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From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his ar From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his art—as well as extensive evidence—points to another name, one that’s left its bloody mark on the pages of history: Jack the Ripper. Cornwell has collected never-before-seen archival material—including a rare mortuary photo, personal correspondence and a will with a mysterious autopsy clause—and applied cutting-edge forensic science to open an old crime to new scrutiny.Incorporating material from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed, this new edition has been revised and expanded to include eight new chapters, detailed maps and hundreds of images that bring the sinister case to life.


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From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his ar From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his art—as well as extensive evidence—points to another name, one that’s left its bloody mark on the pages of history: Jack the Ripper. Cornwell has collected never-before-seen archival material—including a rare mortuary photo, personal correspondence and a will with a mysterious autopsy clause—and applied cutting-edge forensic science to open an old crime to new scrutiny.Incorporating material from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed, this new edition has been revised and expanded to include eight new chapters, detailed maps and hundreds of images that bring the sinister case to life.

30 review for Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane Wallace

    Ok read! the storyline was not what i thought it would be. Even the writing style and plot was way off. Very disappointed of course because i am a huge fan this author...(paperback!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Biographies come in all shapes and sizes, as has been exemplified throughout my binge over these past few months. Patricia Cornwell's re-release of this biographical piece about Jack the Ripper offers not only a view into the horrible crimes that were committed in London's East End, but also posits that Walter Sickert is the most likely suspect, providing ample proof. Cornwell offers a strong biographical sketch of both Sickert and the killings, while extrapolating the killing spree outside of t Biographies come in all shapes and sizes, as has been exemplified throughout my binge over these past few months. Patricia Cornwell's re-release of this biographical piece about Jack the Ripper offers not only a view into the horrible crimes that were committed in London's East End, but also posits that Walter Sickert is the most likely suspect, providing ample proof. Cornwell offers a strong biographical sketch of both Sickert and the killings, while extrapolating the killing spree outside of the known five prostitutes. She pushes hard to substantiate her argument and uses some biographical data to show how Sickert cannot be discounted as one of the most likely suspects, even though he was a respected artist. Wonderfully detailed and presented in such a way that a novice such as myself could easily follow, Cornwell is sure to garner more interest in this updated version of this non-fiction book, though doubters and trolls are sure to remain active. Jack the Ripper is arguably one of the most elusive and notorious serial killers of modern time. While the Ripper's crimes hit London by storm in 1888, the inability to catch the killer soon brought the crimes to international prominence. That no killer has been found almost 130 years later offers an added level of mystery. Cornwell provides some backstory as it relates to Sickert in the early chapters, hinting at his troubled childhood marred with an apparently horrific penile deformity that required numerous invasive (and destructive) surgeries. This early 'maiming' might have fuelled his desire to exact revenge on those within the sex trade who were most vulnerable. Soon thereafter, Cornwell presents the murders of five female prostitutes and suggests a likely narrative, based on the police reports and media depictions. With what is known about the aforementioned deformities, the reader is left to choose which path they choose to take. Could Sickert have chosen these early women to exemplify that he was still virile or turned to those who would not necessarily judge him, as long as he had the money to pay? Cornwell also explores Sickert's roaming nature, as he followed a path all his own, both to fulfil his artistic abilities and his interest in some of the stage work that he undertook. From there, she is able to provide the reader with some possibilities surrounding Walter Sickert's involvement, based on his known location at the time. There were scores of mocking letters received by the police and newspapers attributed to the Ripper, allowing Cornwell to posit that Sickert may have posted these letters while he was touring with a troupe or had numerous letters sent from different destinations to dilute his guilt. Cornwell uses some of Sickert's own personal correspondence to match up with the anonymous letters sent by the Ripper, as well as some of the other pseudonyms used by both the Ripper and Sickert. Of greatest interest to the reader might be that Cornwell is convinced that Met Police focussed only on the five prostitutes, which was likely only a small snapshot of the murder spree undertaken by Jack the Ripper. Cornwell offers up some proof, pairing murders into the 20th century with both Sickert geographic pairings or hints of the murders within Sickert's own artwork. Sickert's fame within the English art world proved strong as he was known to have taught a young Winston Churchill. While nothing is definitive, Cornwell provides readers with a strong case, admitting that she is focussed on a single suspect, for Walter Sickert's guilt. All those involved are long dead and names have all but disappeared in the ether, though Cornwell, like the popular protagonist in her long-running series, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, seeks to bring the families some peace of mind. A well-researched and compelling book, those with an interest in Jack the Ripper may find it highly informative and entertaining in equal measure. I will admit that I am not well-versed in the crimes of Jack the Ripper, so I came into this piece seeking information and to be persuaded over trying to dissect the arguments made. Cornwell does a wonderful job in laying the groundwork for Walter Sickert being Jack the Ripper, as well as showing that the killing spree was monumental, through it is impossible to offer up any confirmed tally. Cornwell juggles two biographies here while also trying to lay out a criminal argument, doing so effectively. She offered both a biography of Sickert and a history of the crimes, superimposing them to show that motive and opportunity presented themselves. Cornwell's approach was, in my mind, less an attack than a collection of facts to strengthen her argument, which she openly admits not wanting to do. While she was attacked after the original version of this book for destruction of expensive artwork to prove her point, Cornwell tries to rebut those sentiments and assures the reader of her forensic approach to crime work. The latter portion of the book spends much time debunking the rumours that surfaced during her work and from the original edition. With haphazard attention paid to crime scenes at the time, Cornwell is stuck using the limited narratives offered at the time and can only explore some of the papers and pieces of art leftover now to push for Sickert's guilt. Splices of DNA and analysis of paper could prove impossible to substantiate without ruining the original documents, thereby nullifying any further exploration on the subject. The reader is treated to strong arguments based in fact and will leave this book with a stronger knowledge of Jack the Ripper, Walter Sickert, and East-End London. A perfect addition for those who love true crime in an era where even Sherlock Holmes would likely have struggled to come up with a convincing suspect. Kudos, Madam Cornwell for this compelling piece. While I am so used to your Scarpetta work, this was a refreshing look into your non-fiction mind. I am highly impressed and can only hope your search for justice is far from over. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  3. 5 out of 5

