The Whitechapel Horrors

Edward B. Hanna, Author
Edward B. Hanna, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88184-861-8
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 395 pages - 978-0-7867-0019-6
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This remarkably fresh and inventive integration of Holmesian lore into classic Jack the Ripper mythology breathes new life into two overworked topics. Hanna makes Baker Street masterfully vibrant, and paints its two most famous residents in portraits that are simultaneously reverent and startling. Holmes's wit and humanity surface and his bouts of depression are curtailed even as he flounders on this most famous and seemingly unsolvable case. The bloody murders leave a trail that leads upward through London's elite until even royalty is no longer above suspicion. Holmes detects psychopathic hatreds beneath the surface of the letters daring him to find the killer, and stalks a disguised aristocrat through foggy London streets, finding the butts of custom-made cigarettes close to the lacerated bodies of lowly streetwalkers. Providing authenticity through footnotes and cross-references, Hanna fails only by applying overwrought phonetics to Holmes's crew of irregulars, the motley urchins who do his netherworld footwork; odd syntax and mangled vowels render their speech barely intelligible. For the most part, though, Hanna moves forward unerringly, closing his tale with a tight-fitting solution. (Oct.)
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