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The Diary of Jack the Ripper - Shirley Harrison

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Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    7 Reviews
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      02.03.2004 18:09
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      Now I am intrigied by true life crime. I think it must come my ex profession in the forces. I like to read true life crime and try and understand why they did it or what makes them tick. I am not a Barbara Bradford Taylor or a Mills and Boon sort of person. I like criminiolgy more and although I will admit it, these are practically only one of a few books I will read. I do like autobiographies but I get a feel for a book and there are few books that make me want to read all night. I am useless at reading a book and I am an impatient sort of person as I normally read the back page before the front page. The book I am going to do my opinion on is called The Diary of Jack the Ripper. The Book Cover -------------- It is a purple and black marbeled cover with a burgundy binding. On the front page is the name of the book and underneath this is the writing. The discovery, the investigation, the authentication. Underneath it is handwriting signed Jack the ripper, actually a bit scary but it looks like my writing. The book is hardback and that is basically the front and back and side. The Contents ------------ There are prefaces 1, Is it real, 2, Acknowledgements, 3, Maps You then have chapters one to sixteen that takes you through the Diary of Jack the ripper. The last hundred or so pages are transcripts of the diary that was found, postscripts, Index and sources. The Story of how the book came into being ----------------------------------------- Apparently a man who was called Mr Barrattwas given this diary by a man called Mr Devereux in May 1991. Unfortunately the latter died a couple of months later without revealing where he had got the book. It is believed th
      at the latter was an electrican who worked on the main suspects house in the early 1920s but again this was only speculation. The Diary was authenticiated by top people who said it was ink and paper of the time. But lets think logically here. I also have paper from this era and written work so 12 years ago it would have been more readily easy to buy. The Diary was an old scrapbook with pages and pages of writing in and crossings out. Again thinking about this, it could have been someone who had mental problems at the time or who fantasised about the killings as they were much publicised nationally in the papers. As with other books on the Ripper, it will never be known definatley who was the ripper. The person took that to their grave. We can only speculate and everyone seems to have an opinion on who the Ripper was. I have read many ripper books and each time I think that is him. Then a new book comes out and again I think no that must be him. As DNA was never available at the time, we will never know. The Plot -------- A Liverpool merchant called James Maybrick is what this diary is all about. When reading the book you will read this it will make you think it is him. There were five Whitechapel murders in 1888, Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. All were killed in this year and murdered with a knife. Again they were good time girls, prostitutes but who ever they were they never deserved to die like this. Maybrick goes into detail of how and when he killed these women. Again though these were well publicised in the newspapers. It show him going down to London at the right times. Maybrick was also married and lived in Liverpool in Battlecrease House and was an affluent
      member of society. There are artists impressions at the time of the ripper and you can compare this to Maybrick but to be honest you could match these to a lot of men of that era. His long suffering wife Florence Maybrick was sentenced to death as in those days women used arsenic to whiten their skin and her husband eventually died of poisining. However what the court did not take into consideration is that he was an arsnist addict. Eventually she was found guilty and sentenced to death but she got life and eventually was released to live out the rest of her life. The Murders after he died stopped and there was more speculation. At the end of the book is the complete diary which is very hard to read so they have transcripted it. I do not want to go into much more detail about the plot as you will have to find out yourself. I found this book to be very fascinating and could not put it down. Do I think he is the Ripper. I do not know every time I pick up a book, I think it is him. I often think why do they not dig one of the victims up and there must be something that is left that they can get DNA of and also him. But then again, let sleeping dogs lie. The murders were one of the great mysteries of the 19th Century which is carried on right through to the 21st Century. Would I recommend it? yes I would if you are interested in this sort of subject. I have a lot of books on this subject as well at the victorian era. Now the book was expensive when I bought it but when searching on ebay.co.uk there was on there for sale for £4.99 It is a good book and well worth a read but just be open minded as evrything they put forward I could put something against it. Karen :0)

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        13.04.2001 06:50

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        This book makes a fascinating read into the life of a well to do but ultimately sinister victorian gentleman. I read this book with a fairly open mind but found myself absorbed by the plathora of 'evidence' put forward that suggests, and that is all this book is doing, is suggesting, that the author was Jack the Ripper. Here was a charismatic and somewhat sucessful buisnessman who was pushed over the emotional edge by the effects of rejection and the ensuing hatred of women leads you to belive this really could be the ripper's diary. Despite many attempts by experts and others who think their so no-one has yet been able to discredit the diary by any factual means/argument or test. Some think it is the work of a modern day forger. Given the ammount of knowledge he/she would need in a multitude of diffrent fields such as paper/ink reproduction, psychology, an understanding of serial killers etc. It should be easier to prove somthing is a fake rather than proving it is genuine, because no-one has yet done that it is a tantalising thought. All in all a good read and enjoyable.

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        12.04.2001 23:22
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        A hoary old hoax

        This is a book that reprints the alleged diary of Jack the Ripper and contains a great deal of information about the investigation to try to prove whether the book was genuine or not.

        I know I'm not the first person here to say this, but I think it's important too hammer home the message that the document that claims to be the diary of Jack the Ripper is not the genuine article.

        The book itself isn't too bad. The author was brought on board to research the diary, presumably on the grounds that she wasn't a "Ripperologist", and so wouldn't have an agenda of any kind. And the efforts of her and her researchers to prove the diary genuine are fairly impressive.