    Medhat The Book Fanatic

    This book is a magnificent piece of art and investigation. Author Patricia Cornwell uncovers numerous discoveries with an epic genius and mind-blowing info. While presenting her case, Cornwell sets-up the Victorian era with a fresh and atmospheric writing. We become knowledgeable of the streets, the Unfortunates, their problems and hard-lifetimes, even the social insecurities of people of that era: All this promoted to much more understanding and getting into the spirit of the book, and Patricia This book is a magnificent piece of art and investigation. Author Patricia Cornwell uncovers numerous discoveries with an epic genius and mind-blowing info. While presenting her case, Cornwell sets-up the Victorian era with a fresh and atmospheric writing. We become knowledgeable of the streets, the Unfortunates, their problems and hard-lifetimes, even the social insecurities of people of that era: All this promoted to much more understanding and getting into the spirit of the book, and Patricia Cornwell succeeds in her mission. Her writing style is entertaining and organic, and it never dragged, quite the contrary, it is very interesting and appealing. In this book, Cornwell dives deep into the case by studying Jack the Ripper, his killings, his MO, his psychology and mind and obsession to create chaos and terror. Like I said: MIND-BLOWING! I started Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert with both an open mind and doubt, since many people have bashed Patricia Cornwell's case against Walter Sickert. And by the end of the day, I am 100% convinced with her theory It is quite a shame when some reviewers here on Goodreads has given this masterpiece 1 star, whereas it was apparent that the reviewers did not even read this book; they were criticizing and bashing it based on the old edition of it 'A Portrait of an Artist--Case Closed', which author Patricia Cornwell herself stated in a great amount of interviews that she regrets publishing that book, and that it was published too soon than it needed to be, with typos and some issues, and lack of concrete evidence (Which she has given this time with authenticity). If you are feeling a bit irritated about reading this book because of the negative reviews and criticism, let me tell you that leave it to YOU to decide for yourself. After reading this book and enjoying it, I've got even more interested in the topic of Jack the Ripper and his notorious crimes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Walter Sickert was NOT Jack the Ripper! There is ZERO evidence to substantiate it aside from this woman's twisted imagination and a strong need to prove that she did not destroy priceless works of art in the pursuit of a hunch. He was not even IN THE COUNTRY during at least 2 of the murders. I am so sick of this. Please, stick to fiction and leave history and 'investigations' to those who know what the hell they are talking about. Walter Sickert was NOT Jack the Ripper! There is ZERO evidence to substantiate it aside from this woman's twisted imagination and a strong need to prove that she did not destroy priceless works of art in the pursuit of a hunch. He was not even IN THE COUNTRY during at least 2 of the murders. I am so sick of this. Please, stick to fiction and leave history and 'investigations' to those who know what the hell they are talking about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tere Fredericks

