Lainy's Reviews > Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed

Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell
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Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Time Warner

Pages - 451

Blurb from the back cover

Between August and November 1888 five women were murdered in Whitechapel. The gruesome nature of their deaths caused panic and fear for months in the East End, and gave rise to the sobriquet which was to become shorthand for a serial killer - JACK THE RIPPER.

For over a hundred years the identity of the killer has remained one of the world's greatest unsolved mysteries. Until now. Using her formidable range of forensic and technical skills, Patricia Cornwell has applied the rigorous discipline of twenty-first-century police investigation to the extant material, and here presents the hard evidence that the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders was the world famous artist, Walter Sickert.

With her knowledge of criminal investigation and her consummate skills as a bestselling writer, Patricia Cornwell has produced a book which is as compelling as it is authentic - the definitive account of one of the world's most famous murder mysteries.




My Review

I heard a lot of criticism of this book and some positive reviews before I started this one. Any fans of crime fiction know the name Patricia Cornwell and I have enjoyed a few of her books over the years. I have always been interested in the theories put forward about Jack The Ripper and there is so much controversy and speculation about the killers identity, even over a century later! So of course I had to buy and read this myself.

So, what did I like about it? A new potential killer thrown into the mix, as for me, I have never heard Walter mentioned as a suspect let alone outright named as the killer. Cornwell not only puts forward this chap as the absolute killer, she debunks the idea of some of the other suspects listed previously and explains why they couldn't be the killer. The book gives a good bit of evidence and recount of the crimes, she also puts in many murders that she believes was the Rippers work too again I hadn't heard of these ones.

What didn't I like, the book says case closed, she has found the killer, I disagree. She makes a good case putting forward a new suspect but so much is could have, points to, may have been. This is not definitive proof and it is almost arrogant to claim you are the absolute when so much of the findings are possibles, could be and if he was or if he did.

Regardless, it is an interesting read, the book has photographs of the victims and of some of the correspondence sent in from the Ripper. Some of the details of the crimes and horrors carried out to the bodies is for tough and gorey reading so caution if you have issue reading details like that. Overall, whether you agree with Cornwell or not, I would say you would enjoy it or find it interesting for discussion if you have an interest or opinion on one of the oldest unsolved crimes, 3/5 for me this time.

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Reading Progress

January 9, 2016 – Started Reading
January 9, 2016 – Shelved
January 11, 2016 – Finished Reading

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