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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars


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on 18 August 2017
Colourful and clear introduction to the Whitechapel murders. It covers the context (East End life, police, politics) before dealing with the five classic murders attributed to Jack the Ripper - and some of the other killings linked to him. The book sells itself on the computer generated images of the crime scenes (no ghoulish bodies, just the buildings), which are atmospheric and interesting but should not distract from the quality of the main information, which is authoritative and carefully presented. Thankfully free of wacky theories about motive or suspects (these are deal with on a single page near the end) this book is as one of the best summaries of the case in years.
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on 13 May 2017
A fine addition to your Jack the Ripper collection.the text is clear and concise but the illustrations of the crime scenes are truly stunning.from someone who has over 30 books on the subject this is a highly recommended book.
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VINE VOICEon 13 February 2013
I was very impressed with this book and would rate it as one of the best books on the subject of Jack the Ripper. The book deals, in detail, with the crime committed by the elusive 'Jack' and also a couple of other possibly related murders taking place some time later to the Mary Jane Kelly incident. In addition to the murders, the book goes into great detail about the poverty of the area of the East End of London in 1888 and the working conditions and strikes which took place at that time, perfectly illustrating how difficult it was to make a living and survive the ever-changing, ever-expanding city.
But the text is only a small detail of this book. Throughout, the book is lavishly illustrated with engravings and photographs which, in some cases, are beautifully atmospheric and draw the reader even more into this dark period of history.
This book is highly recommended for Ripper enthusiasts, people interested in period history, or simply as a great book to include on a shelf or on a coffee table.
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on 12 April 2015
wonderful read
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on 6 November 2012
This is about as good an introduction to the Jack the Ripper case as you're ever going to see. Written by two of the foremost experts on the Whitechapel Murders, it is not only satisfyingly complete, but beautifully laid out.

This is not a "suspect" book. In fact it scrupulously steers clear of advancing any particular suspect, and I feel is all the better for that...What it actually comprises is an exceptionally clear account of not only the murders themselves and the investigations, but also a whole mass of pertinent and helpful background information to the area, the times, and their mores and customs.

With regard to presentation, to use an old cliche and say that it is lavishly illustrated, would in this case be something of an understatement...not only is there a positive wealth of photographic images, there is a whole collection of especially commissioned and highly atmospheric illustrations by Jaako Luukanen. The overall effect is...well...stunning.

Personally I'm always suspicious of five star reviews, but I award this book such an accolade without the slightest hesitation. I'd honestly suggest that if you only ever buy one book about the Whitechapel Murders, then make it this one...I'm pretty sure you won't regret it
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on 26 July 2014
Fantastic for beginners. Great visual reference for anyone I wish they'd been a book like this when I was just getting into the case over twenty years ago !! They's so much work done on the theories. So many reference materials on the facts. But nothing I have found with maps clearly showing the positions of key players and locations in the case as well as information like times and names etc Shown so graphically and clear Beautifully rendered cgi of locations helps take the reader see what some of the places would have looked like. I was really pleased with this book and it cleared up a lot for me about the geography . I really wish I'd read this book before visiting whitechapel for the first time last Week. I'd have substituted this book for my guide on the walk in a heartbeat !!! It' tells you enough about the victims and suspects to whet your appetite but this isn't a bad thing. It doesn't overload the readers mind with everything at once. They's lots of books to explore specifics further . Well worth the price.
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on 5 August 2015
“Here, life was lived – if living isn’t a misonmer for what was in truth no more than survival…” Begg and Bennett, Jack the Ripper CSI: Whitechapel

It seems wrong to describe a book on such a grim subject as beautiful, especially when there is some of the most horrifyingly brutal crime scene photographs contained within these pages. But, if truth be told, the 30 new CGI artworks of the East End of London, in 1888, are breathtakingly detailed and beautifully rendered. This is what truly sets apart Jack the Ripper CSI: Whitechapel from other books that simply detail the murders of several prostitutes that birthed a fear-provoking phenomenon.

The book is written by Paul Begg and John Bennett, both respected authorities on the Whitechapel murders with several articles to their name. Begg authored a recent documentary screened in the UK on Channel-5, which was one of the better looks (compared to many) at the ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders. Bennett is known for his tours, although I cannot comment on those as I haven’t attended one done by him.

CSI: Whitechapel attempts to re-create an accurate presentation of the East End London as it was during the infamous ‘Whitechapel Murders’. This is basically from the murder of Emma Smith to Mary Kelly, as well as later scares. In a sense, the book creates an eerie guided tour through the streets the miscreant murderer, dubbed Jack the Ripper, would have stalked. Along with the CGI illustrations, there are detailed bespoke maps, views of streets then and now, as well as cultural information and illustrations of a place, and time, where people actually wouldn’t venture, in tours, whereas they would the hot, dangerous, slums of British Imperial India.

