Book Description

From Publishers Weekly When the unnamed killer who would become known as Jack the Ripper slit the throats of five prostitutes in London's East End in 1888, the first man to compile his observations and theories on the deaths was Sir Melville Macnaghten, the city's Assistant Chief Constable. This man's notes on the five crimes earned their victims the title of the 'Macnaghten Five' and provided the first log of the patterns of a killer whose murders would grow into a legend, spawning so many books, articles and studies, 'some to the point of farcical distraction,' that Odell doubted anything new could be added to the canon of Jack. Nevertheless, Odell condenses the vast tracts of Ripper literature into a clean, readable survey that critically summarizes commentary from sources both respected and absurd. Odell does not gloss over the anti-Semitism that colored early investigations, nor does she ignore grisly moments of the investigations-such as the postal delivery of what was believed to be a victim's kidney along with the famous 'from hell' note. She also provides a summary of rebuttals to crime novelist Patricia Cornwell's book that named painter Walter Sickert as the murderer. Odell's mastery of the competing paths of Ripperologists resists the sensationalism that runs rampant in crime writing, instead offering a level-headed reappraisal of explanations that Ripper fans and true-crime readers will enjoy.Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more About the Author Robin Odell has written or cowritten fifteen books in the fields of criminology and forensic science. He won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for The Murderers? Who?s Who. Read more