This is a fascinating read that carefully and logically explains a chain of coincidences that can't be just coincidence. Richard very convincingly outlines his premise that Thompson was more than just a mild English poet - rather a likely suspect for the unsolved Ripper case. As a former private investigator I was sceptical at first, however after reading this book I felt like posting a copy to Scotland Yard with a note saying 'case closed'. Read it yourself to delve into the mind of a very unstable, charming and evil killer.
Richard Patterson has gone where few have gone before him in presenting a reasonably damning case that leans towards naming famed Victorian poet, Francis Thompson as a credible suspect in the case of Jack the Ripper. I say 'leans towards' because the author very cleverly makes the point that he leaves any such conclusion to the reader, even though we know he is pointing the finger directly at the poet. It's obvious to the reader that Mr. Patterson has indulged in extensive research in producing his book, which at all times presents a vivid insight into life among both the 'haves' and the 'have nots' in the often grand but sometimes stinking metropolis that was Victorian London. The sights, the sounds and the voices he describes are almost tangible in their reality. Having studied the Ripper case for over forty years I now find myself with another credible suspect to consider. Although Mr. Patterson holds back from actually saying 'Francis Thompson WAS Jack the Ripper', I must admit, the evidence as presented in this book is truly compelling. A veritable must read for serious students of the Ripper murders. Highly recommended.
This is a challenging read but one whose journey is worth it. The style of writing mirrors both the poets turn of phrase and the ambiguity inherent in Victorian literature a device that is well employed by Richard Patterson. The research is amazing and not just tied in to the evidence of Francis Thompson being a ripper candidate but to a setting and location in time. The very smells and echoes of London in 1888 permeate this volume. An original conceit that is explored in such a depth that even the most ardent of sceptic will be seduced into thinking that yes the mystery is solved. If this book does not go down as a worthy addition to the ripper canon then like the crime itself it is a scandal. Richard Patterson has established himself as a serious contender with this tome and adds to an impressive array of literature -one in which he can hold his head high as he has not just added but heightened the theories and possibilities surrounding a phenomena that continues to engage and question us and our perceptions. If you had the slightest interest in Jack the ripper then this book needs to be on your shelf and in you consciousness.
Five stars from me for the sheer amount of research which has gone into this book. Yes, there are typos and we could dispute over some facts of the case, but here we have a feasible and believable JtR suspect. The author draws parallels between the Whitechapel murders and Thomson's life, in particular his time as a homeless person in London and the East end. Was Francis Thompson Jack the Ripper? He could have been. The circumstantial evidence is very compelling, in my opinion. I enjoyed reading the book and highly recommend.
Having never read anything before about Jack The Ripper I am intrigued with Richard Patterson's account of Francis Thompson's life. His writings delves into a young man's very disturbed mind and takes you back to the London Streets of this very frightening time. A great read for either the novice or seasoned follower of Jack The Ripper information.