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Old November 16th, 2014, 09:40 AM   #1
Lemonjelly
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Default November 2014 #2

This months opus - CSI Whitechapel, By Paul Begg & John Bennett.

Finished reading this book last night. Purchased on release, but owing to multiple reasons, didn't get around to reading it til recently. Much of this was deferred gratification. I held high hopes for this book, with the co-authors being responsible for 2 of the best reads (imo) in Ripper books (Begg's The Facts being the book that drew me in, decades after reading Knights final solution, and Bennetts Making of the Myth, still in my opinion one of the most overlooked texts on the history of the case.)

So, I'm sure that reviews of this book have been wide ranging on the forums. I have deliberately avoided looking at others reviews to date.

First off, the book is beautifully presented. A key selling point being the CGI illustrations of many scenes in Whitechapel circa 1888. The book, together with illustrations, layout, and indeed theme is very of its time. A quite modern review of the events of 1888, with some specific facts being drawn to the readers attention.

As one would expect from these 2 authors, there is a thorough re-examination of the events and locale. To a certain extent, this is briefer than in other publications, likely as this book is really aimed at a slightly different market. To be fair, this book serves as a damn fine introduction to the case for anyone coming newly to the mystery. The layout & structure of the text, and the minimal level of personal opinion would serve any potential ripperologist well.

The illustrations will add mystique, knowledge & thought to the newbie, & potentially grab attention for longer than this book. Cleverly though, the illustrations are a joy for experienced ripperologists too, giving some life to scenes many will have imagined. The detail on the artwork, and the effort (eg the posters on walls/in windows) gives real character to the book, as well as to the subject matter.

The style of writing - text boxes with key evidence, background intelligence etc - is great for those new who may need to learn more of the fuller aspects of the case, and also can pique curiosity for further reading. For me, I did feel that this broke the rhythm of the book a little, but that is a small issue.

A couple of other points - I found a few small typo's which may have benefitted from proof reading, eg warp instead of wrap, the word see where surely seen should have been, plus a few others. In addition, the map of police beats on the Mitre Square chapter was incorrectly overlaid. Of course, this could've been my edition, & ultimately I figured it out, but it spoiled it a little for me.

Overall, a good book, with excellent imagery, which I know in reading other texts I am likely to return to for viewing the illustrations, which clearly are the star of this book.
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