Applying 'modern' methods such as speculation, and assumption while criticizing late 19th century 'forensics', she has deduced that Jack the Ripper was in fact Walter Sickert an eccentric English impressionist painter.
By now, using your deductive powers, you have probably sensed sarcasm in this review!
The book works well has an introduction to the Ripper murders, pulling you into the history of the East End in the 19th century. However, for a less biased and more informative lesson on the Ripper case I would recommend further reading.
Patricia Cornwell from the start of this book is looking to pin the murders on Sickert, so don't expect any mention of the other suspects in the case.
I gave this book two stars for the investigative work on finding a definite match from the stationary used for the Ripper letters, and Sickert's correspondence material. This does appear to be conclusive proof that Sickert, at least sent some of the Ripper letters to the police. Although the majority of these letters are considered hoaxes, so does not provide enough evidence that Sickert was the Ripper.
The rest of Cornwell's argument however is highly speculative and based on a deformity of the penis, providing a motive of sexual frustration, which there is no record or mention of in Sickert's history. When attempting to prove Sickert's whereabouts on the night of the brutal murders Cornwell uses the 'sense' that if there is no proof he wasn't in London, there's no proof that Sickert couldn't have done it....Continua