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JACK THE RIPPER 1888
Being from San Francisco, I loved reading about streets and places I am familiar with. The book was a good read. The Ripper link was possible, but he didn't really go into that as much as I would have liked. One person found this helpful.
Format: Hardcover. Graysmith's book provides the basic story in more generous detail than anyone else this century, and he should be credited for that, however, as one who is also familiar with the case I was disappointed to see him swallowing the defense's position that Theodore was innocent.
Then that business about Jack the Ripper being responsible: Ooo, I cringe. Even Graysmith's title "The Bell Tower" signals trouble, for anyone who's ever seen the newspaper drawings on the story knows there was no bell up there. Crime writer Colin Wilson made the same error. In the steeple was ominously referred to by reporters as "the place where no bell ever tolled. And one last thing, for now, Blanch Lamont's tombstone does not use the "Blanche" spelling Graysmith uses for her name.
But don't get me wrong, you should still buy the book. The Durrant case was the most interesting murder story San Francisco experienced at the turn of the century. In fact, it virtually brought this city to a halt.
Having enjoyed Mr. Graysmith's analysis of the Zodiac, I hoped to find the same enjoyment in his latest work. Imagine, Jack the Ripper haunting the same streets that the Zodiac would stalk nearly 90 years later. Unforunately, when Mr. Graysmith stepped back in time, he took his writing style into a similar Victorian spin.
Jack the Ripper - Wikipedia
The overly long history and the tangents involving Hearst do little to press home the case that the reverend was Jack the Ripper. In fact, one loses track that proving this is Graysmith's intention at all. Without the conection to Jack the Ripper, this book would be a wonderful history of the early days of newspaper publishing in San Francisco. However, Mr. Graysmith promises to unmask Jack the Ripper here on this side of the pond no less and fails to deliver. In the course of failing this, he also falls short in conveying Mr.
Durrant's innocence. The time-line becomes more and more difficult to maintain in one's head and the "stream of conciousness" methos of writing does not work well when one is telling a crime story. I hope that Mr. Graysmith's next work takes place in the high side of This book is without a doubt the most poorly written and researched book on Jack the Ripper that I have ever read, and I have over sixty volumes on the subject in my personal library. Hard facts are ignored in order to bolster the author's preconceived theory.
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A series of "Ripper" letters long considered fakes are presented as factual and loose ends are tied to other loose ends, in a willy-nilly fashion, whether they belong together or not. Perhaps the most tawdry scholarship in a book filled with tawdry scholarship is the series of totally false "deathbed confessions" which the author would foist upon his readers.
This book adds absolutely nothing of value and little of truth to the on-going "Ripper" scholarship. I'm glad I bought it used! It's certainly not worth the full price. All of this is too bad; I did so want it to be a useful addition to my library Darrell Baker Irvine, California.
JACK THE RIPPER - 1888
I really enjoyed the book, but the title was very misleading. If the Jack the Ripper subtext had been left out, I would have enjoyed this book far more. I'm from northern California and so a lot of the locales in the book were familiar. As a well versed Ripper reader, I was rather unimpressed with Graysmith's conclusions.
I also have a copy of Zodiac sitting on my book shelf, so I know that Graysmith is quite capable of both good writing and good investigative skill. Perhaps the editor should've stepped in and worked with the author about the direction of this book. I have read many books dealing with the Jack the Ripper murders; however, I believe that this book does not solve the mystery. The author is way too optimistic in his claim that the mystery is solved. Also, I found it very frustrating to be reading about the crime and then having the story interrupted with the "De Young vs.
Hearst" newspaper battle. I could have done without this; it added nothing to the book. Graysmith brings upon an absurd connection between the Ripper murders which took place five years earlier in England and the Emmanuel Baptist Church murders which happened in America. Graysmith draws his own conclusion that shows lack of research. There was never an investigation ever done on John Gibson or any proof of a connection. Reading this book confused me on the great mystery of Jack the Ripper and a possible killer. See all 11 reviews.
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Given the inclement weather and filth in the streets it is unacceptable that the prostitutes or their client would have attempted intercourse on the ground. He cut the throats when the women were on the ground. Splatter stains show that the blood pooled beside or under the neck and head of the victim rather than the front which is where the blood would flow if they had been standing up.
In one case blood was found on the fence some 14 inches or so from the ground and opposite the neck wound and this shows that the blood spurted from the body while in the prone position on the ground. This method also prevented the killer from being unduly blood stained. By reaching over from the victim's right side to cut the left side of her throat, the blood flow would have been directed away from him, which would have reduced the amount of blood in which he would have been exposed.
