Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten Victims

Paul Begg and John Bennett. Yale Univ., $35 (312p) ISBN 978-0-300-11720-2
After 125 years, and dozens of books about the notorious Ripper murders, it's a challenge to come up with a new angle, but experts Begg and Bennett, who previously collaborated on Jack the Ripper: CSI: Whitechapel, successful tread new ground in this thought-provoking book. They focus on women murdered around the time of the so-called Autumn of Terror of 1888 who are generally not considered to be actual Ripper victims. The authors note that most serial killers often begin with crimes lacking all the signature element of their patterns, and argue it's a mistake to exonerate Jack the Ripper off-hand, just because the mutilations differed. Refreshingly, they don't try to advance a new suspect, on the basis of evidence that could only be circumstantial. Instead, they do a convincing job of debunking myths, such as the existence of an extortionate street gang at the time called the High Rips. More importantly, they demonstrate that, whatever the Scotland Yarders of the day wrote, there is no definitive answer as to how many women the sadistic Whitechapel murderer slaughtered. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/17/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Open Ebook - 323 pages - 978-0-300-20707-1
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