        I still don't think anyone should buy the book, though. In a subject like this, with so many books claiming to give the truth about an unsolved crime, a lot of people tend to believe the first book they read, as long as it's written in an authoritative enough way (I certainly did - it wasn't this book, though). With this being one of the best known of all Ripper books, there's a possibility that lots of people will read it without any wider knowledge of the case or any knowledge of the convincing debunking that's been done on the diary. For people like me, who actually care about trying to find the truth of the case, these spurious but superficially engaging theories are incredibly frustrating (this isn't as bad as the widespread belief that the Royal Family had something to do with the murders, but it's close).

        For people who have read and believed this book, I'd suggest they check out the work of Melvin Harris in his book The True Face of Jack the Ripper. He provides evidence in the appendices to that book that should make them at least reconsider their opinions. (I think you'd have to order it through your local library, though. I don't think it's currently in print.)

        At least one new edition has appeared since I first wrote this review, and it seems that some people still buy into the idea of Jack the Ripper having written a diary. Most Ripper experts now agree that it's a fake and a rather shabby one at that, but the book still gamely tries to make a case for the genuineness of the diary (well, why not? No one will mnake any money off it if they admit it's a fraud).

        The diary's alleged provenance has now changed about half a dozen times, with one stakeholder suddenly 'realising' she was descended from one of the characteres ion the diary probably being the loony tunes highlight.

        Bu the world of faux Ripperology has moved on considerably since then - Patricia Cornwell has written a far more popular bad Ripper book with an equally idiotic suspect, so hopefully the diary will die a well-desreved death over the next few years.

        The book itself is quite well written; the diary is not.

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          04.02.2001 14:43
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          This is another book about Jack the Ripper. But it has a twist to it. A diary turns up to possibly shed light on a mystery, almost a century old, that is so hideous. One can’t help but be interested in it. It's about Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders--or more specifically a diary supposedly by Jack himself. Five dead prostitutes, an unknown madman, and now, a diary. Makes for interesting reading, right? In 1976, one man turns over a diary to a friend. This man takes it home and starts reading it with his wife. They discover the unthinkable: Jack the Ripper’s diary. This book presents the facts of the case. But it takes into account there is now a diary that one written by James Maybrick. James Maybrick, an older English gentleman, well to do, had a younger American wife, Florence. This book looks at this man’s insecurities about his wife’s fidelity and whether or not she was plotting against him. Maybrick was a regular user of arsenic and strychnine. Everything stressed him to the point of believing Florie was having an affair and trying to kill him. In this diary, Maybrick talks about how he kills these women in an attempt to kill his wife. He ends up dead and Florence goes on trial for his murder. He took arsenic or strycknine for "medicinal" reasons. He died from all that poison he was taking. But as it turns the diary is all a hoax. Evidently the ink composition wasn’t old enough and lacked an ingredient found in ink back in Victorian England. So, again, we don’t know who Jack the Ripper is. Thinking that knowing the identity of Jack the Ripper was nice while it lasted. Back to square one. While this book was interesting reading, I thought it was pretty lousy for someone to play this kind of prank for the 15 seconds of fame, not to mention the cruelty of using someone else's tragedy and misfortune in this manner.

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            18.08.2000 18:29
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            The Diary of Jack the Ripper is one of the least informative books of the many written on this subject. In my opinion it is not even well researched, if the author has carried out extensive researched then all the evidence which does not fit into their theory (and there is a lot of this) has been conveniently lost or forgoten about. I notice one argument for the validity of this story is that, there would have been uproar in the academic community if indeed this was a hoax. A great many ripperologist's have questioned the validity of this book, one a very good friend of mine. I was in the room when he recieved a phone call from the (then) owner of the film rights to "The Diary". He was thretened with the might of his publisher's legal machine if he did not change his opinion. I would like to add that his publisher knew nothing of this and sent an appology as soon as they found out. I would recommend that anyone reading this book and wanting to be better informed on the whole argument of the identity, existence of Jack the Ripper, visit one of the web sites that ripperologists use to discuss this forever raging debate

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              17.08.2000 07:12
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              The Diary of Jack the Ripper is a modern, 20th century hoax. This is the opinion of by far the overwhelming majority of Ripperologists. When you have read all inquest reports, police and home office files, newspaper reports and correspondence of the time (most of which I have on microfilm here in my home) it becomes apparent that the story revealed in the diary is simply that...a story bearing little resemblence to the actual facts of the murders of those poor women in 1888. In addition, it contains many modern myths about the murders, which clearly shows that the information was gleaned from books in the 1980s rather than events in the 1880s. If you want a good horror fiction story to read, possibly you will enjoy this book but if you want to know about 'Jack the Ripper' (or rather the history of the myth of Jack the Ripper) there are many factual books that would be more useful to you.

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                30.06.2000 03:58
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                Proof that this is the real killer! How many times have we heard that? This book has you convinced...it`s like you have been playing detective yourself, throughout all the articles, books film etc on the subject....and when you read this book, it`s like you`ve cracked the case. I have since read an article saying this book is a fake!?? is it though!!? In the article, it said why it is fake, and I checked it out, their reasons didn`t hold with me. I am now quite happy to believe every word in this book. And if it was fake surely there would`ve been more of an outcry about it..even a TV program...cos` it was a big seller. The book takes you through the Life, at the time of Jack the Ripper, and details the murders etc. It`s a good book, if you`re curious about, Who really was Jack the Ripper!

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