Saturday, July 23, 2005
3 New Jack Books
This week's mail brought three new Jack the Ripper-related books. They are:

Ritual in the Dark by Colin Wilson
The Jack the Ripper Suspects by Stan Russo
A Grim Almanac of Jack the Ripper's London 1870-1900 by Neil R. Storey

I read part of Ritual years ago but finally have my own copy. It's tough to find a copy that's in good shape. Colin is one of the original "Ripperologists" and it's his account of the case that you'll read in many true-crime accounts of famous murders. This book is a novelization of the case that cuts back and forth through time. Weird, but in a good way.

Russo's book is the best amalgamation of the suspects, since other compendiums have concentrated on more general aspects of the case rather than on just the suspects. What I like is that the author doesn't pull punches on whether the suspect is a viable one or not. If it appears to be bull, Russo says it. It is in an easy-to-read style and no entry is overlong. Perhaps some could have been longer or some researchers would like more information about their particular suspect available in here, but that's not Russo's agenda. Plus, one gets the impression that if Russo wrote all that he knew about each suspect the book would run to multiple volumes. Well worth tracking down.

Storey's "Almanac" is amazing, simply amazing. Chock full of period photographs and a day-by-day account of news items either directly or tangentially related to Jack for thirty years, this book provides ambience during one's search for a suspect or simply the pleasure of reading about daily life in Victorian England. I've always thought that (as I believe either de Quincey or Lamb said) one can learn more about a society from their crimes than their accomplishments. This book is one of a series of "Grim Almanacs" for various British cities, so if you're interested just check out this book and the others suggested on the Amazon page.

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posted by Lavaughn Towell @ 5:53 PM | 1 comments

At 11:06 AM, Blogger ET said...

If that is true (that "one can learn more about a society from their crimes than their accomplishments"), I would hate to see what future generations will learn from our society.


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