If the victim was already dead before their throats were cut, then the blood spilt would have not been very much. With the heart no longer beating the blood would not have been "pressurized," so only the blood in the immediate area of the wound would have evacuated gently from the cuts.
The Ripper then made his other mutilations, still from the victim's right side, or possibly while straddling over the body at or near the feet. In several cases the legs had been pushed up which would have shortened the distance between the abdomen and the feet. No sign of intercourse was ever detected nor did the Ripper masturbate over the bodies. Usually he took a piece of the victim's viscera.
The taking of a "trophy" is a common practice by modern sexual serial killers. In the opinion of most of the surgeons who examined the bodies, most believed that the killer had to have some degree of anatomical knowledge to do what he did. In one case he removed a kidney from the front rather than from the side, and did not damage any of the surrounding organs while doing so. In another case he removed the sexual organs with one clean stroke of the knife. Given the time circumstances of the crimes outside, often in near total darkness, keeping one eye out for the approach of others, and under extremely tight time constraints , the Ripper almost certainly would have had some experience in using his knife.
It is commonly accepted by the experts on the case that none of the letters purported to have been written by the Ripper were in fact written by him. A letter dated September 25 and received on the twenty-seventh by the Central News agency was the first to be signed "Jack the Ripper".
A postcard post marked October 1 followed. Because it referred to a "double event" the police thought it might be from the killer since it was posted the day after the Ripper killed two women. The post card also referred to the letter and must have come from the same source as the letter had not been released to the public yet. If the post card had been sent on September 30, the day of the "double event", instead of October 1, the likelihood that it was really written by the murderer would be significantly greater.
A recently discovered document states that a journalist from the Central News agency, Tom Bulling, was the writer. One other letter may have been written by the killer. In mid-October a small parcel was sent to George Lusk, who was head of a vigilance committee in Whitechapel. Inside was half a human kidney and a letter from someone claiming to be the killer, and that it was part of the kidney he removed from the victim Eddowes.
It is impossible to know for sure if the Ripper really did send it. Most of the arguments in favor of it being from Jack have been based on inaccurate information and the myths rather than the facts surrounding the case. However, Eddowes did suffer from Bright's disease and the description of the kidney does match what a Bright's disease kidney would look like. In a time before forensic science and even finger printing, the only way to prove someone committed a murder was to catch either him or her in the act, or get the suspect to confess.
The Whitechapel Murders unhappily fall into this period of time. One interesting feature of this case is that not one, but two police forces carried out investigations. The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, was responsible for crimes committed in all the boroughs of London except the City of London proper. The single square mile in the heart of London known as the City of London had their own police force.
When Eddowes was killed, it was in their territory and this brought them into the Ripper case. It is believed that the rank and file of the two forces got along and worked well together, but there is evidence that the seniors in each force did not. To what degree, if any, their failure to cooperate fully had on solving the case is not known. Most sources do not fault either police force for failing to solve the Jack the Ripper mystery, rightly pointing out that catching serial killers is still a hard task even by today's science and technology.
Other than autopsies and taking statements from everybody who might know something there was little else that the Metropolitan police force did. The attitude of the people at the time was that the police were incompetent and that the Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, was only good for policing crowds and keeping order rather than detective work. He was especially criticized for not offering a reward in the hope that a confederate or accomplice would come forth and inform against the Ripper.
In fact, Warren had no objections for a reward being offered and it was his superior, Henry Matthews, the Home Secretary who refused the sanction of a reward. The City of London Police seems to have done a better job although they did not apprehend the killer either. City police officers made crime scene drawings, took many photographs of the victim Eddowes, and even though she was not in their jurisdiction, they took photographs of the Kelly victim. She is the only victim who was photographed at the crime scene. One of the splits between the leadership of the two forces was over graffito found in Goulston Street on the night of the "double event".
A piece of Eddowes' apron, which the Ripper used to wipe off his knife, was found by a constable near a doorway that had a chalked message over the door. This message, "The Juwes are the men That Will not be blamed for nothing", may have been written by the Ripper and the City police officers wanted to photograph it. Warren felt that leaving it until it was light enough to be photographed might cause riots against the Jews living in Whitechapel whom the bigoted English residents already believed were responsible for the murders.
