Using the firsthand expertise she has gained through writing the bestselling Dr Kay Scarpetta novels, Patricia Cornwell has used the demanding methods of modern forensic investigation to re- examine the contemporaneous evidence in the Jack the Ripper murders. These include state-of-the-art DNA testing on various materials, computer enhancement of ...
Using the firsthand expertise she has gained through writing the bestselling Dr Kay Scarpetta novels, Patricia Cornwell has used the demanding methods of modern forensic investigation to re- examine the contemporaneous evidence in the Jack the Ripper murders. These include state-of-the-art DNA testing on various materials, computer enhancement of watermarks and expert examinations of hand- writing, paper, inks and other relics. She has also used her knowledge of profiling on the possible suspects, as well as consulting experts in the field. On presenting her conclusions to a very senior Metropolitan Police officer she learned that had the investigators of the time been presented with the facts she has unearthed her suspect would definitely have been arrested and would probably have faced trial. In the first edition of this book Patricia Cornwell named the killer as the artist, Walter Sickert. This paperback includes even more evidence for her compelling and credible conclusion.
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One of the best books yet written on Jack the ripper.
Jan 15, 2009
far from a case closed
The Whitechapel murders intrigue us because they were particularly brutal, occured on city streets, and because they remain unsolved. Ms. Cromwell settles on a particular suspect, and links him through DNA evidence and "profiling" to the crimes. (I will not spoil the book by naming her suspect.) In doing so, she chooses to brush quickly past the fact that her supect was out of the country at the time of the crimes. Her DNA evidence is based on certain infamous "ripper letters," although the police at the time, like modern experts, considered all of these letters hoaxes. Her profiling is flawed because much of what she says about her suspect is simply not true. A fascinating case, but there are many better books on the subject.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-11-11 Jack the Ripper was renowned artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942) according to Cornwell, in case anyone hasn't yet heard. The evidence Cornwell accumulates toward that conclusion in this brilliant, personal, gripping book is very strong, and will persuade many. In May 2001, Cornwell took a tour of Scotland Yard that interested her in the Ripper case, and in Sickert as a suspect. A look at Sickert's "violent" paintings sealed her interest, and she became determined to apply, for the first time ever, modern investigatory and forensic techniques to the crimes that horrified London more than 100 years ago. The book's narrative is complex, as Cornwell details her emotional involvement in the case; re-creates life in Victorian times, particularly in the late 1880s, and especially the cruel existence of the London poor; offers expertly observed scenarios of how, based on the evidence, the killings occurred and the subsequent investigations were conducted; explains what was found by the team of experts she hired; and gives a psycho-biography of Sickert. The book is filled with newsworthy revelations, including the successful use of DNA analysis to establish a link between an envelope mailed by the Ripper and two envelopes used by Sickert. There are also powerful comparisons made between Sickert's drawing style and that of the Ripper; between words and turns of phrases used by both men; and much other circumstantial evidence. Also newsworthy is Cornwell's conclusion that Sickert continued to kill long after the Ripper supposedly lay down his blade, reaping dozens of victims over his long life. Compassionate, intense, superbly argued, fluidly written and impossible to put down, this is the finest and most important true-crime book to date of the 21st century. Main selection of the BOMC, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club. (Nov. 11) Forecast: With the Cornwell name plus lots of publicity-including first serial to Vanity Fair-this should achieve numbers nearly as big as the author's #1 bestselling novels. The book is filled with numerous sepia-toned photos, including several horribly gruesome shots of the Ripper's victims that may turn off some browsers, but most who can get past these will be hooked. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-01-06 "I knew the identity of a murderer and couldn't possibly avert my gaze," declares bestselling author and Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine chairman of the board Cornwell (The Last Precinct). Claiming to have cracked the unsolved case of Jack the Ripper, the author, combining superb investigative skills and meticulous research with modern technology, presents strong, albeit largely circumstantial, evidence as to the true culprit in this uncharacteristic work of nonfiction. Cornwell's man is the handsome, educated actor-cum-artist Walter Richard Sickert, and she delves into his life, probing the psychological pain and sexual deformity which led to his "impotent fury." Screen, stage and TV actress Burton's splendid, professional narration deserves much of the credit for the book's smooth translation to abridged audio format. Transporting listeners to 19th century England, Burton easily transitions between American and English accents, bringing an authentic, resonating flavor to the era and to the desperate lives of London's "unfortunates" who became the killer's prey. Despite some tedious and over-detailed readings of medical records, laws and police reports, as well as descriptive accounts of Cornwell's experiences re-opening the case, this audiobook turns potentially dry material into an enthralling exploration. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 11). (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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