I was surprised when this book arrived just how BIG it was (it shows my lack of knowledge when looking at the dimensions I suppose) so it wasn't quite what I was expecting but that is not to say that I was disappointed once I had read it. Indeed whilst it may not come up with a lot of new stuff that the dedicated Ripperologist would be finding here for the first time (and whilst no "expert" on the subject I would count myself as "well read" on the subject at least) it does provide an informative and engaging overview of the Ripper crimes and theories.
It's well written, takes in a number of different aspects of the case in an interesting manner and the author doesn't pull punches when discussing some of the more ludicrous theories. There's also a great sense of the atmosphere of Whitechapel and there are numerous illustrations and pictures throughout the book that give you a good perspective on all aspects of the case.
As for the "plausible" new suspect Jacob Levy...well it's no less plausible than numerous others where there is no real evidence one way or the other and the discussion of him in the book is very short in terms of the book as a whole. You could build a full case around him I'm sure but the same could be said of a number of other suspects. And as we all know, the mystery will never be truly solved. But such is the excellence and intelligence of the writing many readers will surely not be ready to completely dismiss Levy's chances, even if he would be someway down my own personal list of Ripper suspects.
All in all a great read for anyone looking for either an introduction to the Ripper mysteries or a top quality overview.
As a Ripperologist myself (and a Maybrickite) I approached reading this book with some caution. I must say however I found myself to be very pleasantly surprised. No Ripperologist can say with 100 percent certainty that their particular favourite suspect DEFINITELY was Jack and so, despite my belief he was James Maybrick I am still open for further ideas and enjoy reading of the other suspects. Bearing all this in mind, I can tell you that this book is an extremely interesting and well written book that I would recommend to both seasoned Ripperologists and newbies to the case. The text is punchy, easy to follow and the author (while not being arrogant) is prepared on occasion to 'put his head on the chopping block' when de-bunking (as he see's it) a particular ripper theory.
The identity of the new suspect the author names is (for once) someone that could quite plausably have been Jack (and if true would go a long way to explaining the puzzling reactions at the time of one of the few people likely to have actually seen the ripper). The discussions concerning overseas characters mentioned in connection to ships coming and going at the time of the murders were also of interest and overall I would thoroughly recommend this book. Excellent stuff!
on 29 June 2009
I saw a negative review of this book and was surprised. I am of the opinion that "respectable" doctor Thomas Barnardo was the Ripper but Paul Roland has made me think twice. His presentation of Jacob Levy, an insane butcher who lived in Whitechapel, is one of the strongest yet and he is one of the best suspects I have heard of so far.
The authors' coverage of the murders are well writen, as is the history of Whitechapel.
I would highly recomend this book. It is one of the best yet.
IGNORE THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS!
on 22 December 2011
This book is without any doubt a 'must have' that I would recommend to any beginning student of the ripper case. It is very enjoyable with lots of images and an overview of the murders, the victims, suspects etc. which makes it very motivating for any new student who doesn't like to read a book of 500 pages but is searching for the main facts and needs only an introduction that allows him to discuss about the case without making a fool of himself. Excellent book!