    In this, the second edition of the original, Jack the Ripper: Case Solved, there are photographs never before seen and eight extra chapters. I have been wanting to read the original for years, but never seemed to have the money for it (other things clamoring for the money, like rent, food, etc.) This book is available as a Kindle Unlimited book, which I happily snatched up. It is also something called Kindle in Motion. I have read other books in Kindle in Motion, but unbeknownst to me, it was tu In this, the second edition of the original, Jack the Ripper: Case Solved, there are photographs never before seen and eight extra chapters. I have been wanting to read the original for years, but never seemed to have the money for it (other things clamoring for the money, like rent, food, etc.) This book is available as a Kindle Unlimited book, which I happily snatched up. It is also something called Kindle in Motion. I have read other books in Kindle in Motion, but unbeknownst to me, it was turned off so I never really understood what it is. It is actually pretty amazing. In this book, we are treated to the paths that either Sickert took or his prey, or both in motion. We actually see a time line of the murders, and other time lines moving. Very interesting. I will be sure if I get another Kindle in Motion book that it is actually turned on! This is an update, as mentioned before, because there were so many people who just didn’t want to believe that Walter Sickert, apparently a very famous painter in his time (a protegee of James Whistler) could actually be the Ripper. Not having “any dog in this fight” as the saying goes, I believe Ms. Cornwell lays out a very convincing argument that Sickert is indeed the Ripper. Starting from his early life to the end of his days, she lays bare how his alibis do not hold up to the clear light of over a 100 years later, how the graphologists who insist the handwriting doesn’t match, etc. In this update, she addresses these questions in a very factual manner. The writing is definitely that of Patricia Cornwell. Factual, researched, and to the point. As part of her research, she purchased several of his paintings, and shows how those paintings may be a confession, left for others to ponder after his death. CAUTION: there are pictures of several of the Ripper’s victims after death included. Very graphic - but necessary to show the reason the murderer was called the Ripper - other than he calling himself that. As to the graphologists insisting the handwriting doesn’t match, how they come to that conclusion is a bit of a mystery perhaps cleared up by this book. The letters taunting the police, and later Scotland Yard, were written in at least five different handwritings. An artist as talented as Mr. Sickert is alleged to be (his work did absolutely nothing for me) would be able to do this. Maybe even with one hand behind his back. Riveting details of Mr. Sickert’s health as a young child may lead a person to psychopathy. Please beware Ms. Cornwell holds nothing back in describing his problems. Some of the details made me, a devoted horror reader, cringe. By cringe, I mean closing my Kindle and literally shuddering, with the hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up. Unflinchingly, she details surgery of the day, and holds nothing back. In these regards, I would rate this book a PG-17, not appropriate for anyone under 17. Perhaps not even then. But not X-rated, because none is detailed to titillate the reader rather, perhaps, for the reader to feel sympathy for all involved. As she makes the case for Sickert being Jack, she also supposes that other murders that occurred were done by him and he wasn’t given “credit.” Some presume he killed only five or six women and then likely died himself or was locked up. Ms. Cornwell makes a very good case that this is not so, that other murders were not revealed to keep the public unaware and therefore, not panicking. Fine reading for those of us who like horror along with true crime. I’m not sure that like is the correct word, but this book makes an excellent case for Mr. Sickert being Jack the Ripper.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    Ugh. I can't with Ripper books for a while. My head is swirling. And sadly, this book is just a mess. I promise I'm going to catch up on my reviews. Just not today. Alright, so it's a new day, and I haven't written a proper book review in at least two months. I moved house, and I also found the bookstagram community on Instagram, and between the two, I barely have had enough time to read, let alone sit down and write reviews. Well my friends, it's time. I've been feeling really bad lately for wri Ugh. I can't with Ripper books for a while. My head is swirling. And sadly, this book is just a mess. I promise I'm going to catch up on my reviews. Just not today. Alright, so it's a new day, and I haven't written a proper book review in at least two months. I moved house, and I also found the bookstagram community on Instagram, and between the two, I barely have had enough time to read, let alone sit down and write reviews. Well my friends, it's time. I've been feeling really bad lately for writing honest reviews. I'm being truthful when I say that more often than not, if I didn't really like a book much immediately after finishing it, I do usually end up unconsciously pondering it after I'm done, and often times I change my mind. I change my mind, however, I never change my reviews. I feel like first impressions are often the most interesting, so I leave my reviews alone after writing them, and apparently that's making me look like a major jerk. The opposite can be true as well. I just finished reading Gwendy's Button Box last night, and my initial reaction was that I really liked it. This morning I got up and read a bunch of reviews about the book, and pretty much half the people who reviewed it pointed out plot holes and inconsistencies that I apparently chose to ignore. FML. For the greater part of my reading life, the internet did not exist. The idea of interacting with not only other readers, but the actual authors themselves was something that never even occurred to me. I used to read a book alone, keep my opinions and theories to myself, and ponder it over the course of time. I didn't start writing book reviews until 2011, and I didn't start heavily interacting with readers and writers until last year. This interaction has been amazing, but it's also affected my reading. Sometimes I feel as if I've burned bridges with honest reviews. In a few cases, bridges that I never even really had a chance to construct. I understand that writers really put themselves out there with their work. Perhaps that's why I have never tried to write anything myself. A book bares your heart and soul to the world, and no matter what, criticism is going to follow. Having said that, I think I've been avoiding writing reviews because of Instagram. That bothers me, because I enjoy writing reviews. And mind you, these are just one person's thoughts about a book, and in my case, usually immediately written after finishing it. Anyway, screw it. Let's burn some shit down. This book. Oh, Patricia Cornwell, this book. You had me with your first attempt at solving the mystery of one of the most notorious and uncaught serial killers of all time. I need to check, but I'm almost certain I gave the first book 5 stars and really enjoyed it. Cornwell's candidate (whom is obviously the Victorian artist Walter Sickert) seemed really plausible. Cornwell presented a number of pieces of compelling evidence, and I bought her theory completely. Then the shit hit the fan, and Cornwell took a lot of heat for that book. I was completely unaware of any of it. Supposedly, Sickert ancestors and art historians came out of the woodwork and made Cornwell's life a living hell. In response she wrote this book, and basically her entire argument just falls apart as a result. I don't know if she received death threats or lawsuits, but this entire book is basically Cornwall going back to her original argument and stating over and over again phrases like "it's probable", "it's possible", "one can imagine", blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam. She removes any and all conviction from her argument, and basically says it's not impossible that Sickert was the Ripper. But maybe he wasn't. (Even though she firmly believes in her heart that it's him) On top of all the backtracking and verbiage wrangling, Cornwall then proceeds to claim that since the very beginning of her research the entire project has been cursed. She even states that inexplicable, almost paranormal occurrences have plagued her investigation since day one, and that's where she lost me completely. Not only are Sickert fans giving her a hard time, but apparently the man himself is haunting her from beyond the grave. Right before I read this book, (and yes, I did read the entire book), I read Bruce Robinson's They All Love Jack. That book deserves its own review, and I will definitely write one, but for now, all I can say is skip this one. I think Cornwell deeply regrets writing her first Ripper book, and I can honestly say that I regret reading the second.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I rarely stop reading a book, especially when almost half done with it, but this one was so filled with conjecture and lack of actual evidence of her arguments that I just can't keep reading it. It was a free book from Amazon - I see now why it was free. I rarely stop reading a book, especially when almost half done with it, but this one was so filled with conjecture and lack of actual evidence of her arguments that I just can't keep reading it. It was a free book from Amazon - I see now why it was free.

