The history


In 1888  London  was thrown into a panic by a series of vicious murders spread beginning on 6th August. The victims were five women, all prostitutes living a hand-to-mouth existence in the Whitechapel area of London's East End.

These victims are Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddows, Elisabeth Stride, Mary Ann Nichols, Mary Kelly. Patricia Cornwell adds to these also Martha Tabran and Emily Dimmock, who was killed in 1907.  

Although Whitechapel was no stranger to violence, the vicious nature of these murders - marked by multiple stabbings, slashed throats, and mutilation - was particularly disturbing. The crimes were committed late at night, under cover of darkness.

The killings ceased as suddenly as they began, and no culprit was ever brought to trial, despite a massive manhunt and a cacophony of leads, accusations, theories, and suspects. The murderer was popularly referred to as "Jack the Ripper," based on the name signed to two taunting missives sent to the Central News Agency in the midst of the mayhem.

A lot of hypothesis were made: a student of medicine who paid his victim with polished farthing for appearing sovereigns (gold sterling): “sento la necessità di osservare che una sovrana sarebbe stata un pagamento straordinariamente generoso per una delle sventurate di di Londra che erano abituate a concedere i loro favori per qualche farthing” (pag.160)  ; a failed lawyer Montague John Druitt whose body was found in the River Thames: “omosessualità o pedofilia sembrano essere la ragione per cui Druitt, che all’epoca in cui si uccise era uno scapolo di trentun anni, venne licenziato dalla scuola[…] la disperazione fu sufficiente perché si riempisse di pietre le tasche del soprabito e si gettasse nelle acque gelide e inquinate del Tamigi   ; a Polish immigrant; Sir William Gull the doctor of  Queen Victoria “nel 1888 il dottor Gull aveva settantun anni e aveva già avuto un infarto” (pag 121) and the Duke of ClarenceEddy come veniva chiamato”: “Eddy non aveva né l’energia né la voglia di ammazzare prostitute…e gli omicidi continuarono anche dopo la sua morte prematura”(page.122). Patricia Cornwell with a scientific method, demolished all those and presents his culprit: Walter Sickert.

In May 2001 Patricia Cornwell was invited to Scotland Yard and there she met John Grieve. It was this discussion the cause that led Patricia to write a book about Jack the Ripper.