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Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook
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Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  861 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Discover the theories & facts surrounding the Whitechapel murders in David Rumbelow's "The Complete Jack the Ripper".
It's 1888 in London's Whitechapel district, where one by one a group of prostitutes are brutally murdered. Opium smoking Inspector Fred Abberline is called upon to investigate these horrific murders & thru his visions track down & trap Jack the
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published September 28th 1988 by Contemporary Books (Chicago) (first published January 1st 1975)
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Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

I originally rated this 4 stars last night after finishing it, but after a night's sleep, I lowered it to 3.5 stars. Not a big difference, but upon reflection, I think that one of the reasons I enjoyed Rumbelow's book was also, weirdly enough, why I lowered my rating. Here's why: Rumbelow isn't a writer by profession. He was actually a City of London policeman for several years before becoming a writer. His approach to Jack was from a different perspective, and I e
This book was recommended to me by an odd elderly man (who seemed to know a little too much about serial killers) that I met in the True Crime section at a used book warehouse. I did not know anything at all about Jack the Ripper. I took the book home and asked my husband what he knew about the serial killer. He told me he only knew three things "for sure". One was that he lured his victims to him using grapes (which were considered rare), two that he murdered prostitutes, and three that the pol ...more
Well I quite have read a few about this subject,but I still can read further on. There is so much to read, so much fascination surroundings of one of the greatest unsolved murder ever.
Rumbelow sets the crimes firmly in their historical settings,deduce and examines the evidence from the Ripper letters over the victims to the suspects.
This book took me a while, I needed some time to get used to his style of writting and his way of rolling up the story. He starts which a journey to the outcast Lond
The last time I read this unsensational guide to Jack the Ripper I was a, no doubt quite morbid, teenager. Reading it as a more well rounded adult (one hopes anyway), I have to say that it holds up really well. Originally published in 1975, former police officer Rumbelow sifts his way through the evidence in a way that is dispassionate and avoids outlandish theories (which makes it somewhat odd that the introduction to my edition is by Colin Wilson, a man always fond of outlandish theories. But ...more
This book is not as good as Philip Sugden's wonderful The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. It was written in the 1970s and is dated as a result; much new information has come to light since then. It also has some inaccuracies, for example repeating the old fable of Mary Kelly's pregnancy. But it was still a worthwhile read for its detail. I particularly enjoyed the section on the various improbable suspects people suggested, something which was missing from Sugden's book. This is a worthy ad ...more
I first read this book when I was 12 years old. Checked it out of the Scenic Regional Library every summer after that until I went to college. Visited London with my parents in the 1990's and took the Jack the Ripper pub crawl. Guess who was the guide????? Yes, Donald Rumbelow! I was thrilled. Great memory.
Really informative. At times, perhaps, a bit too informative. It gave me nightmares. I highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in the subject. It does not provide the answer, but asks a lot of questions, and shows the flaws in many of the myths.
Overall, enjoyable. Came across the Book Club print of this the day after it was announced that the Ripper's DNA had been discovered on a victim's scarf, and this was a nice counterpoint to recent news articles and, as copyright is 1975, and interesting point of comparison to what is known and assessed today.. Appreciate the laying out of the social and historical milieu, the evidence and timeline of events - definitely strengths. The Ripper in pop culture sections feel like (and most are) fille ...more
Flew Flewelling
I must begin by saying that I wasn't sure I really wanted to read this book. I'm not into serial killings or such, but had a friend that just wouldn't take no for an answer. The beginning was a little tough as I knew little to nothing about Jack the Ripper or the streets of London where his killings took place.

What I was impressed with, was the journey that the author takes you on. He begins by setting the stage and describing what London, and more specifically, Whitechapel was like just before
Chiara Deathsy
As stated by others, Don Rumbelow is surely one of the Top Ripperologists, but no great writer. I got the latest and updated version of this book and could learn about some "new facts", as Rumbelow published some documents in full length for the very first time.

I also liked that he tried to give valuable arguments for Stride not being a Ripper victim. That also showed a development in his view of the case.

That said, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed by the short section dedicated to
I'm not really big into true crime the way that my mother is. She'll devour the stuff, whether the written word, a news report, or one of the many true crime shows on cable. I kinda pick at it here and there--I'll watch the shows but not so much with the books. But when this tome, said to be one of the most comprehensive on Jack the Ripper, came to my notice, I decided to give it a whirl. The results were quite impressive.

Jack the Ripper is one of those cases that, despite the fact that there ha
This book was interesting for various reasons, especially the chapter on the modern Jack The Rippers. I didn't realize these people existed but they commit multiple murders in the guise of Jack the Ripper, wanting to be like him. How awful!!
Surprisingly, the most boring chapter was the one about the suspects. Interesting but not tantalizing.
All in all, I recommend the book for anyone interested in Jack's story. It covers many angles of the case, the politics within the police force, the suspec
Aug 28, 2008 D.M. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime enthusiasts and those interested in Victorian life.
The missus picked up this revised edition on her trip to London last year, when she went on the 'Ripper Walk' hosted by the authour himself! I already owned a copy of the original hardcover, and she had to point out to me that not only was this one updated and revised, but that it was signed by Rumbelow to me. How much do I love her?
This is, simply, the best, most authoritative and readable book I've come across about Jack the Ripper. Rumbelow is THE authourity on the subject, and his contributi
Jim Dooley
Probably the greatest archivist of Jack the Ripper materials wrote the definitive book on what actually occurred during those horrifying months. He also presents the most harrowing photographs taken by police photographers, especially at the site of the final murder.

You won't find identity answers here. The author does not speculate on the identity of the Ripper, although he does provide details of the most infamous suspects.

