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Naming Jack the Ripper

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  749 ratings  ·  148 reviews
After 125 years of theorizing and speculation regarding the identity of Jack the Ripper, Russell Edwards is in the unique position of owning the first physical evidence relating to the crimes to have emerged since 1888. This evidence is from one of the crime scenes, and has now been rigorously examined by some of the most highly-qualified forensic scientists in the country ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Dannii Elle
My macabre fascination with the topic of the Ripper murders led me to purchase this book some years ago. It wasn't until a scheduled Ripper walk around London, earlier this month, that I was tempted to pick it up, however.

The history of the murders was recounted in lively detail and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my walk could provide me with no new information that this book had not already covered. If you have an interest in the subject, much of the first part of the book may prov
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather like the Patricia Cornwell book, “Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed,” this book takes a particular suspect and attempts to build a case around him. The problem with this approach is that you could probably do the same around many other possible suspects and – like the Cornwell book - I remain unconvinced by this book. However, at least the author of this work does attempt to build his case around some kind of evidence and not just supposition and rumour.

In this book, Edw
Lindsay Stamhuis
While it's true that I devoured this book in a little less than 4 hours (according to time logged on my e-reader) I'm sorry to say it's not because the material was incredibly fascinating. Much of it is repeat information Ripperologists will know by heart (names and backstories of the victims, dates of the crimes committed, etc.) but what should have been the most interesting part--the scientific discovery of DNA evidence linking someone, finally, to the 1888 Whitechapel murders commonly accepte ...more
Andrew Garvey
I'd originally posted a huge, and fairly damning review of this massively frustrating book. But I'd rather keep my Goodreads reviews a little shorter. So, if you want the full version, please go to:

If you want the shorter version, here it is...

Russell Edwards' proclamation that he has “incontrovertible proof, the kind of proof that would stand up to any cross-examination in a courtroom today" of the Ripper's identity simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Eva Müller
Fuck it. I tried, but I am not going to fight my way through a book in which the author first spent two chapters on himself before coming to Jack the Ripper. In these chapters, we are entertained with such tragic stories like that time he was on holidays and ran out oft money so he had to work for a while before he could go back. He explains us that this means he can understand the Ripper victims better because they also had no I am not kidding. I mean he also says that he cares a lot ...more
For some bizarre reason, I like to read about Jack the Ripper. Perhaps it is because the identity of the killer has never been announced. Or perhaps it is due to Scotland Yard refusing to un-seal the almost 130 year-old records. Not really sure why, but that's my explanation for my fascination.

In this book, businessman Russell Edwards provides a new angle to the mystery with some fairly decent back-up research to provide his revelation. In essence, he purchased the shawl which is thought to have
Missi Nussbaum
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russell Edwards is an oversharer.

This is not a particularly damning character trait, but it did grate on me as I worked my way through this book. He delves into his childhood, his ancestry, his babies' deaths. No point in his journey is free from his emotional reminiscences. He's so eager for us, the readers, to take him seriously, and to know that he's not some quack. He's deadly earnest that you listen to his story, and that desperation just pours off the page. If this book had a smell, it'd b
Extremely fascinating book detailing the author's research into the identity of "Jack the Ripper" -- although this is apparently his first book, there are very few obvious missteps in the writing, rather it comes across as being quite accessible to the reader. Edwards does repeat himself a bit, but this is understandable when you consider how carefully he is presenting his evidence.

I especially enjoyed the details of the scientific process of extracting and analyzing the DNA, as well as learnin
first price to the worst non fiction book ever goes to this one! the author should be proud of that, which i am sure he is since he does love not only talking about himself but winning at things that nobody cares about and bragging about it! so here you go! first price it is! i can’t imagine anyone will take it away anytime soon!

how is it possible to write a book about a historic event and spin it so that the author seems himself as the smartest, most brilliant and overall best human ever i
Kelly Furniss
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was picked by my bookclub and not knowing a huge deal about the murders I was excited to read it.
The author presents his case to name the Ripper revolved around a shawl allegedly taken from one of the victims which came to be in his possession through an auction. His conclusion is backed up with modern DNA forensic testing and a clue about the pattern on the shawl he believes had been missed until he made the breakthrough.
I really enjoyed learning the fine details about DNA testing, tracin
Harry Sahl
Can a book be interesting and frustrating at the same time? Yes! When the author is so pompous, it makes the book less readable. However, the subject matter and details were fascinating enough to keep me reading. After getting through the first chapter of the author’s wife, kids, vacations, and other personal asides, the book picks up pace and it could have been a very good tale of one man’s journey to find who was Jack the Ripper. But, too many times throughout the other chapters we are reminde ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been fascinated by Jack the Ripper for many years now and have even done one of the Ripper Walks in London. I was resigned to the fact that I would never know who the killer was.

When I first heard about this book I must admit I was sceptical. There has been so many books claiming to state who the killer really was and of course are often based on very little real evidence at all. Therefore I really didn't expect to finish this book and agree that the author has really identified the kille
Merja Pohjola
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I have been interested in cold cases that are OLD... say, no newer than the Zodiac... Jack the Ripper has been on the top of my list. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this case would be solved, but it seems that it has... and in my lifetime! The longer it's been since the murder has happened, the chances of solving it decrease rapidly. Something like 126 years should have made the number to nil. But no - I do believe it has been solved now, and my usually cynical nature (es ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of JTR books as well as spending a lot of time in the East End visiting all the key places and getting a feel for the area, in addition to taking a few walking tours. I am not sure the killer can ever be known with 100% certainty, everyone has their theories and supposed evidence to back up their thoughts.

