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HerlockSholmes

Jack the Ripper & the Whitechapel Murders

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Yup we will never know his motive until time machine is invented.

 

I still like to think that he is a psychopath though, and killing for the sake of killing, not hatred at specific group. The type of victims were chosen because they are easier target to approach and more difficult to investigate for reasons I mentioned earlier. He was just a psychopath, just like Culverton who enjoys it.

 

Or, I am wondering though, why he started and stopped in such a short period of time. (On assumptions there

are only couple of his real victims) Did he die?

It's hard to believe someone who was bloodthirsty, regardless of motive, would stop after very active period, unless he was dead, which could be a clue.

Or, he was revenging/targeting someone specific who happened to be female prostitute and then killed more to cover up his track. Not a full psychopath but cold-blooded scorned person. The case would shift from the victim's identity and backstory into theory about the group in general, it became broad and not personal and would be much harder to nab the suspect once they were misled by the wrong murder motive.

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Or, I am wondering though, why he started and stopped in such a short period of time. (On assumptions there

are only couple of his real victims) Did he die?

It's hard to believe someone who was bloodthirsty, regardless of motive, would stop after very active period, unless he was dead, which could be a clue.

I was watching a documentary on H. H. Holmes which presented evidence suggesting that Jack and HHH might have been the same person. So if true, it wasn't that he stopped, he just moved on to different territory. (And he did die, he was executed for murder.)

 

I doubt the validity of the theory, but it's something to think about.

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H.H.Holmes was an American, wasn't he? Although it doesn't mean that he couldn't be Jack. He was a psychopath who murdered for fun too with his Murder Castle, the one that inspired Culverton.

 

However, I think they have fundamental difference in their ways of killing. Holmes (Holmes!) was basically torturing his victims in various ways possible, I don't remember a lot of mutilations though, while Jack probably didn't allow a lot of time to enjoy his victim's suffering. 

 

I think the 'enjoyment' of murders is what define serial killers to do what they do, so most probably this difference would make it a stretch for Holmes to be Jack.

And was he ever been to London? And the timing didn't seem to fit as well. But he definitely a legendary serial killer as well, not in good way, never in good way of course.

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I forget the evidence they presented for the theory, or I'd answer your questions. Maybe I'll watch it again, if I can still find it. What they said made sense, but I nevertheless think it unlikely and wouldn't give credence to it. Personally I'd have to see something undeniably convincing.

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Yup we will never know his motive until time machine is invented.

 

I still like to think that he is a psychopath though, and killing for the sake of killing, not hatred at specific group. The type of victims were chosen because they are easier target to approach and more difficult to investigate for reasons I mentioned earlier. He was just a psychopath, just like Culverton who enjoys it.

 

Or, I am wondering though, why he started and stopped in such a short period of time. (On assumptions there

are only couple of his real victims) Did he die?

It's hard to believe someone who was bloodthirsty, regardless of motive, would stop after very active period, unless he was dead, which could be a clue.

Or, he was revenging/targeting someone specific who happened to be female prostitute and then killed more to cover up his track. Not a full psychopath but cold-blooded scorned person. The case would shift from the victim's identity and backstory into theory about the group in general, it became broad and not personal and would be much harder to nab the suspect once they were misled by the wrong murder motive.

Hi Van B

It’s perhaps more likely that he targeted prostitutes for ‘convenience’ rather than out of any specific hatred (although it’s a possibility.) Unfortunately they were ideal targets. Often drunk, usually pretty desperate, and in many cases not in the best of general health. Also, the occasional beating went with the territory so they probably had pretty low danger thresholds. They then proceeded to take their client to a dark, secluded spot (not on a policeman’s beat.)

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I’ve been watching the HH Holmes series and I have to admit to finding it a little annoying. They certainly ramp up the drama at the expense of facts and even common sense. For eg.

 

When the experts pointed out the ‘americanisms’ in the Dear Boss letter the hosts look at each other as if its a revelation. We’ve always known that the phrase came from the States. But....they don’t mention the fact that most ripper experts think that the letter is a hoax. Even senior police officers at the time suspected the hand of a journalist. He was even named.

 

The got pretty excited when they found some of Holmes aliases in ships manifests travelling to the uk. As if it proved anything. It would have been more amazing if those names weren’t there.

 

What did they expect to find, if they had been allowed to dig under the post office lot, thatcould have linked Holmes to the ripper murders? A cape and a Gladstone bag perhaps

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What series is that, Herlock?

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What series is that, Herlock?

It’s called American Ripper In London.

