The Little Book of Jack the Ripper
by the Whitechapel Society
The History Press, 2015
More than a century after his heinous crimes, Jack the Ripper still demands an audience unparalleled by any other serial killer. The nature of the crimes, the identity of the murderer, and his ability to avoid detection all feed the interest of true-crime enthusiasts across the globe. Volumes upon volumes have been published, detailing each crime, examining each suspect. The latest offering from the Whitechapel Society is another entry into the large bibliography related to Jack the Ripper.
More than ten members of the Whitechapel Society contribute to The Little Book of Jack the Ripper, with five chapters dedicated to the victims and another two chapters focused on the suspects. Much of this information has been available in other publications, though recent research has contributed some new information. There is no mention of James Carnac, the supposed author of the 2013 The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper, though other fairly recent suspects are included among the names.
One of the most interesting chapters in The Little Book of Jack the Ripper deals with the letters sent to the police and the press. Some of those letters were purportedly sent by the killer himself, though the veracity of their claims is dubious. Others were sent by well-meaning individuals, such as “A Country Doctor” who suggested the police round up “all cases of ‘homicidal mania’ which may have been discharged as ‘cured’ from metropolitan asylums.” Some of the writers, though well-intentioned, were downright unintelligent. One woman opined that the killer “may be a large animal of the Ape species belonging to some wild beast show.” Certainly entertaining to us today, but the original recipients of such letters must have been frustrated at the time wasted reading them.
The quality and organization of The Little Book of Jack the Ripper makes it a worthy addition to any true-crime or Ripper collection. The Whitechapel Society has done an excellent job with this publication.
Serial killers are a fascinating study, especially those who eluded capture. Jack The Ripper is one of the most notorious serial killers in history, and Judas Priest used him as the inspiration for “The Ripper” from 1976’s Sad Wings of Destiny.
Jack the Ripper’s Streets of Terror
by Rupert Matthews
Arcturus Publishing, 2013
It is difficult to imagine living in 1888 when a brutal killer stalked strangers in the streets of London, waiting to pounce on his next unsuspecting victim. Author Rupert Matthews attempts to capture the atmosphere of the Londoners in Jack the Ripper’s Streets of Terror by exploring news reports and police records. Illustrations feature prominently throughout the book, including mortuary photographs of victims.
Of the more than 200 pages, author Rupert Matthews devotes just over ten to possible suspects in the unsolved killings. The focus of this particular book is not on solving the case, but on examining the environment of London at the time, the evidence collected and the rumors that circulated among people of the time. It is a fascinating book on a fascinating topic, morbid as it may be.
Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of
by Harold Schechter
Ballantine Books, 2012
Horror movies grab audiences, taking them inside the mind of fictional psychotic killers like Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees. Horror movies are fun to watch, knowing that what is occurring on the screen is only make-believe. When life imitates or surpasses art, however, the public is shocked and disgusted. Author Harold Schechter’s Psycho USA presents a number of brutal murders that have been all but forgotten with the passage of time. You won’t read about Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer here; rather, the author transports us back to the 18th century and William Beadle’s familicide for the first of a series of horrendous crimes, finally stopping in 1961 with Julian Harvey’s mass murder of his yacht passengers.
The accounts are chilling, recounting bloody details of the atrocities as well as both confessions and denials by the perpetrators. This is not a book for weak-stomached readers.
(Not Safe For Wussies)
“The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon” by Richard Gale. Make sure you click the little HD thingy and full-screen this one. You need to see it in all its glory.