Track My Order. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Classic Crime Historical Mysteries. The Day Before Tomorrow. Elia Youlesivanson. Air Force One Has Vanished. The Case of the Nightmare in Nimbin. Satan's Arrow. Blind Man's Bluff Miss Guided.
Sadie Cuffe Sophie Cuffe. Who Killed Amanda. Florence Joanne Reid. Death Notice - 'committed to Excellence'. Barbara Rolland Al Rolland. And They Had Secrets. The Sketching Detective and the Bitcoin Murders. Every Move She Makes. The Last Projector. David James Keaton.
Borderland Bondage. The Spy Who Hated Me! A James Spillaney Casefile. In His Head. The Backwoods Snatcher. The Broadway Comedy Murders. Michael Valentine Diary of a Hitman Book 2. Stranger Danger. It was all incredibly unsettling and ambiguous.
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The other guy was younger and said literally not a single word the whole time he was there. He was leaning against the closed kitchen door. I was trying to think of something plausible that would let me leave the room and all I could think of was The silent guy just looked up at the chatty one and levered himself up off the door by his shoulder blades to move aside for me.
I went out into the hall and I considered running out of the front door. But I was too cowardly even to do that - it seemed so confrontational. So I just went upstairs for a wee, took as long as I dared washing my hands and then meekly came back downstairs to resume my vigil. Gary never came back that day. I found out later that he had been in London visiting friends or something. Perhaps that sounds weird. That such a stressful and traumatic afternoon should have such an anticlimactic ending. But they came back eventually, when I wrote my book.
It made me realise that the value of freedom has been greatly overstated. It means that you have unlimited choice. Choice is confusing, stressful, paralysing. The people who act are the ones who have the fewest choices. The cornered animal, the desperate fugitive, the starving artist. Finishing a novel is the easiest thing in the world. By the time you get to the final chapter, the story has so much momentum that the endpoint is inevitable. Starting a novel is much harder because it is all about possibility.
Which is why it is generally best done at gunpoint. Every page creates images and story that sweep you along. The blurb on the back of the book does little justice to the sheer scale of the book. Tightly written and fast-paced, the plot moves along at a swift gallop; the characters are pretty good and Connors manages to pack in a lot of detail in this relatively short novel, which feels more epic than it is because of the size of the story. This novel is in a class of its own. Imaginative, daring and utterly thrilling.
Then, after having forked out money to buy copies from the publisher why? In essence the story bore very little resemblance to the one the author had submitted. There are several aspects to consider out of this woeful tale. When exercised properly, editing is a joint effort between the writer and the person who is doing the editing.
Discussion is absolutely vital in the editing process. Between the two, what should emerge is a fully formed story, polished and honed to perfection. An editor adding paragraphs or whole sections themselves is an absolute nono: again, it should be suggested that maybe. Using the metaphor of a film, what a film editor does with scenes shot by a director, a book editor does with words — helping the narrative flow effectively, making sure that there are no discrepancies or continuity errors and then giving the whole that final polish. A particular instance recently highlighted this only too well.
Admittedly, from what I understand anyway, it is somewhat complicated by a contractual clause that allowed said editor to do just that. Even so, I would say that that could also be construed as taking advantage of a newbie writer who has yet to become aware of how things are done in the publishing industry.
The worst transgression of all is not to have involved the writer in any of these changes. No editor, however talented they may be, can know what the writer was thinking when they penned the story. The meaning of a piece of literature is often open to personal interpretation as you all should know from studying English Literature at school and that can apply just as much to an editor as it does to a reader.
The most sensible course of action and the right one is to ask the writer in question what they were aiming for with the story and then work along those lines unless, of course, the story is completely unambiguous from the start. Editing is much the same, in some senses. The touch of the editor must be as light as much as possible, and always with the full knowledge of the writer concerned. Inspired by folklore, these Golden Age strips formulated most of the tropes now associated with the genre. The proliferation of living corpses in comics over the past decade is thus more of a homecoming than an invasion from the silver screen.
