Ever since a mysterious figure ripped his way through the East End of London in the late 1880s, writers and filmmakers have focused on the identity of the perpetrator. The mystery of Jack the Ripper still exudes a fascination to lovers of murder mysteries and horror stories, spawning more theories and possibilities than any other serial killer.
In this book, writer and movie director Bruce (Withnail and I) Robinson takes a very particular view on the subject. In this meticulously researched tome, he explores the idea that the identity of the mysterious Jack was a conspiracy created and prolonged by Freemasons, the Metropolitan Police, the British Government and a bevy of coroners, doctors and bent witnesses.
I bought the paperback version of this ages ago, but as it runs to more than 800 pages and has a font size that I’d need a microscope to read, I also bought the audio version. Narrated by Phil Fox, with an introduction by the author, this is a fascinating book that uses police and court reports, newspaper articles, letters and witness statements to back up the theory that Freemason Michael Maybrick was the man behind the murders, and how his letters to Commissioner Charles Warren taunted the pudding-headed policeman with clues that even a black cat in a coal cellar at night couldn’t have failed to follow.
Robinson’s style pulls no punches and he makes it very clear what he thinks of all these alleged conspirators, using language that would put a hardened navvy to shame. Though his theory is a complex one and demands that dozens, if not hundreds of individuals must have been involved in the conspiracy, it nevertheless sounds plausible, and explains why even now certain documents are still not available for public viewing.
A fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable book that puts the scribblings of Ripperologists everywhere firmly in the shade.
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