone interested in "Jack the Ripper" will surely find this book to be of interest. As a matter of fact, I found it more interesting than any of the previous books I have read about this most famous of all murderers. Each of those books had a story to tell and something to prove, but, although convincing, they didn't necessarily tell the whole story or perhaps even the real story. This book takes a different tack, it simply takes you back to the streets of the Whitechapel District of London in the 1880's and lets you walk with and listen to those who lived there, many of whom were prostitutes living on the streets in fear for their lives.
You will also get to meet and follow the police as they examine the evidence, strive to dampen panic and suppress riots, and struggle to find the killer. In the process you'll likely discover that the police weren't as incompetent and inept as we have been led to believe. On the contrary, you will see that they were up against an almost impossible task - finding an illusive butcher who struck in the dead of night; a man whose ghastly work was made easier for him, and the police's work much more difficult, by the simple fact that his victims willingly led him to the dark and secluded alleyways and darkened yards where he butchered them. You will also find that the problems of the police were compounded by the fact that this all took place in a part of London where, due to the numerous slaughter houses and butcher shops resident in the area, the sight of bloody hands and bloody clothes on the streets was an everyday and every night occurrence.
I approached this book having already read three earlier books about "Jack" each purporting to identify the real villain. And, I must say, until I read each succeeding book, I was firmly convinced that the previous man must surely have been the killer. I finally concluded that only two separate and completely unrelated men were the lone killer (although my favorite of the two has presumably been discredited by the "experts"). Of course, that was a somewhat unsatisfactory result. But with so many potential villains floating around, I naturally found this book to be of particular interest. Would any of these killers, I wondered, hold up under closer, and less biased, scrutiny?
Oddly enough, none of my suspects were even mentioned in this book, and, stranger still, much of the evidence which pointed in their directions appears to have had little or no significance to the case. For example: poisoned grapes - none were found; royal coaches - none were mentioned by any witnesses; "doctor's" black bag - the bag was owned by a man who was hurrying home and just happened to be passing the murder scene (he later identified himself to the police); coins and/or body parts arranged in some ritual fashion - coins were found at one murder scene, but neither coins nor body parts were arranged in any particular way, etc.
So, if you are a Jack the Ripper addict, this book might change your mind on a thing or two, and, if you have a pet Ripper suspect, it may disillusion you a bit. But, if you don't know much about the case, it will surely whet your appetite to know more, and it's as close as you're likely to get to the real story of the Whitechapel murders. As for me, I'm sticking with my suspect until someone can convince me otherwise.