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A dry and rather disappointing retelling of a horrific series of murders
on 29 July 2012
I'd heard of the Ratcliffe Highway Murders through an episode of Whitechapel, but I didn't really know very much about them. This book charts the murders, the ramshackle police and magistrate investigation, and the effect such horrific murders had on the public psyche. The authors also have doubts that the man finally apprehended was guilty at all, or if he was, he certainly didn't act alone.
I found this book disappointing, all the more so if you consider it's written by such a famous crime writer. It was almost tedious in places, certainly not a page-turner. I also felt there were too many lengthy quotations from newspaper and magistrate reports, some several pages long. I didn't feel they lent anything to the book, but perhaps the authors felt there wasn't enough content otherwise.
It has been re-released recently, presumably to cash in on the vogue for Victorian crime since the success of 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher', although this is long before the Victorian era obviously, but it very much feels like something written almost forty years ago.