This is an excellent book. I love the history surrounding Jack the Ripper and if you do you will love this book too. Ms. Cornwell did an excellent job with her investigative work. I finished with the feeling that she had found out the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
One would have to be fascinated with both true crime and the nuances of forensic science to be interested in this one. Cornwell is good as usual, but the book itself is quite dry unless you are interested in the science behind going into catching Jack the Ripper once and for all. A story, it is not.
I commend Patricia Cornwell for the effort she put into this book, for the research she funded from her own pocket, and for the new forensic testing she performed on the Ripper letters. She wrote a very good book and for anyone who is fascinated by the enduring mystery that is Jack the Ripper, this is one more book to enjoy.
However, the book gave me the impression that Cornwell got the cart before the horse. Instead of looking at the facts objectively and formulating a conclusion, she started out with her conclusion (that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper) and ever so gently bent her research to support that conclusion. She made a lot of assumptions, and failed to take seriously the fact that Sickert was out of the country during the time of the Ripper murders. It is true that Sickert was involved, that he did write a lot of Ripper letters, and that he depicted the murders in his art, but those things alone do not make him the killer.
For a more factual and objective look at all things Ripper, including a list of the most popular suspects, I recommend Paul Begg's Jack the Ripper: The Facts. It reads like a history book but is just what it claims to be, a book of pretty dry and unbiased facts. Begg suspects that the killer is a man named Kosminski, but as always, it is up to the reader to decide for themselves.
In all, Cornwell's book is good. It makes you think. It paints an interesting portrait of possibilities. But it is also not quite the 'case closed' argument that it claims to be, in my opinion at least. It's still a great read, and for that I still recommend it.
Patricia Cornwall, author of the Dr. Kay Scarpetta novels has written her theory of the famous Jack the Ripper and she develops her case with her forensic background. Interesting reading, non-fiction.
I really like Patricia Cornwell books but to be honest, I read the first 50 pages of this book and just couldn't get interested in it.
One of Patricia's best! Never a dull moment!