Although reminiscent of the Norwegian zombie-comedy film Dead Snow, Nazi Zombies more likely derives its impetus from the popular video game of the same name, featured in the Call of Duty franchise. You could dismiss Nazi Zombies as a cash-in on some ghouls-in-stahlhelm trend, but this comic offers at least a few ideas to chew on. Undead Hitlerites have long been a staple of zombie fiction. The hook of the idea is its anachronism. Zombies as we know them today are children of the Cold War, defined in American comics at the In particular, the Korean War is where Americans first encountered human wave tactics, and coined the term brainwashing to describe the forced conversion of captured GIs to the enemy cause, both of which ghouls embody as metaphor.
And so the living dead seem amusingly out of place when projected back in time to World War II. In some ways, though, they resonate just as strongly with that period. Much of the imagery of zombie fiction is derived from WWII, whether the radiation victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the famine-born cannibals of the Eastern Front, or the masses of starved death camp inmates. Much like communism, Nazism was a totalitarian ideology that relied on intensive propaganda and indoctrination to spread, and so to transfer the zombie metaphor from the Eastern Bloc to the Third Reich is no great ordeal.
All that aside, an undead goosestepper just makes for a great visual. I mean, just how evil can you get? Fresh off his science fiction outing Planet of the Living Dead, creator Joe Wight is no stranger to zombies. Each issue of Nazi Zombies is divided into an ongoing strip written and illustrated by Wight, with a related backup strip, usually drawn by a guest artist.
The inkwash shading feels appropriate for the period, suggestive of black-and-white photographs, even though actual wartime comics had a vivid pallet. The best part about the series is the covers, which use striking images in brilliant colours. Readers seeking surprises should look elsewhere, but, for what it is, this series. There were the odd moments of lucidity, and those I enjoyed, but confusion reigned for too long. This appears to be an experimental novel in the form of interlinked short stories of about forty pages each, set in different times: the first in the far future, then cowboy times, then the thirties where everything becomes pulp-style, then forties and fifties where the story feels like the bastard-child of an eighties action thriller The A-Team , a pulp story, and an alternative history graphic novel.
What the book does right is the weird story, the settings and the action. This has superheroes, robots, immortals, cowboys, Nazis, and a whole lot more. The story is all over the place. The chapters work much better as individual stories, and the thin thread holding them together is at times virtually non-existent. Frustratingly inept plotting and the experimental style of the narrative are likely to drive some readers to distraction, as they did with this reviewer.
But there are good bits that you are not likely to find elsewhere hidden within, and it would be a shame to miss out on those. Everything is going swimmingly for the young man until he comes home one night to find his entire family decapitated Naill now works for the Courts of the Feyre and must round up the prisoners he released when he rescued his daughter from Bedlam prison, using his newly-found magical powers.
The characters are good, and the plotting is clever. The atmosphere set-up and the world are brilliantly realised, and the book ends with a marvellous climax that makes you want more. A magical book, intelligent, heartfelt and well-written, Shevdon has created a series that deserves your attention. RASL Talk about a tough act to follow. His follow-up is RASL, a noirish science fiction series about a dimension-hopping art thief on the run from the government. Intended for mature readers, this title is about as different from the family-friendly Bone as you can get.
Put out since , RASL has almost finished its run, with just a handful of issues to go. For a series infamous for its haphazard release schedule, now is the best time to get on board with RASL. Rob sabotages his own project beyond repair and makes off with a pair of shoulder-mounted engines that enable him to jump the dimensional barriers between parallel universes. To make a living, Rob now travels to alternate earths, stealing priceless paintings and hiding out from the government agents hot on his trail. It is written in such a way as to grip the reader immediately — something many writers try their damnedest to achieve, but few accomplish.
Here, Underhill makes it seem effortless. Regardless of the dimensional shifts, the action stays in the same region across worlds, mostly around Tucson, Arizona. The historical differences among the various universes Rob visits are insignificant compared to what they could have been. In one world, for example, the most obvious deviation is that Robert Zimmerman never took the stage name Bob Dylan. Some might view this triviality as wasted potential, but RASL is a human-scale story, and the more personal divergences, while minor in the great scheme of things, are important for the character.
