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Of Thimble and Threat: The Life of a Ripper Victim (Jack the Ripper Victims Series #1)

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4.61  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Each volume within the Jack the Ripper Victims Series is a stand-alone novel.

In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable suffering. Ever-present in its streets are rats, parasites, filth, death, decay, danger and sorrow. Catherine Eddowes
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Paperback, 168 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Lazy Fascist Press
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Amy Sturgis
This elegant and moving little novel takes its inspiration from the personal effects found on the body of Catherine Eddowes after her murder during the Autumn of Terror in 1888. Eddowes apparently carried all that she owned in the world with her, and Alan M. Clark extrapolates a life story from these items. The result is a powerful and well-researched meditation on the conditions faced by women in the East End of London during the late Victorian period. This is not a novel about Jack the Ripper ...more
Pigge
Nov 14, 2011 Pigge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-fiction
Curious about a tale based on a Ripper victim's possessions, I settled into a book that I thought would last me a few evenings...but I could not put Of Thimble and Threat down until the end. Alan Clark creates the thickly atmospheric backstreets, bars and working folks of Victorian London realistically through Kate's struggles for a decent existence. Her yearnings and perseverance had me rooting for her the whole way. I experienced a sensory read of London's seedier side - I could see it, hear ...more
Charles
Dec 05, 2013 Charles rated it it was amazing
Catherine Eddowes was the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper. The police made a list of everything that was found on her body at the murder scene. Those few belongings might have been everything she owned.

In Of Thimble and Threat, Alan M. Clark builds a heartbreaking fictionalized account of Catherine’s life around that list. Like a trail of bread crumbs, it takes you from start to finish through a life of ambition, rejection, motherhood, poverty, alcoholism and dashed dreams to the fateful night
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Eric M. Witchey
Feb 20, 2012 Eric M. Witchey rated it it was amazing
Alan M. Clark grabbed my heart, twisted it, and tugged on it all the way from page one to page last. I have to admit that I did not want to read about the victim of one of the first, and arguably the most famous, serial killers. However, Clark's portray of the psychological reality of Catherine Eddowe's life from childhood to the fateful moment was so compelling that I could not put the book down. It was a fast, powerful read, and it left me looking at the world in which I live a little ...more
Martin
Apr 26, 2012 Martin rated it it was amazing
If you've been put off from reading this book because it's written by an American or you think it's going to be just Jack ripping his merry way through Old London town aka Charles Dickens' Friday 13th then you are depriving yourself of the chance to read an outstanding book. Alan Clark has written a brilliant novel highlighting the social horrors of life in Victorian England, which is far more relevant today than a hockey mask maniac or a pantomime villain in top hat and tails.
Caleb Wilson
Feb 18, 2012 Caleb Wilson rated it it was amazing
Very very good: almost unbearably sad, but not grim. Actually it is a little bit grim, especially since you know from the start exactly how it's going to end, but it's not humorless. (In particularly one description of a pub made me laugh, and I'll be adding it to my list of favorite metaphors.)
Tristan
May 07, 2012 Tristan rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I totally wasn't expecting this book. This one hit me on a lot of levels. This one is so good.The more I think about this book, the more I appreciate it. This is one of the best books that I have read this year.
Vittoria Corella
Jan 09, 2012 Vittoria Corella rated it it was amazing
Gloom vanished pretty quickly. But I’m a heartless person, you know. Well, not that heartless: I still have a stump here in my chest, spurting blood and tears. Occasionally.

Kate Eddowes is the main character of this book and perhaps the penultimate victim of Jack The Ripper. She was a poor child raised by heartless (uhm…) relatives, the uncle incestuous as well as cruel. Then she gets married to escape a life of serfdom. “Where’s the big change in that?” you might ask. I ask that too: her husban
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E.P.
Jan 22, 2016 E.P. rated it it was amazing
I was a little apprehensive when I started this novel, since I'm not a big fan of "serial killer" fiction and I was afraid I would end up traumatized for life by it. However, this is not about serial killers and their crimes, but about the complex, tragic, uplifting life of one of Jack the Ripper's victims. We follow Katie (Catherine Eddowes) as she is orphaned as a young teenager and forced to rely on her wits and the charity of others as she tries to stay out of the workhouse and claw her way ...more
Sam McCanna
Happiness, love and motherhood... Poverty, loss, and murder...

This is the story of the life of a victim of Jack the Ripper, based on a list of the possessions she had on her person at her time of death.

Going into the story I was expecting to be depressed by the inevitable ending, however, what I found was much more fascinating than anything else. It is a story of a woman's life, from her childhood until her murder, but the things she goes through, and the city and time she lives in are so grim
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J.W. Wargo
Feb 19, 2013 J.W. Wargo rated it it was amazing
SPOILER ALERT: She dies in the end.

Er... With a subtitle like "The Life of a Ripper Victim", I guess that really doesn't spoil much.

