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Old December 21st, 2017, 11:22 AM   #1
Lemonjelly
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Default November 2017

Jack the Ripper - Through the Mists of Time by Peter Hodgson

I didn't grab this as an essential read. To be honest, it was a relatively short book (214 pages) that fitted in with my timeline nicely.

Hard to figure out what this book is. Chapter 1 gives a far too brief overview of the whitechapel murders. For me, nowhere near enough detail, and virtually no analysis. Unsure whether the author is assuming a lot of prior knowledge, or quite the opposite.

Then there is an examination of the development of the mythical JtR, and chapters on JtR in film, and a whole chapter on holmes and the ripper.

There is a very basic discussion of the victims - Hodgson tells us more is known about the victims than JtR, and he's correct, but he then proceeds to tell us absolutely nothing about the victims! Their pictures aren't even used - some poor quality (imo) drawings are used, together with a couple of photo's of "a whitechapel street" that are close, but not exactly contemporaneous.

There's a chapter on the diary that is straightforward enough. Hodgson gives a generous overview of the Knight theory too. Clearly Hodgson had a lot of time at some point for this theory, as it is returned to on more than one occasion in the book.

Then finally is a brief discussion of Hodgsons favoured suspect - Cutbush. Again sadly this lacks detail sufficient to allow the reader to form an opinion as to whether further research is needed.

The book certainly isn't terrible, I've read worse, but I don't think it knows what it is. The mid sections on JtR in film & holmes is a waste of space, and my pet hate is how unfavourably it compares to Jack the Myth by John Bennett. So it's intro to the case is too brief, it's examination of JtR in culture seems not relevant, and then the suspect examination is again too brief.

I don't think the author ever was 100% on what the book was supposed to acheive. Ok for an introduction, but little else.
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Old December 21st, 2017, 04:29 PM   #2
Howard Brown
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As always, thank you Lem.
Happy holidays to you and yours....
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Old December 24th, 2017, 09:14 AM   #3
Lemonjelly
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Thanks How, & you're welcome.

The best to everybody. I'm already hugely excited & am saving up for Mango's annotated I Caught Crippen, and though I've not read that many Jtr books this year, I hope a few more will be perused in 2018.

I also wait in hope for Adam's own book. It'll be a belter.
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