 

https://youtu.be/vt8Xd9b9uU4

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Oh, thanks! I think the one I watched was just called "H. H. Holmes". It was about an hour long, and the Ripper theory was only a small portion. I didn't know there was a whole miniseries on the subject! From the sound of it though, it's not worth watching.

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I've always felt that Jack the Ripper has been overplayed, given too much focus. Same with Lizzie Borden. You'd think they were the only two murderers in history. There are so many others I find much more interesting. Belle Gunness comes to mind. It is believed she might have killed upwards of 40 people. The Wikipedia page on her is a fascinating read.

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The new series on The History Channel called Zodiac: Case Closed is worth watching. I’ve seen 3 episodes so far. Much better than the HH Holmes ripper one.

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View Halloa to Herlock Sholmes & any other Ripper scholars out there.  Blowing the dust off your thread, Herl, and I had to dig a bit to find it!

I just wanted to tell you that I have started a new Ripper novel which I am enjoying immensely so far.  I read a particularly grisly chapter last night right before lights out, and I reflected that perhaps that was not the wisest thing to do . . but it didn't keep me up.  I must be jaded!

I know you said before that you generally don't read Ripper fiction, because there's too much of it but perhaps you would consider making exception for I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter.  My experience with Ripper fiction is admittedly small, but Mr. Hunter has crafted a unique take on the subject.  As the title makes clear, large chunks of this book purport to be from the Ripper's diary, as he gives us first-person narrative into his mind and methods.  Interspersed with these chapters are ones narrated by 'Jeb', the young and hungry reporter for the new London rag, The Star, who feels that the Ripper case is going to make his journalistic reputation.  And I have also encountered a brief and touching interlude written as a letter by a young Irish woman to her Mam back home saying she knows she's a sore disappointment to her parents with her choice of lifestyle, but she's just got to have that demon gin, regardless of what she has to do to obtain it, and she loves everyone.  It's signed 'Mairsian', which has to be Mary Kelly.  That's as far as I've gotten.

Mr. Hunter is the retired book critic for The Washington Post and has 20 books altogether, which seem like contemporary spy thrillers.  Though his handicap as an American pops up now and again . .(thanks to you, my radar is finely attuned to incidences of 'Sidewalks' for 'Pavements', and Hunter does not avoid this trap--though his use of 'trousers' is impeccable).  Since he had a raftload of British friends helping out with this project, I'm surprised they let that slide.  But, if I can make an apologia for my countrymen who make this goof--no doubt I would have made the same myself prior to meeting you here!--can you really claim with absolute certainty that every street in Whitechapel in the late 19th century actually had *pavement*?  Seems like a bit of luxury for a slum where every baser function of the human body was exercised in the open.  Mayfair it was not.)  If Whitechapel boasted paved and maintained pedestrian walkways adjacent to the road proper, then I will shut my yap forevermore about Yanks using 'sidewalks' not being such a grievous error.

Just remember, if you ever fancy writing a book or a screenplay to be set in the States . . .we walk on the sidewalk, we wear pants, we drink in the bar and we never say 'take the p!ss'.  :)

Hunter praised the Casebook.org site and said he spent a lot of time there while writing his book.  I thought you might want to take a look.

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Hello Hikari,

It sounds interesting and I’ve definitely learned to trust your reviews👍

I dont have any objections to Ripper fiction at all its just that I tend to avoid them purely on financial grounds. It’s another avenue that would encourage me to part with my cash. It’s why I don’t buy all new Ripper books as I did when I was younger (most of them are just pointless re-telling with nothing new to add.) There are a few excellent overviews of the case to be recommended. We don’t need anymore but they keep flooding out.

ill add your recommendation to my list of ‘to get’ books👍

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1 minute ago, HerlockSholmes said:

Hello Hikari,

It sounds interesting and I’ve definitely learned to trust your reviews👍

I dont have any objections to Ripper fiction at all its just that I tend to avoid them purely on financial grounds. It’s another avenue that would encourage me to part with my cash. It’s why I don’t buy all new Ripper books as I did when I was younger (most of them are just pointless re-telling with nothing new to add.) There are a few excellent overviews of the case to be recommended. We don’t need anymore but they keep flooding out.

ill add your recommendation to my list of ‘to get’ books👍

Scratch that last sentence!

Ive just ordered an ex-library copy from eBay for £2.81 free p+p. This is coming from within the UK so we can be sure it isn’t one that’s been stolen from your library👍

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54 minutes ago, HerlockSholmes said:

Scratch that last sentence!

Ive just ordered an ex-library copy from eBay for £2.81 free p+p. This is coming from within the UK so we can be sure it isn’t one that’s been stolen from your library👍

Haha!

