“The Complete History Of Jack The Ripper” was a fascinating look at everything related to the horrific murders attributable to Jack the Ripper. Over one hundred years later, the legend of Jack the Ripper is still as perplexing as it was in the days when mutilated bodies kept turning up in the London area, Whitehall. I’ve always been intrigued by the facts surrounding what many claim is the first serial killer. What was so fascinating about this book was how the author looked at each murder from every possible angle. With less than stellar crime scene techniques, the discovery of every new body became another opportunity for the police to charge the “usual suspects”. This coupled with the low social standing of the female victims did not encourage anyone to conduct a more thorough investigation.
The author included surprisingly graphic descriptions of the victims’ wounds taken from the actual coroners’ documents. For some reason my book kept opening to the pages with the victims’ pictures, which were totally gruesome. One in particular was especially bloody and graphic. The background of each victim made each of them a real person, not just an unfortunate woman who crossed paths with Jack. I became sympathetic to each of these women as their personal struggles were described and it was revealed how they were stunted by the rigid social constructions of the time. Sugden’s constant criticisms of other Jack the Ripper books for the inaccuracies became a bit overdone and only served to demonstrate Sugden’s own ego. But, at the same time, his issues with other authors was very well documented, and was one of the things that made this book so credible. I came to really believe that Sugden’s research was accurate since it was packed with facts. So I was a bit surprised when I reached the end of the book to find that Sugden didn’t have any idea who Jack the Ripper really was! However, he offers a very unique view of serial killers and describes why Jack the Ripper doesn’t fit into those normal profiles.
Morbid curiosity is urging me to wander through London and see these gruesome sites for myself. I can’t believe I’m considering it! What will this book compel you to do??