This story was really and truly weird. And not in a, huh, that was a little weird, but fun kind of way. Just in a… yup. That was weird. I don’t know how to feel about it kind of way.
Many of the stories in the The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories collection have a bit of a focus on genetics. What would the children of the Ripper be like? The grandchild, the many times great-grandchildren? And mostly I’ve enjoyed them… but something about this slightly more fantastical take on the same story gave me a few heebie jeebies. Not sure why, but it definitely made me feel not so comfortable.
This was a nice, creepy little contemporary take on the Jack the Ripper mythos. For starters, it is in present day and deals with his descendants. For another, it is written from the point of view of one of these descendants. You spend most of the time wondering who is about to get themselves murdered… and just what genetics do mean for the serial killer gene… or if there even is one. Actually, this definitely swayed me towards the belief in a serial killer…
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.
This story felt so very, very British. After all, it starts off with the cricket whites and a bunch of gentlemen playing the age-old sport. Just something which is far too English to be ignored… and then it jumps over into the realm of Jack the Ripper and things get really intense really quickly.
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 kind of liked this short story, and I kind of found it a little bit slow. It may be because I was reading this late at night and wasn’t really concentrating like I usually would for such a themed story. although I did really love the idea of a group of men meeting up to discuss the horrors of the Ripper, when one might have been amongst them.