Title: Knowledge of Medicine
Author: Erin N. Kennemer
In: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories (Maxim Jakubowski)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Historical fiction
Dates read: 25th November 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: And it just kept shining.
Women are being attacked and no one cares. Until a midwife with a sister in the business starts mutilating the corpses. Will the price for her interference be too high?
Prostitutes seem to feature really highly in unsolved crimes. Or as the victims of serial killers. This short story definitely highlights the reasons why – people just don’t care about this part of the population. Or at least, those in Whitechapel during the murders certainly didn’t. This was immediately highlighted in this tale and definitely made me feel guilty for some of my lack of awareness of some of the modern-day versions of this.
I did love that this story wasn’t so much about the killer, but about the victims. The woman who is featured isn’t actually a murderer at all. But she’s the reason for the belief that The Ripper was a doctor – she’s a midwife and the one mutilating the bodies. She’s also responsible for the letters. Both key aspects that told people a serial killer was on the loose. I actually really liked this form of vigilante justice. Alright, it’s off-kilter and incredibly uncomfortable, but it actually makes sense.
The ending to this story is really tragic. It acted as a reminder as to the final act of the Ripper and highlights the fact the protagonist in this story was the one who was bringing attention to the serial killer. When her will is broken, her chores are. It leaves you with a really horrifying belief that he might have actually kept on killing long after Mary.