At the very beginning of this book, in the foreword, the esteemed author, Richard Whittington-Egan ponders where on earth is there left to go for the budding Ripper author, before resolving to claim that there has been a decided move away from works that try to identify the Whitechapel murderer. McLaughlin would add, almost instantly, that his book is aimed “...squarely at the serious student of the case”. This may very well be true, but the work McLaughlin produces within this excellent book can, and often does, stand up of its own accord.
London Correspondence: Jack The Ripper and The Irish Press
At the very beginning of Alan Sharp’s book, (pg11), he makes abundantly clear that; “Each writer has told the story his own way; some have told it well, others poorly”. Isn’t that the truth! Really, Sharp is readying us for the notion that his is not a conventional telling of the Jack the Ripper saga, he leaves that to others and names Sugden’s Complete History as one of the best. Alan Sharp instead looks at the Whitechapel murders from the point of view of the Irish population in 1888 - via her newspapers. Of course, Sharp also advises that his book tries to be as objective as possible, after all, this is the Irish question.
Sir John Williams, the `Uncle Jack` in the title of the book by Tony Williams and Humphrey Price (2005), was a highly respected Victorian doctor whose contribution to the cultural life of the country of his birth lay in his patronage of the National Library of Wales. His memory had been without blemish until now, when he is accused of being a serial murderer. Suspicion lies in the chance discovery by Tony Williams of a letter which he believed links his eminent ancestor to the unsolved Ripper murders. The note, handwritten by Dr Williams to a person called Morgan, explains that he could not meet him as arranged on 8 September 1888 because he would be attending a clinic in Whitechapel. This being the date on which Annie Chapman, the second Ripper victim, was murdered in Hanbury Street. Morgan, it turns out, was probably Dr Morgan Davies, a physician at the London Hospital in Whitechapel, whose graphic demonstration of how the Ripper victims died was memorably recorded by Dr Robert D`Onston Stephenson.
What do we have here? We have one of the latest in a long line of books in the Foul Deeds & Suspicious Deaths range by various authors of which Geoffrey Howse is but one. Despite the fairly hefty price tag for a paperback book such as this, the book is nevertheless packed full of stories of London’s ‘East End’. That is another point too. Howse ponders in his introduction as to where the East End begins and ends. So it is not surprising that Howse widens his net, and thus his historical remit, to cover parts of East London as well. So we end up getting stories about Hackney and Leyton that are not strictly in the East End as we know it, but they are often considered so by the less historically topographically minded public. So this is no bad thing as there have been some juicy and salacious stories in these outlying areas.
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