The best Jack the Ripper books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Jack the Ripper and why they recommend each book.

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Lestrade and the Ripper

By M.J. Trow,

Book cover of Lestrade and the Ripper

No true crime list would be complete without reference to the infamous Jack the Ripper, and of the many books I have read, this one stands out. True, the subject is gory, and for that reason, some might think that humour is out of place, but I like the bumbling detective Lestrade, and the author clearly knows his stuff. The detailed historical research accurately portrays the setting and times of the novel. Trow brings a different approach to a Sherlock Holmes-type story with an easy-to-read and witty style in a book well worth trying.


Who am I?

An experienced genealogist, I became fascinated by true historical crime reports when I found murderers in my family tree. Since then, I have written ten historical mystery books featuring true unsolved crimes. My novels re-imagine what might have happened had the killers been brought to justice. My background in genealogy and vast experience trawling through historical newspaper reports has given me a passion for the past and a desire to resolve the unknown.


I wrote...

Vote For Murder: A Suffragette Murder Mystery

By Jacqueline Beard,

Book cover of Vote For Murder: A Suffragette Murder Mystery

What is my book about?

While hiding in a museum to evade the census, suffragette Louisa Russell discovers a diary belonging to a poisoner. And not just any poisoner, but the infamous Mary Cage executed for killing her husband decades earlier. When Louisa’s next-door neighbour dies under suspicious circumstances, the parallels between the two deaths become impossible to ignore. But can there be a link between deaths sixty years apart? And will Louisa find the poisoner before they convict an innocent woman? Vote for Murder is a historical mystery based on a true crime.

Kingdom of the Wicked

By Kerri Maniscalco,

Book cover of Kingdom of the Wicked

This book gave family secrets a whole new meaning. You're immediately pulled deep into the world of demons and death, with everything you thought you knew unraveling the farther in you get. You’ll also get to meet Wrath, which I promise you, you won’t regret (or forget!). I guarantee you the mystery will pull you in and never let you go.


Who am I?

 I have been a devourer of fantasy all of my life. With a bookshelf that grows more overflowing by the year, I just can’t get enough. That combined with the many classes I've taken on writing, tension, and incorporating fantasy elements, make me the perfect candidate for finding all three in the perfect story. I live in a daydream created by the written word and even win writing awards with all that I've learned and applied. There is nothing I love more than the perfect pairing of twists and tension in fantasy stories, something I continue to add to my own stories!


I wrote...

Out of Time

By Elizabeth A. Drysdale,

Book cover of Out of Time

What is my book about?

Centuries ago a warlock cursed her family: they cannot feel true love. Now Soph must travel back in time to save his son’s life in her one chance to break the curse. But she has only this one magical gift, and she’s often not accurate where she ends up. To make things worse, she must go to seventeenth-century New England, a time when witches often found their way to the end of the noose.

If she can't save his son in time, she risks getting stuck in the past, the curse firmly in place. Her success means breaking the curse, freeing her family to find true love. But her journey to the past brings her closer to hidden fears than she ever imagined!

The Whitechapel Virgin

By Carla Acheson,

Book cover of The Whitechapel Virgin

This historical fiction is one of three novels set in London, the one featured is contemporary, and set upon the streets walked by Jack the Ripper. What I found compelling was the detailed presentation of the lives of ordinary, working-class women, that was gritty and most believable in presentation. The characters came alive and the story flowed; some working girls vanished, who would be next? This is not a story about Jack. It is a story about those nearby and affected by the beast.


Who am I?

I love to read a good story, but I also get the greatest satisfaction from writing one, or several. I believe good fiction can say what factual books cannot, and done right, they can offer differing perspectives to any accepted norm. The trick is to let the characters speak, regardless of whether I agree with what they say, or not. The secret to good presentation is to offer the reader the choice to think about what has been said, consider and delve deeper, or not and pass by.


I wrote...

The Gatekeeper and the Guardian

By John Morris,

Book cover of The Gatekeeper and the Guardian

What is my book about?

This extraordinary tale alludes that Aliens visited Earth in prehistory, creating Elves, Dwarves, and other mythological creatures. In the contemporary world of today, these figments no longer exist, or do they? When Jack shambles ashore upon a South Pacific island, he discovers a mysterious world shielded from our senses. It is filled with people, but not homo sapiens.

From shipwreck to survivor, castaway to explorer, our hero adapts to his new life, increasing the bounty for all, aided by the advanced science of The Ancestors. Fast-paced and riveting, the trilogy takes off when an abandoned spacecraft is discovered. Now Jack and his new friends need to unlock its secrets, but before they can do so, the Island is invaded by Ogre hordes.

The Invention of Murder

By Judith Flanders,

Book cover of The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

This is an amazing book that serves as a template for academic writers seeking to reach a wider readership. Flanders delves into not only Victorian Britain’s obsessive fascination with homicide and its detection, but also how newspaper editors and reporters, playwrights, and novelists benefited from and were influenced by particularly gruesome crimes with compelling victims and perpetrators. The book incorporates academic scholarship and recalls some of the most famous crimes of the era and explores their impact on Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Robert Louis Stevenson, and other cultural producers.   


