Jack the Ripper: The American Connection: Includes the Diaries of James Maybrick

Shirley Harrison, Author
Shirley Harrison, Author John Blake $27.5 (426p) ISBN 978-1-85782-590-9
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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A decade ago, in The Diary of Jack the Ripper, Harrison identified Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick as the author of a confessional diary signed Jack the Ripper. Now she attempts to link the Ripper with earlier killings in the U.S., following the lead of R. Michael Gordon in The American Murders of Jack the Ripper (2003). The diary's authenticity has been the subject of heated debate, but Harrison does little here to persuade, failing to acknowledge that proof Maybrick wrote the diary is not tantamount to proof he was the Ripper. Harrison devotes pages to an astrologer's study, and merely states that Maybrick could have been in Texas in 1885 at the time of multiple slayings there. This claim is at odds with the diary's suggestion that its author had committed just one murder, in Manchester, before the 1888 autumn of terror in London. In addition, Harrison provides scant details on the unsolved Texas murders treated with more care in Steven Saylor's novel A Twist at the End (2000), and which will be the subject of a forthcoming nonfiction treatment, The Midnight Assassin, by Skip Hollandsworth. As psychologist David Canter concludes in his postscript,""The only thing that is certain is that the question of who exactly was Jack the Ripper will not go away.""
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