I actually rather expected to get halfway through this book and then abandon it. After all, it is another retelling of the 'Royal cover-up' conspiracy theory advanced in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution and Ripper & the Royals , albeit with a twist in that the painter, Walter Sickert, is fingered as the killer. This in fact, is also the conclusion in Patricia Cornwell's ridiculous book, Portrait Of A Killer , which was written after the first edition of this one, and from which, some say, she cribbed shamelessly and without acknowledgment. This is actually the reason I bought this book because I wanted to see what the earlier theory was about. I didn't expect to be convinced by any means and, as I say, I half expected to skim it without much interest. As it happened though, I quite enjoyed the book and read it from start to finish.
The story behind the book is that a female artist and acquaintance of Walter Sickert, told the author's mother that she and Sickert both knew Mary Kelly, the last canonical victim, and that he had told her that she might be in danger because of her acquaintance with Kelly. From this and other facts, the friend concluded that Sickert was himself the killer. Years later, in 1948, the author's mother repeated the story to her daughter in a way that suggested she had no doubt as to its veracity. The thing I enjoyed about this book is the reading it rather gives the senses of hearing the book... as though one were ensconced in a comfy chair in front of a fire with a hot cup of cocoa, listening to a long rambling story by an aging relative which is not quite believable but cozily entertaining nevertheless. It was a pleasant, easy read.
Inevitably, there is not a shred of actual evidence against Sickert, even if one accepts the second hand hearsay at face value. The so-called clues in Sickert's paintings are a stretch at the very best and the supposed motive and manner of execution is just not beleiveable. Still, although novice Ripperologists should read a few more mainstream works first, many collectors will wish to have this one. In this newest edition in particular,Overton discusses the Cornwell book and has some interesting things to say.
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Sickert and the Ripper Crimes Hardcover – Nov. 1 1990
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- Item Weight : 390 g
- Hardcover : 264 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1869928155
- ISBN-10 : 1869928156
- Publisher : Mandrake of Oxford (Nov. 1 1990)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
3.7 out of 5
6 global ratings
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Read it and see what you thinkReviewed in the United Kingdom on January 15, 2016
I have read this book many times before. I just wanted my own copy.
Interesting theoryReviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2016
Interesting theory but so much time has passed, would we be able to prove who the Ripper actually was?
some interesting thoughtsReviewed in the United Kingdom on December 25, 2008
I'm really sorry to say it that way, but this is a stupid book. I have read a couple of books on the case, most of which pretended to be objective, and Cornwell's (who doesn't), and though I found Cornwell's conclusions only partially convincing, her book was at least well written and proved her to be quite informed about forensic science. Overton Fuller not only repeatedly dwells on her own person and experience in many quite uninteresting paragraphs which have nothing to do with the topic (and one wonders if she doesn't have a hairdresser to whom she might tell all that stuff...), but it seems she knows next to nothing about psychopathology and serial killers. Not that it would be admirable if she did - but some of her assumptions are frankly ridiculous. On the whole, she seems to entertain the opinion that Sickert committed the crimes, though this is also no more than an assumption made on the grounds of what she was allegedly told by her mother 60 years ago, but that this is really no reason to think that he might have been a bad guy. He did it, allright, but couldn't it happen to anyone to kill five prostitutes? that seems to be the credo of the author. The only merit of the book lies in the reproduction of some of the images of Sickert's work and the author's interpretations of them, in her research work and in some interesting reflections about artists and pictures of violence, e.g. Hogarth. Sorry.
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