  8. 4 out of 5

    KC

    A follow up to Cromwell's prior novel. Filled with fascinating photos, letters, and art. A follow up to Cromwell's prior novel. Filled with fascinating photos, letters, and art.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    This book was a big disappointment. What could have been a meticulously researched and informative document is instead the author's premise that "of course Walter Sickert is Jack the Ripper" and the rest is a kneading and bending the facts like dough in order to "prove" her case. I felt like I was reading a salacious story from a tabloid magazine rather than objective reporting. We learn about Walter Sickert's upbringing, his "perhaps" physical deformity on his genitilia, which would be why he ha This book was a big disappointment. What could have been a meticulously researched and informative document is instead the author's premise that "of course Walter Sickert is Jack the Ripper" and the rest is a kneading and bending the facts like dough in order to "prove" her case. I felt like I was reading a salacious story from a tabloid magazine rather than objective reporting. We learn about Walter Sickert's upbringing, his "perhaps" physical deformity on his genitilia, which would be why he hated women and wanted to mutilate them. He was a master of disguises which is how he was able to carry out his nefarious deeds anonymously. He was a psychopath. That last bit isn't based on any evidence whatsoever, just circular reasoning. He must have been the killer, therefore he was a psychopath and that's why he was Jack the Ripper. Cornwall also gives poor information about psychopaths. It's as if she was quoting Wikipedia or some other tenuous source. She was also incorrect in her descriptions of John Merrick, aka the "Elephant Man". She must have gotten her information from the movie starring John Hurt. She brings him into the fold because supposedly he was one of the possible suspects to the identity of Jack the Ripper. In short, the entire book is based on "what ifs", "could and might be", "if this is true then that is also true" etc.. After reading the book I felt fully informed of Cornwell's opinion. I'm glad I checked it out of the library because I'd hate to think I encouraged sensationalist writing by helping a person get wealthy from writing such a speculative book as this one is.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark Sohn

    Dear God it's HER again... having subjected myself to her last effort I wasn't expecting much; she claims to have spent $7,000,000 researching this when after dollar one it must have patently clear she was on a loser. There is not a SCRAP of evidence connecting Sickert to the Ripper murders; worse, she contradicts herself and the last book. She tells us Sickert was rendered medically impotent by surgery to correct a penile deformity, asserting he wasn't even capable of coitus. Then she tells us Dear God it's HER again... having subjected myself to her last effort I wasn't expecting much; she claims to have spent $7,000,000 researching this when after dollar one it must have patently clear she was on a loser. There is not a SCRAP of evidence connecting Sickert to the Ripper murders; worse, she contradicts herself and the last book. She tells us Sickert was rendered medically impotent by surgery to correct a penile deformity, asserting he wasn't even capable of coitus. Then she tells us he had a son. She went to Cornwall and paid £20,000 for an old, defaced guest book she says proves Sickert was the Ripper. Because it had doodles and so did some of the letters sent to the Police. There is ZERO evidence any of the letters were genuine, many were outright hoaxes and the famous one almost certainly a fabrication by a desperate Pressman hoping to keep the story in the headlines. She asserts watermarked paper was only produced in runs of 24; no paper manufacturer would last the week with runs that small, each quire was 24 sheets in size and who makes one quire and hopes to stay afloat?. It just gets worse; to save you a LOT of boredom and headaches, try this link; https://sherlockholmesof221b.blogspot...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debra Belmudes

    Mary Stuart Masterson does a wonderful reading of Patricia Cornwell's factual analysis of English artist Walter Sickert as a candidate for Jack the Ripper. Mary Stuart Masterson does a wonderful reading of Patricia Cornwell's factual analysis of English artist Walter Sickert as a candidate for Jack the Ripper.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brittany (brittanymariereads) E.

    I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways. I enjoyed reading the sections of this book that dealt with Jack the Ripper facts. I loved all of the letters, photographs and morgue and police reports. I didn't enjoy the parts that dealt with Walter Sickert as much. Everything regarding Sickert is just a theory and prefer non-fiction books that deal entirely in fact. Just my personal preference. Overall an enjoyable read. I recommend it to anybody who enjoys true crime. I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways. I enjoyed reading the sections of this book that dealt with Jack the Ripper facts. I loved all of the letters, photographs and morgue and police reports. I didn't enjoy the parts that dealt with Walter Sickert as much. Everything regarding Sickert is just a theory and prefer non-fiction books that deal entirely in fact. Just my personal preference. Overall an enjoyable read. I recommend it to anybody who enjoys true crime.

  13. 5 out of 5

    itchy

    titular sentence: p5: During by what now is a fifteen-year investigation into the Jack the Ripper case, I've been able to find few early photographs of Sickert. ocr?: p228: One could travel by express train and "fast" steamer seven days a week, twice daily, with the trains leaving Victoria Station at 10:v in the morning or London Bridge at 10:45. Patricia's work is admirable, to say the least. It's a shame that the Ripper was never brought to justice, regardless whom. titular sentence: p5: During by what now is a fifteen-year investigation into the Jack the Ripper case, I've been able to find few early photographs of Sickert. ocr?: p228: One could travel by express train and "fast" steamer seven days a week, twice daily, with the trains leaving Victoria Station at 10:v in the morning or London Bridge at 10:45. Patricia's work is admirable, to say the least. It's a shame that the Ripper was never brought to justice, regardless whom.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mac

