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Who was Jack the Ripper ?

A question that's been asked hundreds of times with no know answer but a question which has been many theories attached to it.

The following is a list of recommended non-ficton and fictionalized books based on the crimes.

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims by Robert Hume

The aim of the book is look at the life's of the victims of Jack the Ripper instead of concentrating on their deaths, sadly this has been badly done.It is constantly let down by poor research by the author and amateurish mistakes. Examples of this being the photos included in the book ,he claims these to be the victims in life but there is no proof to this, another being he gives the wrong name for one of the witnesses in Chapter 1.

Sadly it brings nothing new to the historical murder case and sheds no new light on the victims.

The only positive thing I can say about this book was the cover.

And to be very trufuly this book is very like The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold which come out first.

The Reaper's Breath (The Ripper Legacies) by Robert Southworth

From Amazon Mary Kelly lies dead upon her bed... Her sorrowful eyes still hold captive, the agony of her fate. Anger, and fear walk side by side as the populace of London demand justice for the slain. Is it a single mad man or is there a bloody political game being played out in the grime filled streets of the old City? The authorities are powerless to stop the bloodletting and call for a new kind of law. William Harkness, former officer of the 66th Regiment of Foot will join the hunt. His task is not to bring an insane killer to court, his hands are not tied by the laws of the day.William Harkness is the killer of killers, the assassin of evil...

My review

Having an interest in reading Jack the Ripper books in fiction and nonfiction I decided to read The Reaper's Breath (The Ripper Legacies Book 1) by Robert Southworth This was my first time reading a book by this author and I have to say I have not been disappointed. Mr. Southworth has done an excellent job of betraying life in 19th century London. In the 'The Reaper's Breath' the author has taken some of the real life characters from the real life investigation into the Jack the Ripper case and them placed alongside fictional characters.To to create a interesting look at the murders committed by Jack the Ripper and the reasoning behind the killings.

For those of you who like me often read Jack the Ripper books,this one offers a refreshing look at the murders and the perpetrator. You find yourself at some points getting very emotional involved with the characters and yes dare I say very cross with the writer but I'm not one for giving away spoilers I'm afraid you will have to read the book toto find out why.

Who was Jack the Ripper?: All the Suspects Revealed Hardcover – 30 Aug 2019 by Members of H Division Crime Club

I would like to thank NetGalley, Pen & Sword and the author H Division Crime Club for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Who was Jack the Ripper? Is written by members of H Division Crime Club. These are a group of people who have each became experts on the murders and each have his or her own theory as to who committed the gruesome murders of 1888 by the man who become known to the world as Jack the Ripper.

In each chapter the authors present the reader with evidence and reasons why they think their suspect was Jack the Ripper. I did find this book well researched and interesting but having read alot on the subject of Jack the Ripper prior to reading this book and I don't think I learnt anything new. I think the book would make excellent introduction read to Jack the Ripper suspects,to newcomers to the subject.

No disrespect intended towards the authors.

Goulston Street: The Quest for Jack the Ripper Paperback – 19 Jan 2019 by Janis Wilson

Lady Sarah was forced to leave her aristocratic life when she married below her station. After her husband’s death, she is forced into making ends meet by renting out single beds on a nightly basis to prostitutes from her home in Goulston Street Whitechapel.When one of her boarders becomes a Ripper victim Lady Sarah is determined to track down the identity of the killer.

This is the author's first book and overall she has produced a well-written and succeeds successfully blending the historical events and the people involved in the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 with her own fictional characters and events of 1888. I enjoyed the storyline immensely, however my reading experience was slightly spoilt by there being very little space between the words making it appear they where running into each other. This might only be an error in the paperback version but does make for hard reading and really does take some of the pleasure out of reading the book.

It would be interesting to know if the error appears in the Kindle version and other copy's of the paperback.

If you can and are willing to over look the error then the book is well worth reading,hopefully future editions will address the inadequate spacing between each word.


Dr. H. H. Holmes and The Whitechapel Ripper by Dane Ladwig (Author), Bonnie Classen (Editor)

The book looks at the old a question who was Jack the Ripper.