Jokes help. My my, do they ever with this book. A great read but thoroughly depressing. Your heart rejoices with every little victory Katie manages to claim, knowing full well no matter how high she soars or low she dips her end will be a gruesome one.

Even more interesting than Katie's life of struggle is the world she inhabits. Many books set in Victorian era Engla
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Dan Sauer
Aug 14, 2015 Dan Sauer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've long admired Alan M. Clark's artwork (he's a visual artist and illustrator of considerable talent), and I was pleased to learn he also writes fiction. With "Of Thimble and Threat," Mr. Clark has conjured an atmospheric and touching story out of the sad list of belongings found on the body of the ripper's fourth victim, Catherine "Kate" Eddowes. Considering her fate, it would have been easy for this exercise to veer into territory too depressing for most readers. Kate's life (as ...more
Rena Mason
Aug 12, 2013 Rena Mason rated it it was amazing
This is the second novel I've read by this author, the first one was A PARLIAMENT OF CROWS, which I was also a big fan of. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read and OF THIMBLE AND THREAT: THE LIFE OF A RIPPER VICTIM did not disappoint. It's far too often that we tend not to put faces and lives to victims of the past, but their stories are ones that need to be told and known, even if they are woven into a work of fiction. This author does it so well. Besides having a wonderful, ...more
Eric M. Witchey
Feb 19, 2012 Eric M. Witchey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alan M. Clark grabbed my heart, twisted it, and tugged on it all the way from page one to page last. I have to admit that I did not want to read about the victim of one of the first, and arguably the most famous, serial killers. However, Clark's portray of the psychological reality of Catherine Eddowe's life from childhood to the fateful moment was so compelling that I could not put the book down. It was a fast, powerful read, and it left me looking at the world in which I live a little ...more
Rodney
When first hearing about this book, I thought the idea of using the items found on the person of Jack the Ripper's 4th victim very intriguing.
The book did that and so much more. Alan M. Clark really showcases how well he can tell a story. There is no interest in treading anywhere near a typical Ripper tale. The items are used brilliantly as a guide into what could've been Catherine Eddowes life story. I found it quite moving, with strong, memorable characters throughout. Highly recommended.
Ian
Apr 12, 2012 Ian rated it it was amazing
I liked the atmosphere this story sets. The gritty London streets were fascinating rather than depressing like I thought the story might become. The premise of following the life of a victim of Jack The Ripper was also done well. Although you know the fate of that character, it actually never overshadows the events in the tale, but it does contribute to the melancholy feeling of the story that I liked.
Bix Skahill
Aug 05, 2014 Bix Skahill rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of the last year. In Of Thimble and Threat, Clark examines the dismal life of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, through all the possessions she carried with her when she died. An interesting approach to historical fiction, and Clark is an amazing writer.
Tara Bush
Aug 31, 2014 Tara Bush rated it really liked it
Not a story about Jack the Ripper, but of the life of one of his victims. It really delves into what life was like for a women in London back then. I was intrigued and stayed up much too late because I wanted to see what would happen next. Obviously, she is murdered in the end, but that's only given about a paragraph worth of words. The story is about her life, not her death.
Jeremy Maddux
Jan 30, 2014 Jeremy Maddux rated it it was amazing
Alan M. Clark embellishes nothing as he reimagines the short life of Catherine Eddowes with an astounding eye to historical detail. He takes a fringe curiosity, that being the items carried on the person of the fourth Whitechapel murder victim, and uses them as an entry point to better understand the lost soul that was plowed down by the menace that would become known as Jack the Ripper. But it's important not to set your bar of expectations to the level of scandals, conspiracy theories or ...more
Jon Mohning
Jon Mohning rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2016
June Edwards
June Edwards rated it liked it
Mar 20, 2015
David Nicholls
David Nicholls rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2014
Bix
Bix rated it it was amazing
Aug 15, 2013
Nicolas Wysocki
Nicolas Wysocki rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2012
Laurie Ewing McNichols
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Feb 02, 2015
Melody Clark
Melody Clark rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2016
Joseph Stiles
Joseph Stiles rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2016
Oe Nj
Oe Nj rated it really liked it
May 12, 2012
Sascha Vennemann
Sascha Vennemann rated it liked it
Jan 19, 2015
Dieter Annecke
Dieter Annecke rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2013
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Fun Facts About Victorian London 3 8 May 07, 2012 06:03PM  
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Author and illustrator, Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. His awards include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. He is the author of seveteen books, including ten novels, a lavishly illustrated novella, four collections of fiction, and a nonfiction full-color book of his artwork. Mr. Clark's company, IFD Publishing, has released 42 ...more
More about Alan M. Clark...

Other Books in the Series

Jack the Ripper Victims Series (4 books)
  • Say Anything But Your Prayers
  • A Brutal Chill in August: A Novel of Polly Nichols, The First Victim of Jack the Ripper
  • Jack the Ripper Victims Series: The Double Event

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