    Apologies for the bullet review; my brain is tired today. LIKES: -Author's discussion of the crime scenes & critiques of autopsy reports/assumptions of the presiding doctors & police. Though she often comes across as patronizing, the majority of her points make good sense. -The wealth of high-quality imagery -- scans of original documents, images, & artwork of the period. Also, THANK YOU for inserting them into the text as they're discussed rather than clumping them together in big blocks. -Info Apologies for the bullet review; my brain is tired today. LIKES: -Author's discussion of the crime scenes & critiques of autopsy reports/assumptions of the presiding doctors & police. Though she often comes across as patronizing, the majority of her points make good sense. -The wealth of high-quality imagery -- scans of original documents, images, & artwork of the period. Also, THANK YOU for inserting them into the text as they're discussed rather than clumping them together in big blocks. -Info re: 'non-Five' murders of the period. The Martha Tabram case in particular seems to have been left in the cold by overzealous Ripperologists. Less convincing but certainly plausible (also intriguing in a macabre way) are the torsos & Emily Dimmock. -Though circumstantial, the links between crime scene visuals (& other cases of the period) to Sickert's paintings & sketches were quite interesting. Are they proof positive? No, but they are definitely there, & they shouldn't be ignored. -Clearly PC has researched the hell out of both Sickert & the Ripper. I cannot but applaud her efforts (& also her salty comebacks to trolls that crawled all over her after the first edition was released). That said... DISLIKES: -Tedious & repetitive; also too much conjecture of Sickert's itineraries as related to Ripper postmarks. I get that they're crucial to her case, but they grind the narrative to a halt. Editor should have insisted on an appendix or separate (aka skippable) charts. -More tedious dissection of Ripper letters vs Sickert doodles. Again: I get why, but the doodles are less impressive in their visual links to JtR. Lots of people can draw stick figures & big noses. >:P -TANGENTS. Good grief, but the tangents were epic. -Flow & pacing. PC's choice to spread the Five throughout & wedge long gaps of other info between was a mistake. The reader is left hanging, waiting for the next of the Five to appear, & it seems like a ploy to keep the audience plodding through chapters devoted to postage, DNA, & watermarks. Mary Kelly in particular is shunted to the end -- as a grand finale? -- but all I felt was an impatience to get back to the meat & potatoes. (Sorry, Mary; no pun intended.) Anyway...as a whole product, it was interesting, but in terms of An Enjoyable Read, not so much. I give it 3.5 stars. I'm not entirely convinced, but then again I'm the type who wouldn't be shocked if the Royal Conspiracy turned out to be truth. ;) So COULD Sickert have been the Ripper? Perhaps. He might also have been nothing more than a first rate douchebag who painted gloomy, unpleasant blotches of gloomy, unpleasant subjects. Thanks to Rabbit for the buddy read. You made the watermarks bearable. ;)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teresa A. Richardson

    Never was a true crime fan ... until now. I saw the moving picture of the cover of the eBook that flashed on my kindle and was intrigued. I haven't read much crime novels in my time, some have bored me to tears. This sounds strange but, I felt compelled to read it. I thought for sure I was going to get bored by the forensics but, I found myself captivated from the very first page. I seriously couldn't put down until I was finished. I'm sorry that Ms. Cornwell had to go through so much trouble wit Never was a true crime fan ... until now. I saw the moving picture of the cover of the eBook that flashed on my kindle and was intrigued. I haven't read much crime novels in my time, some have bored me to tears. This sounds strange but, I felt compelled to read it. I thought for sure I was going to get bored by the forensics but, I found myself captivated from the very first page. I seriously couldn't put down until I was finished. I'm sorry that Ms. Cornwell had to go through so much trouble with writing and researching this book. She did a fascinating job... Kudos!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lucii Dixon

    An amazing and sensational follow up to this Author's original book; Jack the Ripper: Case Closed. More information and evidence has been brought forward and it has completely solidified my belief in Jack the Ripper being Walter Sickert. I was a firm believer it was after reading the original book, but now I'm just as certain as Patricia Cornwell. Walter Sickert was a man who ran by his own laws. He was a manipulative S.O.B. and in my opinion, a coward. His art is evil, gruesome and compelling. I An amazing and sensational follow up to this Author's original book; Jack the Ripper: Case Closed. More information and evidence has been brought forward and it has completely solidified my belief in Jack the Ripper being Walter Sickert. I was a firm believer it was after reading the original book, but now I'm just as certain as Patricia Cornwell. Walter Sickert was a man who ran by his own laws. He was a manipulative S.O.B. and in my opinion, a coward. His art is evil, gruesome and compelling. I also believe his art work wasn't even that great, compared to art I've viewed or seen in my 26 years. But that's my opinion. It's not a secret that Patricia Cornwell is my all time favourite author and I'll always ALWAYS respect her opinions, but this book provides more than opinion. It provides evidence so compelling against Sickert that in this day and age, he would have been brought to trial... and it's a shame he never did. To us, today, it's so blatantly obvious and if forensic science and less shoddy police work in the late 1800's was more like it is today, this would have been solved with no issues... okay, maybe some. I'm a patent believer in evidence and innocent until proven guilty, but in my eyes this book is so compelling, so full of information that you can't really just turn a blind eye to the FACTS. I also have to say how ashamed I am of fellow Briton's who believe it's in their right to attack or verbally assault an author, and a bloody brilliant one at that. Not everyone will have the same views, but what gives you the right to take matters into your own hands? I certainly hope the mob from the book tour don't scare the author too much into returning for another tour because I want to meet her and shake her hand. I also got a tad excited about all the animations in the book. I've never seen it in a book before and I got terribly excited when there was parts with picture animations. I was, perhaps, a little bouncy! Incredibly clever!! I also loved that this author produced images of the letters, notes, paintings, artwork, autopsy photos and crime scene photos! Another amazing book from this author, an informative and eye-opening read for sure. My brain is full to the brim with info. Thank you for bringing your personal investigation to light. It's about time someone did everything right when it comes to Jack the Ripper!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Authentikate