The author proposes the theory that the American's first serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett a.k.a Dr. H.H Holmes was also the English serial killer Jack the Ripper. The book is well written,well researched, very informative and anyone interested in the two cases would find the book an interesting read .

But unfortunately the author does nothing to convince this reader that Dr H.H Holmes was Jack the Ripper. Sadly I don't believe that there is any solid evidence to the theory and what the author does offer in the way of evidence doesn't convince me that there is a strong case against him.

Homes killed for gain and profit .The Jack the Ripper murders offered nothing they were simply brutal slayings and the murderer took nothing but trophies for the crime scene.

This is only my opinion and I urge you to read the book for yourself as you may find yourself total disagreeing with me and think there is a case for Homes.

Knife's Tell by Daniel Dark

Most people know about the autumn of Terror in Victorian London 1888 where a killer who became know to the world as Jack the ripper killed five prostitutes in a gruesome manner. This book is a interesting fictional account in the months leading up to these murder.

Daniel Darks character is a pillar of society, a doctor, forensics expert and medical examiner to police but the reality is, he is a sick , twisted , controlling , drug addicted killer. I don't want to go into the storyline any more than I have already because this will spoil of discovering of the doctor's dastardly deeds for for yourself.

Dark has done a wonderful job of getting inside the mind of a killer as well reproducing Victorian London for its readers. A highly recommended read and in my opinion deserves it places amongst any Jack the ripper book collection.

A special edition of Chat with Authors

For this edition of Chat with Authors I asked two questions to Jack the ripper writers of fiction and and non-fiction 

1,How did you become interested in the case of Jack the Ripper?

2, Why did you choose to write about Jack the ripper?


Our first authors are all fiction writers

Matt Leyshon

1. Watching the Michael Caine show back in 1988 was definitely the main catalyst for me. I then saw a made for tv special, featuring Peter Ustinov where the identity of The Ripper was discussed. What followed was my first book regarding the case which was "The Bloody Truth" by Melvyn Harris. I was fascinated with the case ever since.

2. When I contemplated story ideas for my first novel I conceived the idea for Live and UnCuxt. I wrote a sample chapter to see if it felt right and that I could make a story of this. After reading the sample chapter back (the Eddowes murder), I felt that this was a story I wanted to tell. I also wanted to write a story that could be enjoyed by case experts, who long for accuracy when this case is represented in literature. After a week of commencing research for the book I was all in.


Steve Jessup

Ditto Matt on what started my interest in the case. I got the idea for my book: The Welshman In Whitechapel from reading about the Morriston connection to the female suspect in the book:The Hands Of A Woman. I lived opposite the Libanus Chapel where the suspect was married, and I lived just one street away from where her father, an industrial magnate, once lived. The idea formed and Rees Llewellyn was born, so to speak.


Robert Southworth

From a fiction writer's point of view it's pure gold. With so many unanswered questions, it lends itself to a number of possibilities. I like history that I can take off in unexpected directions.


Bernard Boley

I can't remember when I discovered Jack the Ripper, but it seems it's been way back. I can't say I was interested in the guy. It's when I began writing my novel, My Ripper Hunting Days' that it became serious. It all began as a dream I kept having for weeks. No! I wasn't dreaming about Jack the Ripper even less a JTR novel. In this repeating nocturnal fantasy I had, there was a man sitting in a bar. He was observing women around him, observing each one carefully, avoiding eye contact and writing down notes. A voice from somewhere else in the bar, probably coming from another table, was addressing him with these words: “I know what you're doing: stalking.” I couldn't get rid of this dream up until I told myself I should write down something about it. A novel was the avenue I decided upon. A story involving stalking? Not that exciting. How about a stalking-serial killer? Great. Now all I had to do is selecting among the hundreds of serial killers the one who would carry my nightmare. It turned out to be Tumblety. Of course, one can not simply use the Ripper in a novel without doing some research and having a plausible storyline. Otherwise, Ripperologists will sacrifice you to their gods. The more I looked into the case, the more I became fascinated by the suspect I used, Tumbley.


Doug Lamoreux

I write Horror and Mystery novels. The case of Jack the Ripper has, for 130 years, been the epitome of both - a frightening horror and an unsolvable mystery.