Given this narrow focus on Rob, the main fault of the series is that he is not the most sympathetic of protagonists. The weakest part of his characterization is the stilted presentation of his relationship with his best friend and colleague, Miles. One of the better aspects of RASL is the way Smith fuses the science fiction elements into real, albeit embellished, historical events such as the Tunguska explosion, the Philadelphia experiment, and the life of Nikola Tesla.
These flashbacks slow the narrative, but add a much-needed richness, and the comic always keeps these sequences entertaining in their own right. Smith is a master cartoonist, although his artwork in RASL could have used a more naturalistic edge to better match the grittiness of the story. All in all, RASL is a world worth visiting. Now, with Railsea, Mieville tries his hand at teen fiction, and as usual he raises the bar for all who follow. The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources.
Given all the multimedia attention paid to Jack the Ripper in recent years, one may well ask why we need yet another study of his deeds and the myths swirling around them. Scholarly studies by Helen Benedict, Karen Halttunen, Judith Knelman, Sara Knox, Wendy Lesser, Maria Tatar, Richard Tithecott, Andy Tucher, and Amy Srebnick have greatly expanded the horizons of this vital, if morbid, topic and made us more aware of how deeply we are all implicated as readers and as members of society in narratives of violent death.
These studies are also studded with clues about the workings of culture as well as class and gender relations. They also made up at least a third of the spectators at public executions in England up to The larger focus of this study, then, falls on representations of different kinds of murder in the London press since the s, including all the extra baggage that accompanied feature stories about homicides deemed newsworthy by editors. Like ships in the night, the two schools pass each other by with barely a foghorn or semaphore message to acknowledge the presence of the other.
Much the same could be said about historians of murder in nineteenth-century Britain and America, but that is another story. One notable exception, Christopher Frayling, has confronted the cultural im- plications of the Ripper mythos and pointed out how the press occasionally went so far as to chastise itself—ever so gently, one might add—for exploit- ing the lurid aspects of these mutilation murders. In one way or another all these themes arise out of my conviction that Ripper news and its spin-offs afford insights into the preoccupations, indeed ob- sessions, of the late Victorians.
These are followed by three chapters in which I seek to contextualize the industry and the art of journalism and deal with the various meanings of sensationalism and the nature of murder news in Victorian England. To that end, many but not all Victorian journalists drew sharp distinctions between normative and deviant behavior, thereby reinscribing the domi- nant codes of social and sexual respectability. News, in sum, is not just about politics, it is politics.
The next four chapters are devoted to the coverage of the last three Ripper murders Stride, Eddowes, and Kelly. In Chapter 11 I deal with several hundred letters to the editor sent by readers with various agendas to express. After this comes the gore.
While some of these passages contained intimate glimpses of female anatomy that seemed much more appropriate for a medical journal, even these papers omitted some of the clinical details found in the autopsy reports. At the same time, the upmarket morning papers did not lag far behind their penny competitors when it came to serving up gore to readers, few of whom ever complained in print about undue shocks to their sensibilities.
Years of reading newspapers both past and present have driven me to the rather depressing conclusion that news is more or less whatever edi- tors and journalists deem newsworthy on any given day or night. There are several deafening silences in the texts of murder news. Not only has the victim been silenced forever, but the perpetrator, when and if caught and convicted, rarely says anything truthful, least of all if coached by a lawyer.
And then, so obvious as to be virtually ignored, there are the silences surrounding the composition and publication of the stories. Ever since Marie Belloc Lowndes published her short story about a religious fanatic and misogynist improbably named Mr. Sleuth who mur- dered women ostensibly out of fear and loathing of their sexuality, the exploits of Jack the Ripper have inspired a number of male writers to act as historical detectives in pursuit of the true perpetrator.