    Question: What do you get when a best selling crime fiction writer tackles a 130 year old true crime event? Answer: An entertainingly written ball of confusion. Here, Patricia Cornwell offers up another suspect du jour for the infamous Jack The Ripper slayings: artist Walter Sickert. We've often been taken on a Who-Done-It tour with stops at doctors and dentists, nobility, immigrants, scorned lovers, famous authors, and random fishmongers and butchers. Cornwell asks: why not a famous artist? And Question: What do you get when a best selling crime fiction writer tackles a 130 year old true crime event? Answer: An entertainingly written ball of confusion. Here, Patricia Cornwell offers up another suspect du jour for the infamous Jack The Ripper slayings: artist Walter Sickert. We've often been taken on a Who-Done-It tour with stops at doctors and dentists, nobility, immigrants, scorned lovers, famous authors, and random fishmongers and butchers. Cornwell asks: why not a famous artist? And off she goes! Her writing is engaging, I will give her that. I appreciated the tangential information on psychopaths and the well written portrait of Victorian London but the wheels screech when one objectively looks at what she espouses as "evidence." Had Walter Sickert been alive at the time this was published, a great case for libel could have been made. Cornwell, chasing loose facts and a keen imagination, undertakes what could generously be called a "hit job" or a "character assassination" in her attempt to offer Sickert up as prime suspect. Cornwell contends Sickert, who had an artist's fascination with London strumpets, the ability to wear and change costumes, a possible anti-social personality, a possible sexual deformity, and a hot temper is Jack The Ripper. She often uses coincidence as proof and where any "proof" is found, it is presented skillfully (read: not always to a scientific or legal standard, mind you). She pointed to some mitochondria DNA evidence and as a former science teacher, I can say she did a great job twisting the information to support a very misleading conclusion. Furthermore, where there is indisputable-real-actual- inarguable evidence, Cornwell disregards it almost entirely in her on-going effort to tenaciously hold to her theory. Example: for a few dates of Ripper slayings, Walter Sickert was out of the country. Cornwell uses her powers of imagination to obfuscate and confuse. This is sorta like reality TV. It's entertainment and near-fiction coated with the protective film of credibility and "reality." News flash: Keeping Up With The Kardashians is scripted and back-date edited and nothing resembling "reality" and here, Cornwell's effort finds a companion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Review This has been an interesting review of a series of murders that I didn't know much about. The information was interesting, scary, and detailed. Ms Cornwell did an exemplary job collecting and investigating the jack the ripper murders and explaining in a succinct manner all she discovered. Well done. Review This has been an interesting review of a series of murders that I didn't know much about. The information was interesting, scary, and detailed. Ms Cornwell did an exemplary job collecting and investigating the jack the ripper murders and explaining in a succinct manner all she discovered. Well done.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Shaw

    Cornwell seeks to tell us exactly how clever she is, again. This time at volume. Cornwell had previously written a book detailing exhaustively how she, personally, researched the Jack The Ripper case and had come to the conclusion that the artist Walter Sickert is the one true Ripper. Countless tomes, articles and films have been made to try to explain who the Ripper was. I admit it is a tantalizing mystery, this madman who terrorized London in the 1890s and captivated the World ever since. However the Cornwell seeks to tell us exactly how clever she is, again. This time at volume. Cornwell had previously written a book detailing exhaustively how she, personally, researched the Jack The Ripper case and had come to the conclusion that the artist Walter Sickert is the one true Ripper. Countless tomes, articles and films have been made to try to explain who the Ripper was. I admit it is a tantalizing mystery, this madman who terrorized London in the 1890s and captivated the World ever since. However the truth is his identity is lost to time. As much fun as it is to play guessing games barring time travel or a note hidden in the Palace in Victoria's own hand detailing the Royal cover up the Ripperologists(why is this even a word?) insist had to have happened. We will just never know. This book is nothing but running out Cornwells' ego and giving us all a good look so we can see how smart she is.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wolak

