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Book Review

Book Cover

Jack the Ripper FAQ
All That's Left to Know About the Infamous Serial Killer


Author: Dave Thompson
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
ISBN: 978 1 4950 6308 4
Publication Date: 01 August 2017

Exactly who was Jack the Ripper, the infamous Victorian serial killer? Jack the Ripper FAQ explores the question in depth, with a thorough overview not only of the world's most notorious serial killer but also of the cultural impact that remains powerful today, more than 130 years after his murderous spree. The book details the myriad suspects who have been mentioned over the years and delves into every murder attributed to Jack the Ripper. Plus, it examines a number that may have been his work...

Jack the Ripper FAQ investigates the world in which the Ripper operated, with chapters discussing the factors that made it possible for him to act with such apparent impunity. Also covered are the policemen who attempted to capture him, the journalists who tried to uncover his motives, and the private investigators who raised theories that are still being discussed. Jack the Ripper FAQ surveys the hundreds of novels, films, operas, comic books, and other creative works inspired by or drawn from the mystery.

Given the fact that the identity of Jack the Ripper is still a mystery (despite several individuals over the years claiming they have proved who the killer is - they haven't btw and this book examines this subject too) and that the Internet is awash with detailed notes on the cases, why should you buy this book? True, there's nothing new here that you can't find by digging online, but what Dave Thompson has done is collected all the information together in one place and structured everything to give you insight into areas you might not have thought about before.

For example, it opens with a look at the economic and social backdrop that made up the district where The Ripper carried out his murderous spree. And as well as examining the key suspects (as you'd expect) it also looks at the key police involved in the investigations as well as how the press handled both the crimes and the police handling of the cases.

The book is well structured in such a fashion that it's hard to put down - you won't be skipping over chapters. Far from just looking at the victims and the area, it provides enough information on what it was like to live as a normal individual in the East End of London that it opens up your eyes to what the living and working conditions were like.

Overall it's an engaging read that will teach you a little something about what life was like and why The Ripper managed to so easily slip in and out without being caught. Even those who think they know the cases inside out will find much to entertain and inform them here.


Nick Smithson

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