If it gets there fast enough, we may be reading this book at the same time.  Sychronicity, eh!

FYI, an ex-library copy for sale online is most likely not stolen.  Periodically libraries have to cull their existing collections to make room for new items.  (A process called 'Weeding'.)  The better weeded items go on our For Sale shelf in the library, where patrons can purchase them for anywhere from 25 cents to $5.00.  Some of the falling apart stuff we have to throw away.  This used to grieve my soul, being a book lover--throwing away books!!--but I've gotten over it.  These aren't the Holy Bible and if they smell, are losing pages or are covered in indefinable substances, it's 'See Ya, Bye!'  The best best, gently-used items we donate to Better World Books (probably for a fee of some kind) which re-sells used library books exclusively to benefit charities.  If your vendor was Better World Books, you may wind up with one of our books some day.  But not 'I, Ripper' because we only have one copy and I'm currently reading it.  We were never likely to get multiple copies of that book.  The Ripper is not as big a draw as say, James Patterson or Janet Evanovich.  Even Sherlock Holmes doesn't rate more than one copy of anything here.  Probably different in libraries where you are.  I wouldn't think you'd go in big for Janet Evanovich!

Well, I hope you enjoy the book and we can discuss it.  Remember that I have forewarned you about the 'Sidewalk' imbroglio.  :)

P.S.  The Star remains a thorn in the side of the Metropolitan Police in general and DI Edmund Reid of H Division in particular as depicted in the BBC Ripper Street series.  The Ripper doesn't actually appear in that show, but I think you'd like that show. 

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I’ve just had a confirmation email from......you guessed it....Better World Books👍

I haven’t heard of Janet Evanovich but I rarely read fiction (apart from Holmes and Pons of course.) Isn’t Patterson about the best selling author in the world (or at least one of them?) When you look at the bookshelves you get the impression that he writes a book a week! I believe that he also writes in conjunction with other authors though?

Have you read any of the Sidney Grace detective stories by M.R.C. Kasasian? I saw one in a charity shop the other day and considered buying it but I’m trying to avoid cluttering the house up with books that I might never get around to reading.

I was also thinking of one day trying some of George Mann’s Newbury & Hobbs stories. I was in a bookshop the other day and saw The Casebook Of Newbury & Hobbs. (Sounds familiar😀)

 

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1 hour ago, HerlockSholmes said:

I’ve just had a confirmation email from......you guessed it....Better World Books👍

I haven’t heard of Janet Evanovich but I rarely read fiction (apart from Holmes and Pons of course.) Isn’t Patterson about the best selling author in the world (or at least one of them?) When you look at the bookshelves you get the impression that he writes a book a week! I believe that he also writes in conjunction with other authors though?

Have you read any of the Sidney Grace detective stories by M.R.C. Kasasian? I saw one in a charity shop the other day and considered buying it but I’m trying to avoid cluttering the house up with books that I might never get around to reading.

I was also thinking of one day trying some of George Mann’s Newbury & Hobbs stories. I was in a bookshop the other day and saw The Casebook Of Newbury & Hobbs. (Sounds familiar😀)

 

Janet Evanovich is kind of the female James Patterson, though to my knowledge she sticks with one series (all numbered:  One for the Money, etc.)  Her protagonist is a female bounty hunter.  Haven't read any; saw the movie based on the first book.  I enjoyed it pretty well, but I didn't have any particular conception of the characters.  I guess Katherine Heigl is not how the heroine is supposed to look, even with her hair dyed brown.  Not being a K. Heigl fan whatsoever, she actually managed to charm me in this role.  I call it her best work.  Normally I find her incredibly self-absorbed and annoying.

James Patterson is a cottage industry unto himself.  I think he lends his name to the covers and actually has a stable of co-authors beavering away all over the world who are listed as 'contributors' . . who actually write them, in the Patterson style.  There is no way that one guy could write 6 novels a year otherwise.  And now he's branched into juvenile/teen series fiction with 2-3 more income streams, and a designated minion for the kid stuff.  Not sure how he got to be Emperor of American Pop Lit, but he is.  I have learned one useful thing from James Patterson:  Short chapters are much more attention-grabbing and keeping than long chapters.  And people can brag to their friends how they just finished a book with 100 chapters in it. (of 2-3 pages each.)

I have not read Sidney Grace, though the name(s) sound familiar.  I have read a bit of Sidney Chambers, ecclesiastical sleuth, from the books by James Runcie, inspiration for the BBC series Grantchester.  I don't recommend them, sadly.  The TV show is charming; the books are stilted and dull.  They've sexed Sidney up considerably over on the Beeb by having him played by James Norton. 