    I read Cornwell's first book on the subject, PORTRAIT OF A KILLER: JACK THE RIPPER -- CASE CLOSED, when it first came out in 2002. That first Ripper book had a lot of pre-publication buzz. I read the book because I was a relatively new fan of Cornwell's fiction (I started reading her in 1999) and I thought it would be interesting to see how she applied modern investigative techniques and technology to a historic--and still open--case. Plus, I love reading about the 19th century. This updated and I read Cornwell's first book on the subject, PORTRAIT OF A KILLER: JACK THE RIPPER -- CASE CLOSED, when it first came out in 2002. That first Ripper book had a lot of pre-publication buzz. I read the book because I was a relatively new fan of Cornwell's fiction (I started reading her in 1999) and I thought it would be interesting to see how she applied modern investigative techniques and technology to a historic--and still open--case. Plus, I love reading about the 19th century. This updated and expanded book is definitely worth a revisit. Read my full review here: http://www.wildmoobooks.com/2017/02/p...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    I read the first book of Cornwell's on the subject and wasn't convinced. This one seems much more coherent. I don't agree with everything, there is a lot of "maybe he did this", "maybe he thought that", but with an old case when forensic science was unavailable, there will likely never be a definitive answer. I think that Cornwell got the character correct; a psychopath, taunting, malicious, wanting to prove he was more intelligent than Scotland Yard. The murders not counted as one of the 'canon I read the first book of Cornwell's on the subject and wasn't convinced. This one seems much more coherent. I don't agree with everything, there is a lot of "maybe he did this", "maybe he thought that", but with an old case when forensic science was unavailable, there will likely never be a definitive answer. I think that Cornwell got the character correct; a psychopath, taunting, malicious, wanting to prove he was more intelligent than Scotland Yard. The murders not counted as one of the 'canon five murders', also make sense - I never bought into the notion that he committed suicide or stopped killing. Either option seems out of character: an evolving, changing killer seems much more likely. Whether WS was JtR or not, he seemed from this book to have a decidedly odd personality and seemed obsessed with the case. I found the music hall sketches which seem to put WS in London at the right time interesting and I would like to know the rebuttal, in light of these sketches, from those who believe he wasn't in the country at the time of some of the murders. I didn't get the sense that Cornwell was being arrogant about this, trying to show off that she was cleverer than everyone else, and I find some of the reviews unfathomably hostile. Overall the book is interesting and thought-provoking. There are some people and crimes in the book that I would definitely like to learn more about, however, I find the case evidence is still inconclusive. Rating: 3.5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I could not suspend disbelief for this book. I felt like W.S. was being railroaded by P.Cornwell. So, I quit out of getting no enjoyment other than the heft and smell of the actual book. I am okay with not knowing the identity of Jack the Ripper.

  23. 4 out of 5

    CherylAnn

    Interesting, but unconvincing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    I think this is an interesting mystery and a whodunit book. The author could be credibly characterized as obsessed with the artist Walter Sickert. I am not convinced, though, that he actually carried out the Ripper murders. He was a strange man and a talented artist, but Jack the Ripper? I'm just not in sync with the author on this one, though I think for non-fiction mysteries and the detective work that goes with it, this book is thorough and well-developed. I think this is an interesting mystery and a whodunit book. The author could be credibly characterized as obsessed with the artist Walter Sickert. I am not convinced, though, that he actually carried out the Ripper murders. He was a strange man and a talented artist, but Jack the Ripper? I'm just not in sync with the author on this one, though I think for non-fiction mysteries and the detective work that goes with it, this book is thorough and well-developed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

