Title: The Keys to the Door
Author: William Meikle
In: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories (Maxim Jakubowski)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Historical fiction, Horror
Dates read: 20th September 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: And, by Jove, I did indeed feel something: a certain coldness and dampness in the air.
Mary was born on the same night as a horrific murder took place. Now, they’re trying to exorcise the Ripper and give the young woman her bid for freedom.
Unlike every other short story in The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories collection, this one had an intriguing element of fantasy. Nothing too overt, but enough that I had a bit of a smile and a feeling of fantasy nostalgia hanging across my face when I turned the last page. And a few goose bumps, considering the fact that it had a kind of horror spin on it.
The poetry of having the woman who is the primary victim also being born on the same night as the final Ripper victim and having the name of one of his victims helped to add to that eerie feeling. The setting of an old building, a candlelit room and a haunting spectre further compounded this feeling. It made this one of the more enjoyable stories and, ironically, less dark than many of the others in this collection.
I liked the sense of closure at the end of this tale. It not only put the spirit of Jack the Ripper to bed, but also let the lead detective finally say his own goodbyes. It also hinted that the darkness within the killer was something more than just the average serial killer… which I kind of like since we will never know who it was, or why they did it.