Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review: Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth

Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth
Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth by Bruce Paley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't remember how I stumbled across this one. It may have been a Kindle recommendation. Regardless, I was intrigued by the recommendations from "Ripperologists" about the detail and detection work, so I picked it up.

Author Bruce Paley offers his solution at the beginning, that the Ripper was Joseph Barnett, the estranged common-law husband of the Ripper's final victim, Mary Jane Kelly.

He builds a good case, using relevant facts. Paley has dug into some detail about Barnett's life and the investigation into the Whitechapel murders. Even so, I found myself channeling my inner lawyer as I read. "Assumes facts not in evidence!"

Paley is usually clear when he has no proof of his claims, and uses lots of qualifying words like "must have been," "should have" and "probably." That doesn't make his assumptions facts.

I'm no expert in the crimes by any means. I came away from the book with a suspect I hadn't considered before (not that I spend a lot of time considering suspects in this case). But I'm not convinced.

By the way, I read the Kindle version. It looked like it was badly scraped from a pdf file. Simply awful errors and erroneous text.

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  1. I'll have to look into this one. I was riveted by Patricia Cornwell's book, Case Closed. She was emphatic that a painter named Walter Sickert did it. But that doesn't mean she was right. This case certainly does get into head and take up residence, doesn't it?

    1. It definitely does, Gal. I'm not convinced by this one, but I wasn't convinced by Cornwell's either.