Who am I?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.


I wrote...

Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

By Greg Marquis,

Book cover of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

What is my book about?

Truth and Honour explores the 2011 murder of Saint John businessman Richard Oland, of the prominent family that owns Moosehead Breweries, the ensuing police investigation, and the arrest, trial, and conviction of the victim's son, Dennis Oland, for second ­degree murder.

Oland's trial would be the most publicized in New Brunswick history. What the trial judge called "a family tragedy of Shakespearian proportions," this real­life murder mystery included adultery, family dysfunction, largely circumstantial evidence, allegations of police incompetence, a high-powered legal defence, and a verdict that shocked the community. Truth and Honour explores this question: was Dennis Oland responsible for the death of his father?

An Insatiable Thirst for Murder

By Ben Hammott, Bill Wilkinson,

Book cover of An Insatiable Thirst for Murder: Serial Killer Henry Holmes - The Novel

I went into this book blind, I can’t remember the exact circumstances but if I’m not mistaken it was when I was advertising myself as a reviewer for indie authors. This takes the serial killer theme to all new levels as based on a truth fiction tale. Hammott has an enjoyable writing style that flows and draws the reader in. It is an excellent retelling that kept me wanting to know more about Holmes. I have subsequently researched the killer and found Hammott's accounts to be factually correct which just makes the story that much more chilling. 


Who am I?

Not only have I been a fan of the genre since my early childhood, I’ve also submerged myself from an author's perspective. I've honed my craft through several courses, research, and networking so that I know what I’m putting out is the best work I can produce. I love the familiar style of description and a plot woven into a well-versed tale of good versus evil, especially if the reader is left questioning whether it really was good that won in the end. My love for horror started young when I delved into Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, and I have devoured a lot of classic horror fiction since then.


I wrote...

Buried

By Sian B. Claven,

Book cover of Buried

What is my book about?

A classic horror haunted house tale with a twist. Buried follows a paranormal investigation team as they try disproving rumors of an underground mansion being haunted. It’s all great fun until they can’t get out, and the ghosts they don’t believe in start coming for them. 

The Five

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Book cover of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

The five women who were Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims have always been just that, his victims. Rubenhold gives them back their identities, in their own right, as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives and challenges the ‘traditional’ view. For three of them, there is no evidence that they were prostitutes, but all five were women battling personal demons who were down on their luck. They were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. The Five is not the story of their deaths, but their lives.


Who am I?

I often feel as if I live with one foot in the present, and one in the past. It’s always been the little-known stories that fascinate me the most, especially women’s history. Their lives can be harder to research, but more rewarding for that. As a writer and historian, it has been wonderful to discover the histories of intriguing but ‘overlooked’ women, and to share their tales. I hope you enjoy reading the books I have selected as much as I did!


I wrote...

A Right Royal Scandal: Two Marriages That Changed History

By Joanne Major, Sarah Murden,

Book cover of A Right Royal Scandal: Two Marriages That Changed History

What is my book about?

Have you ever heard the story of Sinnetta Lambourne, the Romany girl who was the wife of Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandfather? Her husband, the Reverend Charles (Charley) Cavendish-Bentinck was a man ahead of his times in his outlook. He followed his heart, against the wishes of his family and titled relatives. A generation earlier, Charley’s parents had been at the centre of a Regency-era scandal. His mother, married to the ‘richest commoner’ in the country, was the Duke of Wellington’s niece. Just weeks after the Battle of Waterloo, she eloped with her lover…

Discover the untold story of the British royal family’s recent history.

Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper

By Ana Brazil,

Book cover of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper

Fanny Newcomb is the daughter of a New Orleans lawyer. Having shunned a marriage proposal from her late father's partner, she comes to work at the Settlement House. There, she teaches reading, accounting, and other skills to young immigrant women in Crescent City. When her most promising student is murdered, Fanny starts looking into matters herself. Why?

One of the other women at Wisdom House, Olive Giddings, is a physician -- she was first on the scene and knows that Nora was strangled. Soon, though, the papers are claiming that Nora is the victim of the Irish Channel Ripper. And then, the House's German carpenter is arrested for the crime. So, Fanny has a vested interest in finding the real assailant and proving Karl innocent.

What I love about this book is the rich historical detail. We not only get a look at women’s roles but also at New Orleans’…


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by New Orleans ever since hearing Bobby Bare’s novelty record “Marie Laveau” when I was a child. I had wanted to visit for ages, and Hurricane Katrina made me despair of ever getting there. Now that I’ve been there, New Orleans owns a piece of my heart. When I set out to write Bayou Fire, I was determined to do it right. I read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction, about 1830s New Orleans. I wanted not only the facts but the atmosphere. Furthermore, I made several research trips, not only to Crescent City but to the plantations. I immersed myself in the period and the culture to the greatest degree possible to bring an authentic tale to light.


I wrote...

Bayou Fire

By Sharon E. Cathcart,

Book cover of Bayou Fire

What is my book about?

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of Bayou Fire? Bayou Fire is the recipient of the in D’Tale Crowned Heart Award, the Chill with a Book Reader Award, and the AuthorsDB Silver Medal for Cover Design.