I believe he has probably hit the nail on the head by going with Kosminski and he is not alone in choosing this suspect. He bought at auction a shawl that was supposed to have
Andrea Hickman Walker
I knew going in that I wouldn't agree with the conclusions in this book, because I personally think the provenance of the shawl is not very good. I also think that it's been kept in non-sterile conditions, handled by many people, so the DNA evidence is automatically questionable. The fact that it's a new technique that the scientist says is not conclusive, that has not been peer-reviewed, just sticks another nail in the coffin. But I knew that going in. I was fully expecting to enjoy it for what ...more
Despite the apparently convincing forensic analysis which forms the backbone of the book, I was not completely persuaded. In the end there were too many unanswered questions and rather too many leaps of faith during the investigation. Also I have read an article, written since the book was published, which claimed that at least one of the scientific results claimed for the study, was flawed. However, it was readable and certainly thought-provoking for anyone interested in this historical murder ...more
Alicia Huxtable
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people may say that I have a morbid curiosity into the story of Jack the Ripper. Yes, it may be morbid but seriously, how have we not solved this?
This book goes really in depth about the crimes and the motivations of the killer. It goes into all the tests they conducted on new evidence and how they came to obtain all the necessary DNA for testing. It was a really interesting read and although it had its technical and science bits, it wasn't bogged down with information that was hard to und
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always in awe of those meticulous research-gifted people who take an idea all the way to the end of the trail, despite the hurdles. This guy gave unimpeachable evidence that he has discovered the identity of Jack The Ripper even if apparently the police at the time knew who he was too. The mDNA strands match 99.2%/100%. Intriguing! ...more
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
This book is certainly intriguing. Russell Edwards is a businessman with an obsession with London's East End. After seeing the Ripper film 'From Hell' an interest in all things Jack the Ripper is sparked in him and eventually he found himself in the possession of a shawl thought to have belonged to and been recovered from the murder scene of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth canonical victim of the Ripper. It is this shawl that is the root of his entire argument as he has it forensically tested, app ...more
Pamela  (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum)

When I heard the news that they may have categorically proven Jack the Ripper's identity I gave a squeal of excitement. I got my hands on my copy of Russell Edwards 'Naming Jack the Ripper' as soon as it hit shelves, and then proceeded to be disappointed.

Too much of 'Naming Jack the Ripper' is given over to background. Most people picking up this book will have more than a passing knowledge of Ripper history, so all of that is largely wasted space, and could have been condensed in to some key p
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Wow, this held my attention the whole time I was reading. A couple months ago, I had read in the news that someone had actually identified Jack the Ripper through DNA and forensic tools that can be replicated. I was floored. My whole life I had thought that Jack the Ripper would never be caught. It was a fully cold case that I would never see definitively solved. With this book, it really does show something that's been thought of for years, but never been confirmed. Even with this book, I doubt ...more
Craig Caustic
Mar 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, this is going to be last update on the book. The beginning was boring. I'm not even trying to be mean about it, but I bought the book to learn about Jack The Ripper. Instead, I was introduced to the most irrelevant backstory on the author I've ever been faced with. I'm not just talking about a page or two; I'm talking about at least fifty pages. Then we got to the good part; the history of the Ripper's killings and all of the gruesome details behind them. That was the saving grace ...more
Kate Baker
I have read over a dozen books on Jack the Ripper and I have to say - this one was my least favorite; (after Patricia Cornwall's about Sickert). The author's tone just really rubbed me the wrong way, and I found myself bored with the play by play of the trials and tribulations of working with DNA samples, and so on. Last - I am not convinced he solved it; which he happily mentions a couple times throughout the book. If anyone wants to discuss this book I'd be happy to.

I am also interested in he
Kirsi Mannonen
Very readable, but Amazon reviewer London Fog nailed it: "Schizophrenics, those suffering from auditory and visual hallucinations, are not normally serial killers, as the author erroneously claims. This fact in particular I had an issue with. Schizophrenics are very troubled individuals, and their ultimate fate is disturbing to think of, but Edwards deliberately attempts to convince the reader by comparing him to homicidal *psychopaths* such as the BTK killer, Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz ("Son of ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I don't doubt the sincerity of all concerned but are we looking at exciting new evidence or rush to print before peer review?

The new evidence (which DNA has failed to be extracted from in the past) is a highly contaminated shawl placed at the scene largely by family tradition.

The rest pretty much we knew.

It makes an interesting enough read just falls considerably short of its sensational claims.

Hopefully though this is just the opening chapter to an interesting new line of investigation.
Ruby Boyer
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was really really interesting and was full of facts about the Jack the Ripper case I never knew! The reason for 3 stars is because I just couldn't follow any of the scientific talk about all the different DNA and how they did it and when they went down into detail which is a shame on my side because it was mostly full of it. All that being said I loved learning about the suspects/victims what actually happened and all about their background. ...more
Wow! What a ride! Russell Edwards really did his research and forensic work with Jari.
He traced DNA samples to the real Jack The Ripper and even gave us the name. I did my absolute best not to cheat and check Google for the answer since it was revealed.
The science and Biology talk did start to wear me down after a while, but ultimately, this book was worth every second.
Cara Hinton
I'm fascinated by Jack the Ripper and serial killers. It's great reading about scientific evidence that proves who did the killings.
I've read several books that guess at the villain, but this is the only one with DNA evidence. Very interesting.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I don't think he made a very good case. The author was a little to self-congratulatory, and it seemed a too pat. ...more
Mike Sutton
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Beginning at the end of the 2014 news story that underpins this book, Dr Louelainen - Russell's Edwards's scientific associate - made a scientific error in recording and analyzing DNA analysis results. The scarf that is the star of this book cannot in fact be linked by DNA to the Riper victim Catherine Eddowes.

I pre-ordered this book on my Kindle and read it cover to cover inside seven hours.

`Naming Jack the Ripper' is over 300 pages in length and fairly well trips along with background details
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