In addition to case details, I also learned more about "class" issues i
This book was quite interesting. It talks about, perhaps, the most famous serial killer ever. The best thing about this work is the exhaustive way it examines the figure of the Ripper. It is not a resumed version of the story, on the contrary, it even provides original pictures from the Whitechapel murders and analises one by one, all victimology, all suspects, all possible theories... very illustrative.
Definitely the most comprehensive book I've read on the subject. I also really liked that the author does not try to sway you toward any particular subject, he just presents the facts and theories in an objective manner. Like he says, no one will ever know who Jack the Ripper was, and most likely it was someone no one ever thought about.
Daniel Penfold
By far and away the best book currently in print regarding the Ripper murders. If you pick this up expecting the solution to the murders then put the book back down again it doesn't provide it. What it does do and skilfully at that is to take the reader through all of the evidence, from a general background of the Eastend, to the nights of the murders and the blunders made by the various police forces. Finally it turns to each of the suspects and examines them in the likelihood of what is known ...more
The first of the RIpper books that I ever read, and it made me a lifelong -well, person of interest. I'm not a fan of reading serial killer books, but historical crimes, especially unsolved ones, interest me greatly and this book drew me in hook line and sinker.
Parts of the writing are a bit stiff and unemotional; however I'm not sure how that could change being that it is recounting the facts and only the facts as far as the author can tell. It is a great read, with excellent theories and pres
While Rumbelow presents the different obscure rumours that surround Jack's stories he doesn't speculate with them too much. He just shows facts as they are. I was also surprised how much details have been able to find out about the people involved. Would recommend this to everyone who want a comprehensive case-book about the famous murders but not to those who just need to have an introduction. As I said, the book includes lots of details. Warning should also be in order : couple of mortuary pho ...more
Since going on a Jack the Ripper walking tour in Whitechapel earlier this year (or maybe even before that), I've wanted to study up a bit on the elusive killer.

This was the first book that I read to do so.

This seems to have been a good one to start with. It gives a comprehensive timeline of the murders (complete with plenty of dates, facts, details), discusses the effect that ol' Jack has had on popular culture, and gives details on later similar killers.

All in all, a good history and examinati
Aug 31, 2009 Tiffany rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: detectives, criminologists, historians, Anglophiles, mystery buffs
Wow, he covers everything in this book! There are photos, sketches, theories, letters, everything to make you really want to know--Who was Jack the Ripper? I read this book shortly before moving to London, and then I felt quite knowledgable whilst passing the Jack The Ripper evening tours through Whitechapel. To read it and then be IN the places where it all happened hits close to home. You hear so much about the notion of Jack the Ripper, but there are the pictures in the book and the eerie bit ...more
Although this book was stuffed with information, and extremely interesting in parts, I found myself losing interest. I enjoyed learning more about the victims, and the conditions that the people of whitechapel were inhabiting. It painted such an awful atmosphere; perfect for murder. However, there was a lot of rambling in the book, and contained mundane information that even the most die-hard amateur ripperologists would be bored with. I recommend the first 5 chapters, after that be prepared to ...more
A fantastic, but hard to read book. With so many facts, figures, names and dates it is a well padded book with Rumbelow not pointing the finger at anyone inparticular and saying 'I think he/she/it was the Ripper', which I have read in another Ripper book by a different author.

I especially enjoyed the 'Beyond the Grave' section of the book, in which Rumbelow goes into great detail of Ripper style murders which were taking place worldwide.

A great read, but not one to take to bed, especially when s
Although I don't agree with some of the suppositions behind the "sexualized" nature of the Ripper's motives (the book was written in the 70's, and I'm forgiving it for its poor suppositions based on its age - we all know that "sex crimes" have more to do with power and control than sexual urges), this is a fascinating and detailed look at the context surrounding the Ripper murders. There's quite a bit of history included about life for the lower classes in Victorian East End London.
Jaime Contreras
For those of you who always wanted to read a comprehensive history of the jack the Ripper murders, legends and facts, this is THE book for you. the author meticulously retraces the investigation, dismisses every rumor, examines alternative theories, possible suspects and the impact of the case on criminology. I would recommend this to criminologists, historians and conspiracy lovers. The book is crammed with facts and theories. I enjoyed this large book.
this book was crazy. it was filled with facts and suspicion and suspects and it was irritating cos it still doesn't answer the question of who was jack the ripper. some parts were really gruesome and the descriptions of the killings were fully materialized in my head with the photographs they had in the middle of the book. i think the part that really shook me was that people still try to imitate jack the ripper in current times. it's sick!
I did the Ripper tour with Donald about 13 years ago. I've had a strong interest in the story for as long as I can remember, as well as anything Victorian. Being an ex police officer he has access to the Black Museum in New Scotland Yard. If you're not in the job, no access. I think he's as close as anyone will get to the truth. If you're ever in London and he's still doing the tours, it's a must do. I loved every eerie second of it.
John Hardin
The best book on the mystery of the Whitechapel murders. Every crime scene is gone over thoroughly and all suspects are profiled in detail. The book offers no theory on who the killer was, but no book that I've read so far offers any "smoking gun" evidence on the identity of Jack the Ripper. This one comes close and the reader is left with the task of figuring out who the culprit was.
Leigh  Porch
Apr 19, 2008 Leigh Porch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime lovers
Shelves: read-non-fiction
This is a complete overview of the Jack the Ripper case and its various suspects. I don't know enough to speak to the quality of his suspect theory, but his knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the time is impressive. I had the opportunity to take a Jack the Ripper tour in London once with this author, and his knowledge is just as impressive in person.
The most fascinating thing about the Ripper case is that it is based on so many accounts and speculation that the concept of fact can become blurred. This book is no different, but it offers good argument and considers alternatives in regards to who the Ripper was, why he/she/they did it and the sinister idea they were doing this to further police work.
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