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?

By Harold Schechter, Eric Powell,

Book cover of Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?

So few books give me chills, but I could feel my temperature downright drop the deeper into this graphic novel I went. Certainly not for the weak-hearted, or stomached for that matter, Powell and Schechter plunge into one of the most depraved characters of the Midwest… none other than Ed Gein himself. There is an odd beauty to the madness at display here. It just goes to show you never know what’s going on behind the closed doors of your next-door neighbors.


Who am I?

Neighbors. We’ve all got ‘em, right? We believe we’re the good ones, and we pray we don’t live next door to the bad ones… but sometimes it’s inevitable that we share our property lines with those ill-suited for neighborly behavior. Horror books about bad neighbors are the perfect window into our own communities. We can peer into the lives of others without worry of getting caught. We can tiptoe through their rooms and rummage through their drawers… Who knows what we might find. Are they witches? Serial killers? Devil worshippers? Only their dirty laundry will tell. 


I wrote...

Whisper Down the Lane

By Clay McLeod Chapman,

Book cover of Whisper Down the Lane

What is my book about?

Richard doesn’t have a past. For him, there is only the present: a new marriage, a first chance at fatherhood, and a quiet life as an art teacher in Virginia. Then the body of a ritualistically murdered rabbit appears on his school’s playground, along with a birthday card for him. But Richard hasn’t celebrated his birthday since he was known as Sean . . .In the 1980s, Sean was five years old when his mother unwittingly led him to tell a lie about his teacher. When school administrators, cops, and therapists questioned him, he told another. And another. And another. Each was more outlandish than the last—and fueled a moral panic that engulfed the nation and destroyed the lives of everyone around him.

Now, thirty years later, someone is here to tell Richard that they know what Sean did. Whisper Down the Lane is a tense and compulsively readable exploration of a world primed by paranoia to believe the unbelievable.

Anno Dracula

By Kim Newman,

Book cover of Anno Dracula

Newman’s creative mashup brings a dizzying host of personalities into the Jack the Ripper murders as historical people and characters from fiction collide in Queen Victoria’s London. Vlad Tepes casts a long shadow across the political and social landscape. This take on Dracula himself, and other ancient vampires, is fresh and frightening and I was glad to discover it. The playful mix has Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Lestrade investigating The Ripper in a world where vampires are out in public, and Vlad is Prince Consort to Queen Victoria. The bold concept works well and is a ferociously fun ride.


Who am I?

I was introduced to vampires through Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows fame, but I was a child and found the show boring. But, when I was 15, I was handed the paperback edition of Salem’s Lot and it scared me to death. I was hooked, reading books, and watching movies about vampires whenever the chance arose. When I wrote the first draft of Redemption, it sat for years before I reworked it, reading Dracula again and taking notes, researching Vlad the Impaler, and watching lots of vampire movies before re-writing it. Since then, I’ve continued reading vampire fiction and watching movies and shows about the creatures whenever I can.


I wrote...

Redemption

By Victoria Steele Logue,

Book cover of Redemption

What is my book about?

It is the 21st Century and Wolfdietrich has grown tired of being a vampire. But, on his way back to his hideaway, he spots Ginny, a woman who reminds him of his long-lost love. Trapped as a vampire for nearly four centuries, Wolf rediscovers the humanity he lost as well as his love for Ginny. Unfortunately, there is one obstacle preventing their being together—the vampire who created him, Vlad Drakulya, still walks the earth. Even though killing Vlad will destroy the man she loves, Ginny joins Wolf in the search for his maker. Redemption entwines the stories of Vlad III and Wolf, sweeping through centuries of history and across continents. Wolf has found love, but can a vampire find redemption?

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

By Gyles Brandreth,

Book cover of Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance

This is the first book in a series that is as witty, complex, charming, and dark as Oscar Wilde himself. (“I can resist everything but temptation.”) The author is steeped in Wilde and his world, quotes him extensively (but appropriately) and also delivers a great mystery set in the fascinating era of Victorian decline and fin de siècle artistic fervor. Arthur Conan Doyle, in a great turnabout, plays “Watson” to Wilde’s “Sherlock” in all the mysteries. A later book in the series takes on Jack the Ripper, with some surprising suspects!


Who am I?

My mother was an avid reader of Agatha Christie, and she gave me my first Nancy Drew book when I was nine, so I’ve loved mysteries all my life—not the ‘true crime’ kind, more the ‘cozy village’ kind, where the focus is on the characters and how they solve the mystery because of who they are and how they understand the people around them. After I wrote an historical novel about John Singer Sargent and his friends, I couldn’t stop thinking about them, even hearing their voices continuing to talk—I missed them! So naturally, I decided I’d turn John and his friend Violet into detectives and write mysteries. 


I wrote...

The Spoils of Avalon

By Mary F. Burns,

Book cover of The Spoils of Avalon

What is my book about?

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings as they follow a trail of relics lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two eras, The Spoils of Avalon is a magical mystery that bridges the gap between two widely different worlds—the industrialized, Darwinian Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hand of Henry VIII. 

First in a series featuring two life-long friends as a different kind of detecting team: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee), and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent. 

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