Friday 6 October 2017

Book Review: Jack the Ripper - The Works of Francis Thompson by Richard Patterson

Title: Jack the Ripper: The Works of Francis Thompson
Author: Richard Patterson
Publisher: Austin Macauley
Publication Date: 4 March 2017
Pages: 409
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/History/Crime
Source: Review Copy from Author

Francis Thompson in 1888. He was an ex-medical student with a dissecting scalpel, and a history of mental illness and trouble with the police. He had just broken up with a prostitute and had written about cutting women's stomachs open. At the same time, a few yards from his refuge, a woman was knifed, as part of a spate of prostitute murders, which one coroner said was by someone who had considerable anatomical skill and knowledge. Richard A. Patterson sets out a compelling case for English poet Francis Thompson as the prime suspect for Jack the Ripper in this must-read for Ripperologists the world over. (Goodreads Synopsis)

When the author approached me to review this title, the timing was interesting as I was in the process of writing a new story of my own that touches upon the Ripper murders. Therefore, with a bit of serendipity at play, I agreed to read this book. I have to say that Patterson's arguments in favour of Thompson as the Ripper are compelling--more so than some of the other names put forward over the years. The study is clearly well researched, and on the whole it was a gripping read. There were a few times when I wished Patterson would stop pressing home the same points again and again--I remembered them well enough from the last chapter--but that is a minor complaint. On the whole this is a work that will appeal to true-crime readers and Ripperologists. Was Thompson the Ripper? I guess the killer's identity will be hard to prove absolutely after the passing of so many years, but Patterson certainly makes an interesting case.

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