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Herl,

I stayed up way too late last night to finish I, Ripper . . and I'm paying for it this morning as I knew I would be.  Actually I feel pretty energetic at the moment but that's the 'Gotta get up & out immediately' adrenaline still flowing.  I will crash before too long.

It was worth it.  I am very keen to discuss Mr. Hunter's 'conclusions' with you.  I do not spoil anything in the below!

1.  You'd know better than me if 'Jeb' of The Star was a real byline or not.  Mr. Hunter tells us the identity of 'Jeb' in the final chapters.  His candidate may astonish you.  A real person, 'Jeb' being his nomme de guerre.  You won't see that coming.

2.  Hunter references a number of other literary inspirations, including Sherlock Holmes ('Study in Scarlet' had been published the year prior), and Jeb reflects often that what this case really needs to solve it is Sherlock Holmes--or, a real person exactly like him.

3.  Hunter's candidate for 'Jack' is evidently 'not' a real person--leastways, the interwebs throw up a number of people with the same name, but the dates do not fit.  You will no doubt recognize characteristics of this man in another famous literary figure with ties to 'Jeb.'

4.  Hunter addresses the provenance of the 'Dear Boss' letter, and the mystifying phraseology of the wording chalked on the wall in Goulston Street.  Ie. why would an obviously highly intelligent killer misspell 'Jews' thusly?  He also provides Jack's explanation for why he needed that piece of apron and Annie's rings.  Amongst other Ripper Easter Eggs.

Jack's depravity toward the bodies of his victims is uncontested, but Hunter's Ripper seems almost . . .compassionate . .in his MO of dispatching his 'unfortunates' very quickly and almost without any pain.  The second victim, Annie Chapman, was botched, in his opinion, because he ended up crushing her windpipe first, which resulted in the horribly distended tongue on this victim, and regrettably more pain and terror for her prior to death, which he berates himself for.  Hunter's explanation for Jack's motive in all this is completely original to him.  Plausible, if we buy his suspect's own confession as to the 'Why' . . but it still falls a bit short of making the Ripper's ritualistic disemboweling of his victims make more 'sense' in light of it, especially what he did to poor Mary Kelly.

Hunter has, in the tradition of Michael Dibdin, created a minor 'meta' masterpiece--quite an achievement for an American. :)  He gives us a brash, obnoxious American newspaperman, Jeb's rival at The Star, whom he can barely tolerate, as the mouthpiece that allows him to mock his own countrymen through the eyes of our British-to-the-core narrator.  His Americanisms may be a tad too contemporary to be circa 1888 . . . though we Americans do say 'You guys' a lot.  This expression need not refer to a collective of all men, though in this instance it is.  "You guys" is our form of the plural 'You' and can be used to address a group of all men, a co-ed mixed group or, humorously, an all-female group.  Everyone is 'guys' over here.  I catch myself calling my all-female cohort of colleagues 'You guys' and reflect that it's kind of nonsensical.  But it's  hard-wired now.  I try not to use it in formal settings.  We also still use the term 'Pow-wow' as in 'to parley; have a chin wag; discuss--usually serious matters, though not as often as we would have in the 19th century, with skirmishes with the Native Americans ('Indians' is now racist, you see) still ongoing.

Jeb is convinced that there is absolutely no way that an American can be Jack.  In his estimation, Americans completely lack the craftiness of mind (ie, sophisticated intelligence) to pull off Jack's crimes.  I laughed because an American wrote it.  We are allowed to disparage ourselves, but if a Brit wrote it, I'd probably be steamed.  (Yankese for 'angry').  I'm sure you feel the same way about assessing your own national character.  This fictional Yank reporter is dim, yeah, but on the other hand, your side boasted the brain trust that was Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Met.  Saucy Jack ended his police career.  According to Mr. Hunter, the City of London police were much more organized, efficient and all-around superior law enforcement brains.

Ripper experts (among which I count you, even though you are too modest to put yourself there) may scoff at Hunter's 'solution' to the Jack Problem . . but I thought he came up with a  'ripping' good yarn.

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59 minutes ago, Hikari said:

... Native Americans ('Indians' is now racist, you see)....

I think it might be more accurate to say that "Indian" is now "racist," in the same sense that the "politically correct' crowd insists we must all use the unwieldy term "African American" even though many individuals in that category apparently prefer "black."  The original inhabitants of these parts have been called "Indians" since 1492, and even though that was due to an error on Columbus's part (he thought he was in the East Indies), the term has persisted.  Most importantly, it's my understanding that a good many individuals in that category prefer "Indian" over "Native American."

Please excuse the interruption!

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