This so far has been one of the least graphic short stories in the The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories collection. Yet, the idea of an immortal Ripper recommitting his acts every night… that makes it one of the most terrifying tales in this collection. I like to imagine immortality being granted to the good and the just, not the evil and sadistic. But that might just be a personal preference.
This short story takes place twenty-two years after the final canon Ripper murder. Unlike all of the other stories in this collection which take place in either modern-day society or at the time of the murders. It was nice to have a story that not only left you with an idea of some of the scars left on the city, but also with a bit of an ending to the Ripper tale.
This short story seriously highlights the archaic and incredibly disturbed ideas that some people have about women. Or at least, the leading theory of the day in which Jack the Ripper was stalking the streets of Whitechapel. And somehow, reading a voice that found a way to completely justify his actions… far more terrifying than a mad man. A mad man is sick. The Ripper in this version just thought he was doing his husbandly duties… so many levels of not okay.
This short story definitely didn’t end the way that I anticipated. Actually, I sat there in my living room in a feeling of kind of suspended horror… there was just something scary about the Ripper hooking up with a cannibal. “Teaching” the women of their sins… like I said, suspended horror at the conclusion of this.
I always forget how much I enjoy Harry Dresden when I walk away from one of his books. I always want to immediately pick up the next one in the series, but since I’m easily distracted… this doesn’t necessarily frequently happen. I only picked up Summer Knight because I recently read yet another short story set in this world. Which reminded me how amazing this writing is. Not just the storyline and the fun characters, but the pure sarcasm that tends to trip from the pages.
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 love the lower class register that is used in this story from the very beginning. It immediately highlights the fact that the victims of the Ripper were from a lower socio-economic group. Straight away I was drawn into their lives and tone of voice. Something difficult to remove from my brain.
This short story is a little overwhelmingly scary – it’s all written from the point of view of Jack. And it starts out kind of normal. You’re not entirely sure if this is actually jack, or someone who is trying to get into his headspace… but then it becomes steadily more and more unhinged. And scary. And intense. And just downright crazy. Like I said, steadily more and more unhinged.
This is a great flickering story – it jumps between the present and the past surrounding Kate Eddowes murder. And brings to life the woman who lost her life. By showing the before and after of her murder, The Ballad of Kate Eddowes brings to life a woman who is only normally considered as a victim, and not a being in her own right.
It took me a little while to click as to why and how this was a Jack the Ripper tale. The only clue I had was the fact that it was in a Jack the Ripper collection. But, as the story unfolded and the macabre collection was added to, it became a little more understandable. And then I kind of loved it.