The Big Book of Jack the Ripper
The Big Book of Jack the Ripper is touted as “the most complete compendium of Ripper stories ever assembled.” I will not disagree with that statement. At almost 900 pages, it is definitely a large collection of information on the Jack the Ripper. It is broken down into four sections. The first is what the editor refers to as the true story. It has multiple articles that contain actual witness statements, autopsy reports, letters from the Ripper himself, and theories from those who have thoroughly researched this topic. The other three sections are fictional accounts of Jack the Ripper, with the authors either dramatizing the story or presenting a new theory. Some stories are loosely based on the original murders, while some tell it from a different point of view.
It is hard not to be fascinated with Jack the Ripper. How can someone get away with such brutal crimes? I, personally, found it hard to make it through this book. It just got really repetitive after a while. They even put in the same story twice: one was the short magazine edition and the other the version that was turned into a longer novel. I struggled with reading the exact same story. All of the crime reports are the same in each of the earlier articles, which was also hard to get through. I found the fiction to be a bit more enjoyable, but, as can be the case with anthologies, it can be hit and miss on whether you will enjoy a particular author or not.
Otto Penzler, Editor
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard