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Wednesday, February 8

Book Review: Jack the Ripper: Portrait of a Killer

Cornwell doesn't mince words: Walter Sickert is the killer (you can find this out if you turn the first page of the book, so no, it's really not a spoiler). The book is less a true crime mystery than a non-stop attack on Sickert-physically, socially, mentally, philosophically, and artistically. And he's an excellent candidate too; Sickert was fascinated with Jack the Ripper, painted creepy art that involved threatening and dismembering women, and traveled in all the right places where Jack the Ripper skulked. So he must be the Ripper, right?

The biggest flaw in Portrait of a Killer is that it really is "case closed." Cornwell's work hands down a verdict before any evidence is presented, making the whole book an entertaining but ultimately flawed argument about who Jack the Ripper really was. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:54 AM


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