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Of Thimble and Threat: A Novel of Catherine Eddowes, the Fourth Victim of Jack the Ripper

(Jack the Ripper Victims Series #1)

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This illustrated novel is part of the Jack the Ripper Victims Series. Each novel in the series is a standalone story.

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 squalor and suffering. Human degradation, filth, rats, parasites, danger, sorr
Paperback, Illustrated 2nd Edition, 156 pages
Published October 15th 2017 by IFD Publishing (first published October 18th 2011)
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Average rating 4.63  · 
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 ·  64 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Start your review of Of Thimble and Threat: A Novel of Catherine Eddowes, the Fourth Victim of Jack the Ripper
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
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 i ...more
Vittoria Corella
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
Eric Witchey
Feb 20, 2012 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 differen ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Caleb Wilson
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.) ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have now listened to three of the four books in the Jack the Ripper Victim series, and I see that Alan Clark's fictional biographies of the women, made famous by their murder, are historical treatises on the plight of women in Victorian London. We have be told, when reading about Jack, that his victims were drunken prostitutes, that they had husbands and children whom they abandoned in favor of the cruel life on the streets using their bodies to earn their doss. In other words, to Victorian me ...more
Alessandro Mana
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jack-the-ripper
Of Thimble and Threat: A Novel of Catherine Eddowes, the Fourth Victim of Jack the Ripper by Alan M. Clark it is a story about the desires and dreams of a poor woman who is constantly looking for an improvement in her living conditions. The woman has a dream but have to postpone it to be a good wife, a good mother and a pious woman as the men of her life wish. But life is not roses and flowers, but indigence, pain and violence. When she finally could realizes her dream, she discovers she has sac ...more
Bethany Loy
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alan M. Clark’s “Of Thimble and Threat” is part of his “Jack The Ripper Victims Series”. The novel follows the life of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of the Ripper. Not much is known about the life of Catherine, but Alan through diligent research and imagination has brought the dead to life. I have had the great fortune to speak with Alan and it is clear that his passion for historical accuracy shines brilliantly in conversation and his book’s pages.
Though it was clear from the beginning t
Chris Kelso
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bizarro
Alan M.Clark paints a beautiful and oddly tender character study focused on Ripper victim #4, Catherine Eddowes. His portrayal of a woman with nothing striving to extract meaning in an oppressive prison of Victorian chauvinism is masterful - and the tragedy of Eddowes ultimate demise is compounded by the sad inevitable journey Clark takes us on. There are moments when we believe (and pray) that she might somehow make it out alive. A remarkable woman's descent into her immediate savage exploitati ...more
Lucii Dixon
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, like the others, they were well put together and very informative on the life of a ripper victim, though I know most is false, I can picture this life for Catherine Eddowes clearly in my mind. It seems to me, alcohol, back in the day, was stronger and more controlling than it is today. And a lot of people liked it.

In my heart, I wish Katie had a better life, a better husband and children that cared, but in those times, it was hard and gruelling, not as easy as it is today. Co
Fee (Ebook Addicts)
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, read-in-2020
full review coming soon
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
J.W. Wargo
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Hatchet Mouth
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 sleaz ...more
Dan Sauer
Aug 03, 2015 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 fictionalize ...more
Rena Mason
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Das Buch erzählt von Catherine Eddowes, die als viertes Opfer von Jack the Ripper traurige Berühmtheit erlangte. Es handelt sich hier allerdings nicht um einen blutigen Thriller oder ein Buch über den Ripper, sondern um die dramatische Lebensgeschichte einer Frau, die versucht im viktorianischen London zu überleben. Das Leben damals war hart für Frauen, und wenn sie keinen Mann hatten der sie versorgte, blieben nicht viele Optionen, um sich und ihre Kinder durchzubringen. So landet auch Catherin ...more
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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 seventeen books, including twelve novels, a couple of novellas, four collections of fiction, some of them lavishly illustrated, and a nonfiction full-color book of his artwork. Mr. Clark's company, IFD Pub ...more

Other books in the series

Jack the Ripper Victims Series (6 books)
  • Say Anything But Your Prayers: A Novel of Elizabeth Stride, the Third Victim of Jack the Ripper
  • Jack the Ripper Victims Series: The Double Event
  • A Brutal Chill in August: A Novel of Polly Nichols, The First Victim of Jack the Ripper
  • Apologies to the Cat's Meat Man: A Novel of Annie Chapman, the Second Victim of Jack the Ripper
  • The Prostitute's Price: A Novel of Mary Jane Kelly, the Fifth Victim of Jack the Ripper

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