The Sixth Victim: A Constance Piper Mystery

Written by Tessa Harris
Review by Beth Turza

London’s Whitechapel district is a frightening place to live and work in 1888. Constance Piper, a poor flower girl who follows the newspaper reports of Jack the Ripper, is visited in her sleep by images of her dear friend and mentor, Emily Tindall. Constance has not seen her for weeks and sets out to trace her teacher’s steps to solve the mystery of her disappearance. A sixth sense she cannot shake tells her that Miss Tindall may have been murdered. Constance is befriended by the sister of yet another missing woman, Geraldine Cutler, who disappeared six weeks ago, after finding out that her husband, Dr. Cutler, has been associating with and operating on Whitechapel prostitutes. Can the doctor be the Ripper? Which of these two missing gentlewomen is this latest victim, found without a head and limbs at a local construction site? Can Constance believe in her clairvoyant skills and open her mind to the spirit of Emily Tindall to help unravel these mysteries?

The story unfolds through Constance’s and Emily’s alternating narratives, and the reader is aware that Emily is a spirit speaking to us from the other side. There is a definite class distinction between the poor flower girl and Mrs. Cutler’s sister, Pauline, but with her faith in Constance’s abilities, the two become close. This engaging story held my interest, and the author has developed her characters and the mystery plotline nicely.