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Old February 1st, 2018, 05:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 196
Default February 2018

Have just finished The Killer Who Never Was by Peter Turnbull

Where to begin with this book...

This was a strange read. Claiming to apply "up to date knowledge" this "engrossingly detailed" account puts forward a multiple murderer theory. Kinda. In a bizarre way.

Overall, no actual suspects are put forward for any of the crimes. Essentially, Turnbull lays out accounts (or rather partial accounts) of the canonical crimes, occasional references to 2 non canonicals (Smith & Tabram) as well as repeatedly bringing up the murder of Jane Beetmore. There appears to be a detailed review of most of the inquests, which serves to be a means of repeatedly criticising Wynne Baxter, prior to a review of the Eddowes & MJK crimes.

There is no index, or notes. Listed are a series of newspapers used as sources, not all really relevant to the whitechapel murders.

Now, I'm not sure if it is the sources alone, but then end result of what is an interesting idea, and could have had a lot of potential ends up being a mess.

Very early on, obvious errors crop up to undermine confidence in any statement the author makes. Eddowes is constantly spelt incorectly, as is Diemschutz. On one occasion, a list of the crimes misses off Annie Chapman completely. Partway through a sentance, Catherine Eddows (sic) becomes Catherine Crawford. MJK is at least once referred to as Mary Ann Kelly, when this was an alias used by Eddowes. MJK lives with her husband, John Kelly, and a 6 or 7 year old child. Later, John Kelly becomes Joe Barnett at the inquest, the author apparently not realising. Goulston street is repeatedly called Galston street. Tabram has variously 29, 39 and 49 stab wounds. Gaols are goals. I could go on. I'm sure there are errors I missed, and others I forgot. I can recall repeatedly having a feeling of incredulity whilst reading.

As a result, I trust it so little I don't feel certain the authors name is correct. Which is a shame, as the book gives a name of Eddowes sister from the inquest. But I don't know if it is true, and don't recall reading this previously. Equally, the suggestion Eddowes was disemboweled partially, with the killer being interrupted prior to removing an organ is an interesting notion that made me think. However, the supposition, and inference doctors subconsciously knew of the prospect of copycat killers just becomes ridiculous. The level of supposition reaches the ridiculous.

In the end, it became frustrating.

I do have one question remaining. Why does this book get offered for sale for a ridiculous price? It's crap.
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