Darren Howell

I think I got into the whole JtR thing when we covered it briefly in a History lesson at school. If I remember right, I went straight to the library and got a book out to read some more on the subject. I found it fascinating that this one guy had run rings around the police for so long, plus the mystery and intrigue as to who he actually was. Then, years later, and having read pretty much every JtR book that I could, a bunch of us did one of the tours in Whitechapel, and as we were going round are started to think, 'If this happened today, with all the forensic and technological advances that the Victorians never had, they would catch him easily, right?' And my book just kinda grew from there...


 Joel Goldberg

In April, 1963 as a young boy I saw an episode of Twilight Zone called “The New Exhibit” about infamous killers in a wax museum who would literally come to life to murder people. One of them was Jack the Ripper, the others were Burke & Hare, Henri Landru, and Albert W Hicks. That is the first time I ever heard of that frightening moniker “Jack the Ripper”. One of my favorite days was April 2, 1986 when I took my first of several Ripper Walks.


Next we have writer's of non-fiction

Mike Covell

1. When I was eight my late father gave me a book on unexplained mysteries. Inside that were ghost stories, UFO cases, and unsolved crimes, one of which was Jack the Ripper.

2. I was diagnosed with a critical heart condition and told I was going to die, I was sitting on lots of research about Hull based suspects, scares, and letters, that had never been published, so started writing.


Review of the fictional book Jill Kindle Edition by N Joy

The author has added a hint of Sweeney Todd , Burke and Hare along side her main object the notorious killers Jack the ripper and Mary (Wheeler) Pearcy to created a wonderful piece of fiction.

These names will be familiar to a lot of readers and you won't be disappointed with what the author has achieved.

The book has a brilliant twist too, to two well known stories and the author has done a wonderful job of making of Mary Pearcy your narrator from the first page to the very last. At times the reader is left wondering whether to feel sorry for Mary or just to think of her as a purely evil woman ( But I'm not going to tell you why you will have to read the book to find out why for yourselves ).

If you thought you knew everything about Jack the Ripper then think again because Mary has a tale to tell you.

Highly recommended

The Cutbush Connections: In Flowers, Blood and the Ripper case Paperback – 17 Sep 2018 by Amanda Harvey Purse

The Cutbush Connections: In Flowers, Blood and the Ripper Case by Amanda Harvey Purse, is the third book in a series of works about the lives of police officer who played a part be it small or large in the Jack the Ripper case of 1888.

This time she looks at Charles Henry Cutbush who joined the Metropolitan Police in December 1867, and reached the rank of superintendent in just twelve years. The book tells the reader not just the of his life but that of his family to.

Amanda Harvey Purse has done an excellent job of providing the reader with an depth look into the genealogie of Charles Cutbush's background before giving the reader a look into his life from his birth to his tragic death. We also get to see how his name inadvertently will be forever connected to Jack the ripper.

Packed full and information and facts , with an enjoyable easy to read stlye of writing without the over use of complicated words. Amanda Harvey Purse makes reading a pleasure not chore.

As I have said on many occasions not every book is dyslexic friendly but Amanda has a perfect stlye. I also have to mention how much I enjoyed the the why she pauses during the book to ask questions that the reader can ponder over.

RECOMMENDED for people who enjoy Family history , social history

Jack the Ripper: One Hundred Years of Mystery Kindle Edition by Peter Underwood

When London Slumbers' – by R. T. Casson – Transcribed by Rob Clack

When London Slumbers is from is set during the Ripper era and was recently re-discovered by Robert Clack and republished by Secret Chamber Publishing. 

The novel was first published anonymously in 1903 in the The Red Letter and republished 1907 by The Preston Herald using the authors name R. T. Casson Putting to one side Robert Clack's comments about bad grammar , it is able to hold my attention I found to be quite a page turner.

What I found interesting was the way storyline branched off into several smaller storylines but still mented the main story I don't think it will be every one's cup of tea but if you do enjoy old style novels and are not picking of grammatical errors then I recommended you give this novel a read.

'The Cutbush Connections: In Flowers, Blood and the Ripper case 'by Amanda Harvey Purse

As we know ladies and gentlemen the lovely Amanda Havery Purse has just released her next book 'The Cutbush Connections: In Flowers, Blood and the Ripper case ' and I'm pleased to announce she has sent me this wonderful interview introducing us to the book

You have just published your third book in your ‘ lives of policemen that had some involvement in the Jack the Ripper case of 1888’ series.