    I listened to this on Audible, and honestly, it took me nearly a year to finish it. I finally bit the bullet and just listened to the last four hours that had been glaring at me for the last few months but avoiding. This honestly, fascinates me. The theories behind who Jack the Ripper really was has always been something that I just want to delve into further. So I'm really not sure what made this nearly 15-hour audiobook feel like 100. Possibly, it was the narrator, she wasn't my favorite and d I listened to this on Audible, and honestly, it took me nearly a year to finish it. I finally bit the bullet and just listened to the last four hours that had been glaring at me for the last few months but avoiding. This honestly, fascinates me. The theories behind who Jack the Ripper really was has always been something that I just want to delve into further. So I'm really not sure what made this nearly 15-hour audiobook feel like 100. Possibly, it was the narrator, she wasn't my favorite and didn't really add anything to a book topic that has the potential of being amazingly fascinating. And I think I would have finished it sooner had I read it, rather than listened to it. All that said, Patricia Cornwell makes some strong and excellent points as to her theory. I'm not ready to jump on the Walter Sickert bandwagon just yet, but I'm not terribly opposed to the idea of him being the Ripper either. Personally, I would suggest reading this, rather than listen to it, but I think if you're interested in different Ripper theories, this isn't one you should miss.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    Thought Provoking and Intriguing Forensics This book jumped out at me during a time that I had been feeling a little lost on reading, but Ms. Cornwell certainly pulled me out of that funk. I find the abnormal psychology fascinating, so people who like these explorations will certainly appreciate this book. One of the great aspects is really getting a look into the vast amount of forensic research for this work. Ms. Cornwell presents compelling arguments, but also backs them up with facts as well Thought Provoking and Intriguing Forensics This book jumped out at me during a time that I had been feeling a little lost on reading, but Ms. Cornwell certainly pulled me out of that funk. I find the abnormal psychology fascinating, so people who like these explorations will certainly appreciate this book. One of the great aspects is really getting a look into the vast amount of forensic research for this work. Ms. Cornwell presents compelling arguments, but also backs them up with facts as well as theories. As she herself states, one doesn't have to agree, just to think and consider. This is an easy and page turning read, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Ripper, criminal cold cases, or even the history of Victorian London. Ms. Cornwell also does a great service to the victims of these crimes, allowing them to present as people, and not just the forgotten women (and possibly children) who fell to what would become an iconic monster. The author's candor about her own experience with this work is also admirable, and I found this to be just the right book to get those cognitive wheels spinning.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    Over the years, I have read a number of books exploring who Jack the Ripper really was. Physician? Royalty? Here, novelist Patricia Cornwell (who has a background in forensics) examines this question. Upfront, she indicates that she speculates that the artist Walter Sickert was the Ripper. She traces his life from painful medical challenges when he was very young onward. She notes that he was in proximity to venues where the Ripper murdered women. She covers his travels, notes some of his paintin Over the years, I have read a number of books exploring who Jack the Ripper really was. Physician? Royalty? Here, novelist Patricia Cornwell (who has a background in forensics) examines this question. Upfront, she indicates that she speculates that the artist Walter Sickert was the Ripper. She traces his life from painful medical challenges when he was very young onward. She notes that he was in proximity to venues where the Ripper murdered women. She covers his travels, notes some of his paintings which suggest nefarious behavior, and develops other activities which suggest that he might have been culpable. This is a fascinating work and well researched. She and a team used forensic techniques to explore evidence and to see if it suggests anything about Sickert's role and the Ripper's technique. Who knows if she is right, but this seems to me to be one of the more persuasive cases made as to whom the Ripper might have been.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Book is filled with conjecture. She basically implied that she didn’t dig into information if that information didn’t fit with Sickert being Jack the Ripper. It’s a good thing she took Case Closed off the title. Sickert’s lawyer would have a field day.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Quite a while ago I read the previous book that the author had written, the prematurely and unfortunately titled "Case Closed," and this book basically falls in line with the previous volume. One thing this book does is to demonstrate the rather primitive nature of forensic efforts in the late 19th century. And whether or not Sickert was in fact a serial killer, he behaved in ways that were definitely troublesome. His proliferation of dark rented quarters, his hostile view towards women, and his Quite a while ago I read the previous book that the author had written, the prematurely and unfortunately titled "Case Closed," and this book basically falls in line with the previous volume. One thing this book does is to demonstrate the rather primitive nature of forensic efforts in the late 19th century. And whether or not Sickert was in fact a serial killer, he behaved in ways that were definitely troublesome. His proliferation of dark rented quarters, his hostile view towards women, and his obsession with matters dark and criminal, all of these would attract suspicion in a reasonably competent modern investigation of the crime. The greater ability at present to gather physical evidence has made it easier to solve cold cases as long as the evidence of the past has been preserved well to the future. And if there is one thing that is true in the ripper cases, however widely they are defined (and the author goes well beyond the canonical five), is that the evidence relating to these cases was not gathered well or preserved well. And, unfortunately, the choice of victims was largely the sort of people who were not cared about by society and the police at large. This book is a large one at a bit more than 500 pages long and it is divided into 35 chapters. The book begins with a look at Mr. Sickert as Mr. Nobody (1), then discusses the unfortunates (2) and their unknown killer (3), before returning to discuss the painter as a boy (4) and his ambiguous sexuality in the eyes of his family (6). There are chapters about Sickert's first wife (7). Included in the chapters are discussions about the supposed royal conspiracy (11), as well as Sickert's interest in bleeding corpses in his art (12), and the question of instant death (13) as well as the system of coroners that had been established in England to solve crimes (16). The author tries to connect the painter in his ordinary and private life and his letters--some of which are admittedly pretty disturbing, as well as the behavior of the ripper letters which adopt various Americanisms and the same sort of language (19, 20). Other chapters focus on clues like a black bag (23), other crimes that could be connected to the Ripper (30), speculations of how the Ripper may have controlled the discovery of the crime through the use of keys (31), and even Sickert's fondness for Cornish poetry that is suggestive of the Ripper (33). If this case is by no means definitive, nor can it be at this late day, it certainly makes for thought-provoking reading, that is for sure. This book is rather sad when one thinks about it. Included in the book are a lot of details about the lives of the victims as well as of the painter and main subject of the book that are somewhat heartbreaking. As one might imagine, the case, such as it is, is rather circumstantial, but that is largely a product of what is going on. It is clear, at least at present, that if someone behaved as Siekert did that there would be a great deal of suspicion on him as a person. His interest in painting the crime scenes would have been seen as a bit suspicious, and his own habits of rambling and enjoying gambling dens and adopting various styles of handwriting and disguises would all attract a great deal of scrutiny. Why, after all, would someone want to hide so deeply unless they had something to hide, and that would prompt people to investigate him, which apparently no one thought to do at the time. Additionally, it appears that the narrow focus on five ripper crimes fails to account for the ripper's possible behaviors outside of London as well as the fact that he had multiple victim profiles, which would have provided more insight into who he was as a person. In particular, the author makes much of a supposed connection between what Sickert suffered medically as a child and the sort of mutilation that she argues the Ripper inflicted on various boys, which is deeply unpleasant but also highly suggestive.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Case Remains Open The author treads on many toes and upsets hard-core 'Ripperologists' and surviving relatives of the Sickert family in boldly naming artist Walter Sickert as Jack. She spent much money in an obsessive pursuit of firm evidence, but ends up with none, only a circumstantial case that would most likely get a 'not guilty' verdict if brought to court. The paintings of Sickert may show a tormented soul with a grim fascination for violence and murder, but East London at the time was a gr Case Remains Open The author treads on many toes and upsets hard-core 'Ripperologists' and surviving relatives of the Sickert family in boldly naming artist Walter Sickert as Jack. She spent much money in an obsessive pursuit of firm evidence, but ends up with none, only a circumstantial case that would most likely get a 'not guilty' verdict if brought to court. The paintings of Sickert may show a tormented soul with a grim fascination for violence and murder, but East London at the time was a grim and violent place. Was Sickert emasculated in childhood surgery? Was this the source of a deep hatred of women for the thrice-married bohemian? I doesn't quite add up for me. Still, the author has contributed to the debate and does not deserve the threats and abuse her study has attracted. The best part of this book is the final chapter, where she talks about how she first became involved in this investigation. Was it the ghost of Sickert or another as yet unidentified Ripper suspect who haunted her whilst she investigated the gruesome murders? Her assertion that the Ripper letters were written by a clever, devious, artistic sadist pretending to be a low-class fool are yet another tantalising and chilling aspect of this morbidly fascinating case.

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