The use of the Berlin Wall coming down in this story took me somewhat by surprise. Probably mostly because I didn’t actually know in what year it came down and so couldn’t make an educated guess on what life-altering moment was about to occur… I need to brush up on my history badly.
This is the first story in the The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories collection which deals with racism as an aspect of finding the killer. Although there was an obvious aggression towards Jews at the time, none of the tales in this collection have specifically addressed this topic. Which made this kind of amazing. After all, a tale of perceptions, understandings and inherent racism is always going to be a good kind of read.
I really wasn’t expecting a tale of a cross-dresser in a collection of Jack the Ripper stories. Like, at all. Although, to be fair, I rarely expect to come across such a tale, so when you’re reading about historical fiction and retakes on a notorious serial killer… there isn’t much that could be farther from my mind.
I seriously, way too much loved the ending to this tale. There was a gruesome, horrifying sense of poetic justice to the tale and the idea that the true evil walked off into the night all alone. Which, whilst it is something I don’t often appreciate, it was something that worked brilliantly well for this storyline.
This took a turn that I really wasn’t expecting. I thought that maybe this would be a story of innocents who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I mostly kept thinking this until the very end. Which quickly made me not so happy and more than a little uncomfortable. And incredibly glad that these men are dead, it was just a little too easy to believe this story.
I loved this twist on the traditional idea of Jack the Ripper. Instead of being a man, she is a woman. And not at all who I expected. Which of course, made it all the more intriguing and impossible to put down. A little more tragic when the final ending hit.
This retelling of the Jack the Ripper case took a more conspiracy theory ridden outlook than many others that I’ve read. It played on the idea of racism and people in power carrying these ideals. It even outlaid a future plan for the Ripper until he is stopped. A greatly different point of view in fictional retellings of the notorious butcher that I have read so far.
The introduction to this story filled me with intrigue. Not because it was a great opening to a story, but it explained where the author’s origin to this story came from. Accompanied by a photo, it made this story seem all the more plausible. And one that I would almost like to imagine actually happened.
This is the first time since I was a kid that I decided to pick up this book. And I’m really glad that I did. It is such a fun, happy, easy read and one that I struggled to put down. The combination of Roman history; a young, slightly too confident heroine; and a mystery that is both dangerous and grotesque work brilliantly together. Unlike many of the other whodunnit type stories that I’ve read, this one isn’t going to keep you up at night. There is just enough going on that you want to know who the real culprit is, but it’s not realistic enough that I could imagine any of this happening to me…
We all like to think that family means everything. That there is some kind of tie created by blood that can be impossible to escape. Speaking from my own experiences, that’s not necessarily true. And this story definitely echoes that theory.