Reviewed by: David R Pickup
Author: Nicholas Connell and Stewart P Evans
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4456-0827-3
Price: £10.99

I wonder if Jack the Ripper actually existed. If he did not then a lot of time and speculation has been wasted on theories about the connections of a series of murders to Freemasonry and the royal family. Who he was, if he existed, we will probably never know. What we have is a series of brutal murders, some of which may or may not have been committed by the same person.

The reason I pose the question about his existence is because the mythology is founded on media hype when the press built up a sensational and terrifying story, partly fed by information supplied by the police. The dissemination of information through leaks and official lines is of course a topical issue but this book takes us back to the murky, foggy world of Victorian London. The book is mainly written from the investigating officer’s point of view and follows various lines of enquiry and officers concerned, chiefly a detective inspector Reid.

The book follows Reid into peaceful retirement on the Kent coast where he was pleased to discuss his theories with the press.

The book’s strength is it does not descend into the wilder theories but reports the different murders and the police's role. Some suspects are mentioned and they mainly seem to have serious mental illnesses.

David Pickup is a partner in Aylesbury-based Pickup & Scott