Can you tell us why you decided to call this series of books that title?

It is a bit of a long title for a series isn’t it?

Well I suppose it is the unofficial title for the collection of books I have decided to write, but I had used that title in my ‘Research Update’ posts on social media before I had a title for my next books and I guess it just stuck.

You write a lot of ‘Research Update’ posts on social media, why is this?

I do realise I write books in perhaps a different way to what some people might be expecting. Instead of writing a generally excepted textbook, I suppose you could say I write research project books. Whereas, textbooks are the result of a research project the author has taken alone, the outcome of which is then told to the reader. My research project books are for the reader to feel that they are with me, every step of the way on the projects. Hopefully, the readers feel that we are learning the subject together, we are questioning the information together, that I am not telling them how it is but allowing them to find out for themselves. I often, even go as far as to describe the buildings we need to visit for the research to hopefully make the reader feel as they are there also, that they are walking through the doors themselves. I hope by doing this, the reader feels as if we are on a level par with one and other. The ‘Research Update’ posts are an extension to that. They have proven to be quite popular, going on the messages I get and I am glad most people are liking this style of writing as I do realise this might not be to everyone’s tastes.

Who would you say is your aimed audience?

Well, I hope that my books are accessible to all, no matter what background, what knowledge or what their reasoning for reading of this subject is. Ideally though, I hope to aim for the future generation, which is perhaps why I write in a open and down to earth way. My reasoning for this is because I have always believed that history is only kept alive if we continue to talk about it and if we don’t embrace future people into this subject, at some point there will be none of us left to resume the conversations. History will fade and so sadly, will the people within that history. The thought of that happening, upsets me gravely as I do get, shall we say, emotionally involved in the lives of the people I research.

However, I also believe for future generations to take on this task, we have to play fair with them. We shouldn't talk down to them, our first port of call should not be highlighting what we know or how much we know it. This is because, in reality, we are all in the same boat, we are all learning together, no body is better than anyone else and through our love for history, we should all come together to help each other out.

Why did you decide to title your latest book, The Cutbush Connections: In Flowers, In Blood and In the Ripper Case?

Generally, I hope the readers will think that the title means Charles Henry Cutbush’s connections to flowers (of which there are many), his connections to blood ties (his family) and his connections to the Jack the Ripper case. There will of course be much more to learn of Charles Henry Cutbush but I suppose they are the three main subtitles within his story.

You just said ‘generally’, is there another meaning to the title?

Not many people know this, but I will share this with you... In all of my book covers, except Jack and Old Jewry: The City of London Policemen who Hunted the Ripper, there is something personal to me in them... It maybe something small, it maybe something perhaps not instantly noticeable but there is something there. The reasons I did this were because: 1, I am naturally a cryptic person, I love codes and riddles and 2, I am not a secretive person, however, I don’t show myself off or share something personal about myself on a regular basis. So in my book covers I am doing something I don’t normally do, I am sharing a part of myself with the reader, almost as a thank you for wanting to read my words and share with me the projects we go on together. With this book however, the part of myself I am sharing is the word ‘Connections’. Yes you are meant to think that word means Charles Henry’s connections to things, but this word has a another meaning. It means my own connections to the Charles Henry Cutbush’s story, amazing as I do realise, that first sounds.

What do you mean by that?

I had always known of a few connections Charles Henry Cutbush's story has to my own life from the bits and pieces I had picked up along the way of my twenty five years of studying this case.

However, I could never have even dreamed of how many connections there actually was until after researching him. If anyone has been following my posts or know me, they would know that I got emotionally attached to Inspector Edmund John James Reid in my last book, Inspector Reid: The Real Ripper Street. I feel very strongly that this man should have a headstone, hence why the book is highlighting the need for the headstone, while also raising funds for it...

