Tag Archives: True Crime

The Ripper and the Royals

18 May

“The Ripper and the Roylals” by Melvin Fairclough is a fascinating look at the crimes of Jack the Ripper, with ‘evidence’ supplied by Walter Sickert’s son, Joseph.

If you have seen the movie “Murder by Decree” starring Christopher Plummer and James Mason, as well as the TV mini-series “Jack the Ripper” starring Michael Caine and Lewis Collins, then you pretty much know what this book is going to deliver.

The evidence delivered is interesting, compelling almost, but also completely impossible to prove. The evidence includes diaries purported to have been written by Freddie Abberline. As I said, impossible to prove. However, the case stated, whilst highly improbable, is by no means impossible.

For anyone who believes that level of conspiracy could not have been kept quiet, Fairclough makes the very valid point that several members of the Queen’s own family were committed to insane asylums with the news only coming out in the 1980s. I remember when that news broke.

The result is a book that is a genuinely interesting read. Well worth obtaining a copy. I would say it is almost a must read for those interested in the Ripper’s crimes, and the machinations of Victorian society.

Highly recommended.

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

10 Oct

“The Complete History of Jack the Ripper” by Philip Sugden was a frustrating book to read.

On one hand the book was a carefully researched and well written look at the murders, including possible suspects, witness reports, police reports, post mortem reports etc, making the book a fascinating read.

On the other hand, the author spent a lot of time bagging the work of other Ripperologists. I felt that it was detrimental to the book. To me it broke up the information flow and irritated me no end.

If you can ignore that aspect, then the book is a worthwhile read.

The Real Mary Kelly

7 Feb

Written by Wynne Weston-Davies, “The Real Mary Kelly” is the story of Elizabeth Weston-Davies, who was the real Mary Kelly. Even at the time of her murder police considered her name to be false but could not find the real woman. The real woman who was the final victim of the killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Wynne Weston-Davies, her great-nephew, sets out to bring his great-aunt to life. From her time as lady’s maid to the Marchioness of Londonderry, to an expensive brothel in Kensington, to an ill-advised marriage, to France, to the East End of London, and, finally, to her violent and gruesome death.

Wynne Weston-Davies has written and interesting and well-researched book that gives a degree on insight into the life of the woman that history knows as “Mary Kelly” and also to the man that we believes killed her and the other woman in those dreadful months of 1888.

Well worth a read. recommended.

Victorian Murders

17 Nov

“Victorian Murders” by Roy Harley Lewis is a book I outright did not like.

What should have been an interesting read on murders during the Victorian period was marred by the author’s judgemental attitude.

I began to have qualms when I came across the following in the preface: “Without minimising the effects of the wide spread terror created by the Whitechapel murders, at least the victims belonged to the very cesspit of society, ie they were pitiful creatures for whom death was a merciful release from a nightmare on earth.”

No, just no! That is not on. The book was written in the 1980s and such an attitude wasn’t acceptable even then.

By the time the author began banging on about people he considered guilty of murder, regardless of the fact that they had been found not guilty by the courts, I had had enough.

This is one book that I did not finish, and I cannot in all good conscience recommend.

Arsenic under the Elms

10 Oct

“Arsenic under the Elms” by Virginia A. McConnell is a look at New Haven, Connecticut in the Victorian period, via the lense of two similar, but unrelated, real murders, those of Mary Stannard in 1878 and Jennie Cramer in 1881.

The book was well researched, but I found the heavy emphasis on the trials just a little dull. This is just me, however, someone with a real interest in the justice system in the USA would no doubt find the book enthralling.

It was an interesting look into the time period, but I could not help but come away with one thought. Nothing much has changed. If you have money and position you can quite literally get away with murder in the USA.

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