The Candle Man
Few events in recent history hold such a fascination or resonance as the Whitechapel murders in 1888 and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. To combine both in a novel could be considered a masterstroke, and The Candle Man begins with an old man unburdening himself of his darkest secret as Titanic begins its descent into the ice-cold sea.
As a long time Ripperologist, I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy The Candle Man, only to be rather disappointed by what turned out to be yet another retelling of the hoary Royal Conspiracy tale, and not a particularly well researched one at that.
What this book does possess in spades is an unrelenting sense of period gloom and unpleasantness. This is definitely a book to avoid if descriptions of infanticide are likely to cause upset. There is also a multitude of unappealing characters, which could be considered a plus when reading a novel about Jack the Ripper, when one knows that there’s a fair chance that at least some of them will eventually be offed so it’s best not to get too attached.
Don’t be fooled either by the cover or blurb into thinking this is a novel about the Titanic, because although it begins and ends on the doomed liner, it doesn’t actually make any other appearances, and he might just as well have been a passenger on any old sinking boat.
On the whole, although I really didn’t enjoy The Candle Man all that much, I could still appreciate the gaslit, wet-cobbled grimness of it all, so if you’re just looking for a rollicking read set in Victorian London with a bit of serial killer action to spice things up a bit, this will probably do the trick nicely.