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Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper --…
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Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper -- Case Closed (Berkley True Crime) (edition 2003)

by Patricia Cornwell

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3,307791,646 (3.09)48
Member:midge0214
Title:Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper -- Case Closed (Berkley True Crime)
Authors:Patricia Cornwell
Info:Berkley (2003), Edition: First Thus, Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:nonfiction, mystery

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Portrait of a Killer. Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

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Interesting but laboured exploration of who was Jack the Ripper and how he got away with his crimes and hid his identity from the world including those closest to him. ( )
  ElizabethCromb | Feb 13, 2017 |
Cornwell's book purports to definitively name Jack the Ripper as Walter Richard Sickert, an English painter who lived near the East End where the Ripper murders took place. He was known to have a fascination with the poverty-stricken area, and walked its winding unlit streets from midnight to dawn. He was also enamored of the music halls and would spend night after night watching the "loose women" of the era, and young girls, performing.

Cornwell's portrayal of the lives of those living in the tenements is fascinating, and horrifying for its desperate poverty and hopelessness. I came to this book knowing little about Jack the Ripper other than the general story, but even knowing nothing I was struck by the author's leaps that led to the foundation of her story. She takes proven facts and makes suppositions on which she then form the basis for her conjecture that Sickert becomes a psychopath. She makes sweeping psychological assumptions despite the fact that is not her area of expertise. She seems on more solid ground with modern forensic examination of old letters which form a large part of her research. Ultimately, while she paints an interesting "what if," I wasn't convinced. Unlike many of her detractors, it's not that I can't accept that someone gifted and prominent couldn't be a psycopathic killer, but there are simply too many unproven suppositions. Case still open as far as I'm concerned. That said, the book kept my attention. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
My review will be scattered and short as I read this a long while back, but the aftertaste I got after reading it still lingers today. If I ever re-read this work, I'll update this review as needed.

I am a person who to this day still looks at the ripper case and tries to figure it out and have been for many years.

The book is more or less an interesting theory, but it does not hold up when you look at all of the evidence. Cornwell has convinced herself that her theory is correct and her bias is on every page. After finishing the book, I remember distinctly feeling unsatisfied and blown away by how many people I knew praised the book and considered the ripper case now closed with how much evidence didn't fit. More so, I felt disappointed. I will update this review at a later date to lay down the contradictions between her theory and the evidence.

I will not say it wasn't intriguing, but overall if you are a hard core ripper case follower, you'll likely find the book as "meh" as I did. If you ever watch the documentary that accompanies the release of this book, Cornwell's condescending tone confirms her attitude about the entire case and her approach in her investigation. She believes she is right and I am unsure if any amount of evidence will change her mind. ( )
  FairestEve | Jul 22, 2016 |
Case is not closed, but she makes a good argument. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Cornwell may believe she has solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity, but she falls short of proving her theory. Perhaps my expectations were simply too high, or perhaps even "the rigorous discipline of twenty-first century police investigation" cannot solve this infamous case. ( )
  musecure | Feb 28, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Cornwellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ligterink, YolandeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valla, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There was a general panic, a great many excitable people declaring that the evil one was revisiting the earth. H.M., ANONYMOUS EAST END MISSIONARY, 1888
Dedication
To Scotland Yard's John Grieve
You would have caught him.
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Monday, August 6, 1888, was a bank holiday in London.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
"I knew the identity of a murderer and couldn't possibly avert my gaze," declares bestselling author and Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine chairman of the board Cornwell (The Last Precinct). Claiming to have cracked the unsolved case of Jack the Ripper, the author, combining superb investigative skills and meticulous research with modern technology, presents strong, albeit largely circumstantial, evidence as to the true culprit in this uncharacteristic work of nonfiction. Cornwell's man is the handsome, educated actor-cum-artist Walter Richard Sickert, and she delves into his life, probing the psychological pain and sexual deformity which led to his "impotent fury." Now updated with new material that brings the killer's picture into clearer focus.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425192733, Mass Market Paperback)

Now updated with new material that brings the killer's picture into clearer focus.

In the fall of 1888, all of London was held in the grip of unspeakable terror.  An elusive madman calling himself Jack the Ripper was brutally butchering women in the slums of London’s East End.  Police seemed powerless to stop the killer, who delighted in taunting them and whose crimes were clearly escalating in violence from victim to victim.  And then the Ripper’s violent spree seemingly ended as abruptly as it had begun.  He had struck out of nowhere and then vanished from the scene.  Decades passed, then fifty years, then a hundred, and the Ripper’s bloody sexual crimes became anemic and impotent fodder for puzzles, mystery weekends, crime conventions, and so-called “Ripper Walks” that end with pints of ale in the pubs of Whitechapel.  But to number-one New York Times bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, the Ripper murders are not cute little mysteries to be transformed into parlor games or movies but rather a series of terrible crimes that no one should get away with, even after death.  Now Cornwell applies her trademark skills for meticulous research and scientific expertise to dig deeper into the Ripper case than any detective before her—and reveal the true identity of this fabled Victorian killer.

In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed, Cornwell combines the rigorous discipline of twenty-first century police investigation with forensic techniques undreamed of during the late Victorian era to solve one of the most infamous and difficult serial murder cases in history.  Drawing on unparalleled access to original Ripper evidence, documents, and records, as well as archival, academic, and law-enforcement resources, FBI profilers, and top forensic scientists, Cornwell reveals that Jack the Ripper was none other than a respected painter of his day, an artist now collected by some of the world’s finest museums: Walter Richard Sickert.

It has been said of Cornwell that no one depicts the human capability for evil better than she.   Adding layer after layer of circumstantial evidence to the physical evidence discovered by modern forensic science and expert minds, Cornwell shows that Sickert, who died peacefully in his bed in 1942, at the age of 81, was not only one of Great Britain’s greatest painters but also a serial killer, a damaged diabolical man driven by megalomania and hate.  She exposes Sickert as the author of the infamous Ripper letters that were written to the Metropolitan Police and the press.  Her detailed analysis of his paintings shows that his art continually depicted his horrific mutilation of his victims, and her examination of this man’s birth defects, the consequent genital surgical interventions, and their effects on his upbringing present a casebook example of how a psychopathic killer is created.

New information and startling revelations detailed in Portrait of a Killer include:

- How a year-long battery of more than 100 DNA tests—on samples drawn by Cornwell’s forensics team in September 2001 from original Ripper letters and Sickert documents—yielded the first shadows of the 75- to 114 year-old genetic evid...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:41 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Examines the century-old series of murders that terrorized London in the 1880s, drawing on research, state-of-the-art forensic science, and insights into the criminal mind to reveal the true identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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