The first chapter begins with a look at the East End distinctly as an individual place, and then by and large to London. The book has its main text, within a chapter, and then (often very detailed) side notes that discuss road layouts, the structural formation and rules of the lodging houses, while also explaining the emergence of a district through details on the matchstick girls’ strikes, et cetera.

From here the authors take a forensically solid, and historically factual, looks at the murders of Emma Smith; Martha Tabram; then the "canonical five" Mary Ann (Polly) Nicholas; Annie Chapam; Elizabeth Stride; Catherine Eddows; Mary Jane Kelly; to the latter scares, such as Alice McKenzie.

In addition, there are chapters at the reaction the murders caused, and the issues encountered by the police investigation, and then the overall search for Jack suspects. This is a succinct chapter, and includes most of the modern attempts to solve the mystery and suspects – serious and fanciful, including the ‘diary of’ James Maybrick, to Patricia Cornwell’s bizarre, self-funded ($6 million), investigation into the painter, Walter Sickert.

The text is factual and non-sensationalist. It’s not quite dissertation level, but there is a freshing and noted impartiality that many books on this subject lack. Anyone can read this, whatever your general level of expertise. As such, you get the facts, and observational analysis, which can sometimes require several books and copious note taking just to find out stringent facts about the yard Annie Chapman was found in, so all kudos to Begg and Bennett in giving this information clearly.

It is the illustrations that raise this book over others in a saturated genre. Begg and Bennett must have worked diligently with the artist, Jaakko Luukanen, to create such realistic and evocative scenes. The level of detail is quite remarkable, from cracks and moss in bricks, to the weather damaged posters littered on walls. Each murder is accompanied by a street map, which shows the site of the murder, and then places of interest (witness accounts, lodges of other victims) and so on. It’s an engrossing visual experience and one that will bring clarity, I think, to those interested.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t just recommend this book to people interested in the case; this book would interest people interested in police and social history, the East End, to general crime. On a side note, this book does contain the crime scene and morturay photographs (so it's not suitable to the very young).
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on 29 January 2013
This book is a must have. The CGI artwork is just... well.. breathtaking! In addition the book also contains many photographs. The text is well written and factual backed up with anecdotes from official documentaion, newspaper reports and comments from those involved in the investigations. Also included is trivia about life in and around Whitechapel at the time of the killings along with how the area has physically changed over time. All of this combined with the authors neutrality over the Ripper himself - they do not trumpet any candidate - concentrating instead on the victims and their lives and deaths make this a must have book for anyone interested in Victorian London as well as Jack.
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on 23 March 2014
I really enjoyed this book. As someone who is relatively new to the Ripper murders this was an excellent starting point. All incidents concisely described with plenty of background data on almost cep very page. For me one of the the best things about this book are the wonderful illustrations throughout the book that really makes whitechapel of 1888 come alive in all it's grimy gloomy glory. The only slight critism is that there are no people in any of the illustrations the impression given is that East London was deleted by night when this was far from the case. There were people around through the night.

Excellent book which I highly recommend.
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on 25 November 2012
It's the spelling errors and so forth that prevent me from awarding this very nicely-produced book five stars. There aren't a great many of them, but it is irritating when they do crop up, as the book, with its impressive CGI artwork, is otherwise a very welcome addition to the field.

The excellent CGI artwork almost transports the reader back to those dark and misty streets of gaslight, privation and vice. One really gets a sense of what it must have been like and also how such conditions were conducive to Jack's crazed killing spree.

This book would serve as a good general account of the Whitechapel murders for those new to them, and I thought the authors were right to highlight the attack on Annie Millwood - in my opinion quite possibly a precursor to the savagery that would unfold from August onwards that same year. There aren't many who point to this attack as evidence of Jack's first tentative foray into serial murder, but, as with the suggestion that magistrates' court records ought to be examined in an effort to discover Jack's formative offences (such as arson and cruelty to animals), I think that Millwood's assailant was quite possibly Jack the Ripper. Having said that, the Whitechapel killings is obviously not a clear-cut affair. For example, was it the case that, whilst Jack the Ripper was killing prostitutes, another future serial killer, Severin Klosowski (aka George Chapman), was residing at nearby Cable Street? Well, it does seem a little hard to believe that two sadistic killers were present in such a small locale (leading some to think that Chapman probably *was* the Ripper), but then we must also acknowledge that the Thames Torso murders were happening around the same time, and were probably unconnected to the Ripper's crimes. Thus, we should be wary about making confident assertions about the case.

So this book is, as I said, a welcome and novel addition to the field. Its CSI approach to the killings, the historical tidbits concerning pubs and the typography of the area, all serve to bring the reader closer to the crimes and to the period in general. It's just a pity that the work is slightly marred by the lack of proofreading.
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