Warren did not even compromise by willing to erase or cover up the word "Juwes" only. In the end the police never charged any suspect with the murders committed by the Ripper which shows they did not have a sufficient amount of evidence that would gain a verdict of guilty in criminal court. In , Sir Melville Macnaghten, then Chief Constable, wrote a confidential report in which he names the three top suspects. Although some information concerning the suspect he believed most likely to have been the murderer had been available before the turn of the century, the name of that suspect was not made public until Macnaghten's suspect was M.
Druitt, a barrister turned teacher who committed suicide in December Unfortunately for Macnaghten who wrote his memoranda from memory, the details he ascribes to Druitt are wrong. According to the Chief Constable, Druitt was a doctor, 41 years of age, and committed suicide immediately after the Kelly murder. In actuality Druitt was 31, not a doctor, and killed himself nearly a month after the last official murder. No other police officer supported Macnaghten's allegations, and one in fact, stated that the theory was inadequate and that the suicide was circumstantial evidence at best that the drowned doctor was the Ripper.
While it is still possible that he was the Ripper, correct information gathered about Druitt so far makes him seem an unlikely candidate. In , Frederick Abberline, a retired crack detective who had been in charge of the Ripper investigation at the ground level stated that he thought that multiple wife poisoner Severin Klosowski, alias George Chapman, might be Jack the Ripper. As with Macnaghten, no other officer has concurred with his opinion and modern criminal profiling science tends to reject Klosowski as a serious candidate.
The name of Macnaghten's second suspect was confirmed as Aaron Kosminiski in the early s when a researcher came upon Donald Swanson's personal copy of Robert Anderson's book of memoirs. Both Swanson and Anderson were officers who participated in the Ripper investigation; indeed, they were the ones given the responsibility of being in charge of the case. Anderson had written in his memoirs that appeared for the first time in that the police knew who the Ripper was.
According to Anderson the Ripper was a Polish Jew who was put away in an insane asylum after the crimes, and then died soon after. Swanson had made some notes in his copy of the book concerning Anderson's suspect, and wrote that the suspect's name was Kosminski. At first it seemed that the case had been solved, but research has found a number of problems with the theory.
No other officer supports' Anderson's allegation, and Swanson's notes seem to question his superior's claims rather than support them. Aaron Kosminski was a real person and was placed in an insane asylum. His records show him to be a docile and harmless lunatic that heard voices in his head and would only eat food from the gutter. The dates of his incarceration are wrong, and he did not die soon after his committal but lived on until Some researchers have tried to explain the problems by saying that the name Kosminski' was confused with another insane Polish Jew, who really was dangerous.
The search continues. The third Macnaghten suspect, Michael Ostrog, has been investigated and there is nothing to indicate that he was nothing more than a demented con man. Francis Tumblety, the latest serious suspect, only became known to students of the Jack the Ripper murders in A collector of crime memorabilia obtained a cache of letters belonging to a crime journalist named G. Among the letters was one from John Littlechild, who had been in charge of the Secret Department in Scotland Yard at the time of the murders.
Dated , Littlechild writes to Sims: "I never heard of a Dr. He was an American quack named Tumblety. Unfortunately, he fails to do so. There is no doubt that Tumblety was a legitimate suspect and that when he fled to America, Scotland Yard detectives came over to investigate him further. It is unlikely that Scotland Yard continued to view him as a serious suspect. James Monro, who succeeded Warren and was in overall command of the Secret department before becoming Commissioner, thought that the Alice McKenzie murder of July was the work of the Ripper.
He stated in that he did not know who the Whitechapel murderer was but that he was working on his own theory. At the time of the murders and for the next few years, a lot was written about the murders including some tabloid type books. Most of it is worthless and only helped to set up many myths that have clouded serious attempts to figure out what really happened that autumn in London. Other than memoirs of officers who worked on the case, which is valuable, little else was written until after the first world war.
Once more there was growing interest in the murders again in that the Ripper was appearing in both nonfiction works and fictional formats such as Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger. Cult-like interest, the interest that has really never left, began in the s. Dan Farson did a television show about the Ripper and uncovered a version of the McNaghten memoranda.
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Interest in Jack the Ripper exploded in when a new theory was published in which the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, was accused of being the Ripper. Just like his nemesis in fiction, Sherlock Holmes, the s saw Jack being either paired with someone famous or identified as being someone famous.
It was a decade that also featured some entertaining but patently absurd conspiracy theories explaining who the Ripper really was.