Interpreting the Ripper Letters (Kindle)
Missed Clues and Reflections on Victorian Society
In the autumn of 1888, a series of grisly murders took place in Whitechapel in London’s East End, the Abyss, the Ghetto, the City of Eternal Night. The Whitechapel murderer, arguably the first of his kind, was never caught but the killings gave rise to the best known pen-name in criminal history – Jack the Ripper.
The Whitechapel killer was terrifyingly real but Jack was the creation of Fleet Street, the gallows humour of a newspaper hack whose sole aim in life was to sell newspapers. And where the ‘Dear Boss’ letter, with its ‘trade name’ signature led, thousands followed.
This book is not about the world’s first serial killer but about the sick, the perverted, the twisted souls who put pen to paper purporting to be the killer or suggested ever more lurid ways in which he could be caught. Innocent men were put in the frame by Victorian trouble-makers who would be perfectly at home with today’s Internet trolls, pointing cruel fingers in almost perfect anonymity.
The book takes the lid off Victorian mindsets, exposing a dark and unnatural place as topsy-turvy as that inhabited by the killer himself.
I did find this book to be extremely informative and well written and also very well researched. I think if you have any sort of interest in learning about Jack the Ripper, this is definitely a book you should read. Not only will you be more informed of more of the letters, but also learn more about the media in the Victorian era and just how difficult it was for the police to actually hunt down and catch Jack the Ripper. People would be writing letters saying who they think it is because someone acted slightly suspiciously, or people would be writing fake letters to their neighbours for a laugh but these letters would be handed into the police because of the threats they contain. The whole situation was incredible and the frenzy it caused all over the world to me was shocking as I just wasn’t expecting it to be so well known worldwide before the internet and social media. This book is very interesting and I do recommend it to anyone interested in Jack the Ripper.Laura Caldwell, Life and Tea, May 2019