However, if you thought I got emotionally attached to that, it has nothing on this next book and this policeman... Sometimes, I felt very odd to be writing about events within his story because of these connections and in one or two occasions I felt as if I was in the twilight zone and couldn’t quite believe what I was writing. I believe a few people who know me very well, might be able to sense moments that may have an connection to myself. However, I don’t believe everyone will pick up on every connection and as this is not about myself, but about Charles Henry, I haven’t blatantly come out with the connections within book to myself. However saying that, I have also got to state, that the clues are most definitely there...

Is this the only reason, you decided to write a book on Charles Henry Cutbush?

Once again, like with Inspector Reid, I didn’t plan to write a book solely on Charles Henry Cutbush. He had popped briefly on my radar as I was writing another book, which hopefully I can return to now, but who knows how many more policemen will need an entire book on them!

However, it had always bothered me, that Charles Henry seemed, to me at least, to be mentioned for his suggested connections to a Jack the Ripper suspect or because of the questions surrounding his sudden and perhaps shocking death, however what about the man behind the suggestions and opinions? The man behind the career? The life before the death? Those questions pushed me on to complete a whole book on him, I hope I have done something to come close to answering those questions.

So with Jack and Old Jewry: The City of London Policemen who Hunted the Ripper being about the thirty or so policemen and doctors who attended the murder scene of Catherine Eddowes and of course, the life of Catherine Eddowes herself, Inspector Reid: The Real Ripper Street being about…Inspector Reid and The Cutbush Connections, being about Charles Henry Cutbush, who is next on your list?

If I stick to the original plan, which, I am hoping to, it should be very interesting. I have already been in contact with family members for the next book after The Cutbush Connections and can even trace a person’s family tree down to a twenty something year old, living in the UK.

This is a marvellous thing and just proves history is still very much alive, if we only know where to look.

The True History of Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten 1905 Ripper Novel by Guy Logan (Author), Jan Bondeson (Author)

When reading this book, you could be forgiven for thinking it a non fiction novel about the Ripper killings of London's East End in the autumn of 1888. Where's it is an actually fact a fiction novel written in 1905 by Guy Logan .

The main character is Mortemer Slade, who has escaped from a mental institution and is about to give the world infamous Jack the Ripper. For the crimes, he is about to commit he blames solely at the door of his ex-love Phyllis Penrose, a woman he torments before each murder. Another important character in the book is Edmund Blake, his adversary who will stop at nothing to expose his true identity and being him to justice.

Before the main story beings, there is an introduction to London journalist Guy Logan by Jan Bondeson, which makes for interesting reading.

In addition, included in the book are the original, The Illustrated Police News printings and the original pen and ink drawings, from the novel which is fascinating to look at. 

Recommendedto true crime, fiction, historical and history reads you won't be disappointed.

The Prostitute's Price: A Novel of Mary Jane Kelly, the Fifth Victim of Jack the Ripper (Jack the Ripper Victims Series Book 5) by Alan M. Clark (Author, Illustrator)

'THE PROSTITUTE'S PRICE' is the fifth book by Alan M Clark about the five known victims of the faceless killer known as Jack the Ripper.

All five books are works of historical fiction, and Alan makes no attempt to solve the Ripper murders.

Just like the previous books Alan does exemplary job of giving the victim in the this case Mary Jane Kelly a voice.

Of the five victims least is known about of the life of Mary Jane but this has not stopped Alan doing a excellent job of providing the reader a convincing story of Mary Janes life before her fatal meeting with Jack the Ripper.

The author makes the reader very aware that these women where more then fallen women and victims of a nameless killer they were wife's, daughter's , sister's and mother's.

I personally have enjoyed reading / listening to all five books in the victim series and would recommended all five to readers of historical fiction and to readers of true crime.

Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson – by Richard A. Patterson

Most readers will pick this book up expecting it to be just another Jack the Ripper book telling the usual story of poor fallen women murdered by a ghastly unseen hand and how incompetent the police of the day where . However Mr Patterson has created some thing quite unique he foces solely on his suspect Mr Francis Thompson leaving all details about the crimes and investigation out.  Instead he builds the reader a very detailed picture of Thompson's life and why he believes he was JTR . At no point do feel you that the Mr Patterson is forcing his views upon you, ultimately the decision as to Thompson's guilt is left to the reader to decide.

Amanda Havery Purse

The wonderful Amanda has graciously had a chat with me about her book 'Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales -  A Jack the Ripper Novel'

Was first published way back in 2013. It was my second published book, coming after Jack the Ripper's Many Faces, which was a whole different kettle of fish compared to Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales.

The main reason why I wanted to write something as dark and haunting as Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales was because I am a avid reader of Dickens and Poe, there are even a few haunting tales from Conan Doyle I have read in the past that have stayed with me too, but more than that, these stories have always made me question if I could write something like that. Could I write a gothic Victorian novel with dark undertones but at same time be a story that makes you want to know more about not only the Jack the Ripper crime but the big players within it? It was an experiment to myself really, I never imagined that other people would like it as much as they have. However, I am glad they do because it means that my characters that have sat in my head for a while are being shared, they are being enjoyed and that means a lot, it's just so touching to me.

I knew I wanted to write a story from the feelings of one the victims for a while. A daunting task, considering I will never meet them and I could get them all wrong but I wanted to express what I think when I think of them. To me, they were not a means to an end, they were not a thing for us to describe what was done to them. They were living, breathing people that must of had thoughts and feelings of there own. I hope in Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales, I do the victims proud in some strange way. 

My ideas for my stories comes to me in various forms. My brain has this way of remembering moments, of things I have heard, read and seen without me even knowing it has and then for some strange reason those things can pluck themselves into the front of my head while I'm writing. For example, in Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales I have Thomas Dunn waking up with colours and shapes in his eyes. A small, perhaps unimportant event in the story, but nevertheless that comes a moment when I was a toddler, I fell asleep with the sunlight coming through the windows and I woke with shapes and colours in my eyes. I remember wondering why my eyes were doing that and that memory stayed with me and decided to put itself in my story at that moment.

There are other memories I have used, such as there is an important moment when Thomas Dunn is in a small park looking at a statue of William Shakespeare. This place actually exists, it is behind Wood Street Police Station in London, when I visited it, an odd thought hit me that the statue looked like how i imagined the door knocker in The Christmas Carol to look like and that thought took off. 

As to the facts of the Jack the Ripper case mentioned within my stories, they are planned as far as I know I am ALWAYS going to put them in to my fictional stories but they are also not planned, because I never know when they will appear. For someone that is organised in her day to day life, I mean I have lists for lists, people! But when I write fictional stuff I never know what I am going to write when I sit down to write a chapter, it flows easily, it doesn't give me a headache and I very much enjoy writing it and for those reasons the stories can become very close to me.

One thing the reader probably doesn't know? Well, although Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales, is my second published novel it is actually my third written novel. I have not published my first ever novel on the Jack the Ripper case, it is completed and if you think Jack the Ripper's Many Faces, Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales or even The Strange case of Caroline Maxwell has factual elements within them, well all I can say is, you have not read anything yet! But I have one...huge... problem, at the moment it's the size of War and Peace!

The cover? I am very lucky indeed. I have an Sister in Law that is extremely talented in everything she does. She did the cover for Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales and The Strange case of Caroline Maxwell. I give her my story to read and she comes up with the cover, all I tell her is that I want something personal to me on it. There actually is on both of the covers, some small detail that just means something to me. Much like a certain running theme that I have inside both of books, it maybe a small thing, a small detail that probably won't mean anything to the reader or the story but means quite a lot to me.

It is something of myself that I have shared with the reader, (whether they know they are seeing or reading it) as a thank you for reading my words.

Thank you Amanda

If you haven't already I highly recommend you read Amanda book my review and can be found below along side a link where you can purchase the book.

Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales - A Jack the Ripper Novel Paperback – 23 Aug 2013 by Amanda Harvey Purse (Author)

Jack the Ripper in fiction

Amanda Harvey Purse what can I say amazing I loved this book could and not put it down. 

The story line jumps between the years 1888 and 1889 the place London your hosts for this intriguing murder mystery are Mary Kelly the fifth victim of Jack the Ripper victim and the other Thomas Dunn a writer and I'm not telling you any more because you really should read this book. There is so much I could tell but won't all you need to know is that Amanda has mixed alot facts relating to the Jack the Ripper case amongst fiction to create amazing story.

Definitely a five star read.

Why has this book not got more reviews on Amazon?