I have wanted to read to this for a while and thanks to being given a copy for Christmas. I have heard great things about this book and also a few reports that it is not all the hype makes it out to be.
Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction – Mystery
Age Classification: Young Adult
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release: September 20, 2016
The title of Stalking Jack the Ripper is pretty self-explanatory – the main characters are doing a non-police investigation to discover who Jack the Ripper is. Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a seventeen-year-old interested in forensic medicine and interning at her uncle’s laboratory. It is there she meets Thomas Cresswell, a cocky young man with the same interests as Audrey Rose and a keen eye for detail. These two combine their talents and knowledge as they “stalk” Jack the Ripper.
Audrey Rose is kindhearted and headstrong. She loves dressing in the fancy clothes her life of wealth and privilege provides, but she also desires to do autopsies and figure out who killed them – tasks typically seen as male jobs. The entire novel has Audrey Rose going against her father’s wishes and putting herself in difficult situations all while dealing with grief, guilt, prejudice and a serial killer.
Lord Edmund Wadsworth, Audrey Rose’s father, is a paranoid man believing the only way to keep Audrey Rose safe is to keep her away from anything that may make her sick. His heart is in the right place and it is understandable given Audrey Rose’s mother died after falling ill. Just as protective of Audrey Rose is Nathaniel, her brother, a young man dabbling in different studies to pass the time until he takes his father’s place as Lord.
The Lord’s brother and Audrey Rose’s Uncle, Jonathan Wadsworth, is a doctor. His job allows him to conduct the autopsies on the victims of the Leather Apron, later known as Jack the Ripper, and he does become quite caught up in the case, but he is a decent man and has somewhat modern for the times views about what girls, such as his niece, can and cannot do. He is reluctant to allow Audrey Rose to work with him because of what society and her father will think, but he cannot deny her talent and persistence to study the medical profession and so he allows her to intern.
Also interning for Audrey Rose’s Uncle is Thomas Cresswell who, as stated above, is a cocky young man with an eye for detail and impressive medical knowledge. His talents are useful when trying to solve the murders of the women, though his past makes him and some of his actions questionable. Regardless, he and Audrey Rose combine their efforts to uncover just who is Jack the Ripper. Thomas is also described as incredibly handsome early on, so there is an indication that these two will be more than just sleuthing buddies. I am not usually a fan of romance in books with a non-romantic focus, such as hunting down a serial killer, but maybe my stone cold heart is melting or it was just worked into the story well because I really enjoyed the banter between the two amateur sleuths.
If you are familiar with the history of Jack the Ripper, you may know that story is set in the late 1800’s in London, specifically the Whitechapel district. The locations in the book were often well described, at least enough for me to get a rough image in my head. It was obvious that a lot of research had been done and that it had been creatively worked into a fictional story giving “Jack” an identity.
The story itself was pretty good for a mystery novel – there were moments of acceleration in the plot where it became exciting to read and a few parts that were rather slow. I guessed who the killer was fairly early in the story and was positive by the information provided by later on in the novel, but Audrey Rose and Thomas’s investigations along with evidence and information shared by Superintendent William Blackburn had me wondering if my ‘who-done-it’ skills were broken. However, I did not predict the entire reason of why “Jack” became the Ripper and the reason itself deserves considerable mention. I was impressed.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
While somewhat predictable, I personally love the storytelling and how real the story felt. I also love the little twist at the end and how well it is set up for Audrey Rose’s story to continue.
Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper?
What did you think of the novel?
Did you guess who “Jack” was?
Until next time bibliophiles!