The Ripper Secret
Jerusalem, 1870. In an illegal excavation, Charles Warren locates and removes a priceless artefact from its ancient hiding place. Years later, he is still in possession of this unsalable treasure. In London in 1888, Warren, a professional soldier who knows nothing of police work, is now in an unenviable situation as Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis. London East End’s increasing population seethes with poverty and disease. Every imaginable crime is commonplace, apart from murder. Amongst the citizenry whose lives are always on the brink of disaster, the taking of a fellow being’s life is almost unknown. So the first bloody killing sends shock through the whole community, and Commissioner Warren’s nightmare begins. This is the start of four months’ escalating horror as each enormity demonstrates the cold skill of a monstrous perpetrator who leaves no clues beside his vilely mutilated victims: the tough but vulnerable prostitutes of Whitechapel. The demonic creature is nothing but a name: Jack the Ripper.
Warren is tormented by the Ripper, who knows about the long-ago theft and will continue his murderous pursuit until his demands are met, thus ruining the commissioner and his family. Of course we know that the killing ceased, but how did this come about? The novel provides an interesting, original explanation.
The strengths of The Ripper Secret are in its account of life in Whitechapel, giving an impression of rough camaraderie, and the surprisingly good work of the police: the constables, who are first on scenes of horror, and, amongst the inspectors especially, the intelligent, resourceful but frustrated Abbeline.