Sunday, 1 May 2016

The True Face Of Jack The Ripper.

What a bold assertion to make and yet that is what the author Melvin Harris has done. You have to applaud his certainty. Off course in the history of literature regarding the Whitechapel murders in London 1888 there is a lot of certainty about regarding each persons theory on who that monster was if not a lot of evidence to back those theories up. Mostly I get the impression that each subject for certainty just "feels" right. Melvin Harris choice feels right. His suspect is everything we could imagine The Ripper to be. He ticks all the boxes for disordered Victoriana we could wish to find in a Jack Suspect. The very definition of the decadent aristocrat.
             Given this it is astonishing that so much of the book is told from the view point of a that dreadful man's business partner. A woman who got to hear and see a side to this man which lead her to believe she was working next to a man who could possibly be the terror of whitechapel. Although I suspect there were many women in this period not only working in the vicinity of that district in London but through out the United Kingdom who suspected many terrible things about the men they were working with. Such were the state of expected social conventions between men and women in the Victorian Era that it was quite possible for a woman to feel threatened a relative cultural norm. I am probably sounding a bit weedy here projecting judgement from a more enlightened era(and even that could be argued.But not by me.Not right now.In this review.) but the case she builds and the descriptions of this shadowy personality paint a peculiar portrait.
            It is a very well written book with enough details to set it apart from so much other literature on the subject. There is a wealth of information contained within that made it a very interesting read and a thought exercise on the anatomy of an organic city; the heaving bitch that was Victorian London.I am left with the impression that the actual title for this book should  have been A Face For Jack The Ripper. It is a face that fits for beneath it seems to lurk a terrifying blankness.
              The real face of a fiend.