In recent years two very different books have insightfully addressed the cultural implications of serial murder in America. In Killer Among Us, Joseph Fisher explores the social and psychological impact of serial murder on the communities wherein they occur. He is the monster within, or rather he is monstrous normality within the monster of serial killer mythol- ogy. Identifying myself with the normal and remarking on its monstrosity is to have a contradictory perspective, allowing me to confess, Frankenstein- like, that the serial killer I see is my monster, my creation—that I write the serial killer and I write my self.
Equally important, report- ers often devoted some time and space to their own surmises and rumors gleaned from contacts or witnesses. In other words, all the unknowns in these murders created a thousand and one openings for imaginations to run riot. Why, we may well ask, are so many of us drawn to images of violence that frighten or disgust us?
Why do we slow down and stare at a car crash while driving along the highway when we have no intention of helping any of the victims? Some tentative answers to these questions lie scattered through the following pages. As Tithecott points out, it is also about our own fantasies and the culture out of which they arise. Im- plicitly or explicitly, feature stories about homicide convey powerful mes- sages about morality, respectability, and normality. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. But the narrative form puts those fears into a manageable series of events.
It gives us a way of thinking rationally about our fears. Our job is to always stay one or two steps ahead and keep them scared. Instead of a reassuring end to the story, these mutilation murders left gaps into which all kinds of theories, daydreams, and nightmares rushed pell-mell. Bereft of an explanation, contemporaries also had good reason to fear that the perpetrator would soon strike again so long as he remained free. Thus the silences in our newspaper texts prob- lematize the narrative and create countless breaks or ruptures that in- vite more speculation.
When dealing with the Ripper reportage, then, one would do well to bear in mind the warning phrase still heard every day in the London underground: Mind the gap. Beyond our love of stories lies the attraction of news about sex and violence involving people other than ourselves and our families and friends. Sometimes we justify our fondness for the gory details by intellectualizing them. The proper study of man- kind is murder. Stories of real murder continue to fascinate, especially if they deal with bizarre perpetrators and unusual modes of killing. Although written more than thirty years ago, Richard D.
Drawing on the trial transcripts compiled by such murder buffs as Henry B. While the population of England and Wales rose from roughly twenty to twenty-nine million between and , the annual number of recorded homicides between and averaged only John Watson, knew just how widely the accounts of any given crime varied from one newspaper to another. Alas, we know so little about the inner workings of the Victorian press, especially the reasons behind the editorial decisions made every day about the content and layout of every newspaper.
Apart from the anecdotal memoirs of the leading lights of Fleet Street, who relished tales of their more eccentric colleagues, all we have in the way of evidence are the printed results of the editorial decisions taken; and unlike today, we have to contend with anonymity in the Vic- torian era, when most journalists never knew the joy of a byline. While one murder trial might earn three full columns, another would merit only a short paragraph. A moneylender and opportunist, Monson was accused of murdering his well-born pupil Lieutenant Windsor Dud- ley Cecil Hambrough, aged twenty, while shooting rabbits at Ardlamont House near the Kyles of Bute in Argyleshire.
The Times alone ran a total of twenty columns on the trial, consisting mostly of the paraphrased testimony of witnesses. What exactly was it about this case that drew so many reporters as well as spectators to the trial? Here was a murder laden with mystery and scented with snobbery. While the trial attracted many spectators, the Times awarded it only twenty-three lines of small print.
Murder by Chance: Blood Moon Lunacy of Lew Carew
Clearly Fleet Street regarded infanticide in a Scottish slum, without any element of mys- tery and devoid of elitism, as undeserving of feature status. The crowded galleries in courtrooms during highly publicized murder trials also attest to the drawing power of this crime. For all the curious people—many of them women—who could not get into the courtroom, the press provided the only access to the case.
Descriptions of bodies stabbed, shot, poisoned, and dismem- bered—what I call sensation-horror news—composed the centerpieces of feature stories about the inquests and trials in homicide cases. Alluding to paintings or photo- graphs of dead female bodies, Elisabeth Bronfen has observed that when- ever we look at these images we are not only voyeurs but also participants in an act of violence. Where Ripper news is concerned, the paucity of letters to the editor com- plaining about all the gore suggests that most readers were at least willing to tolerate the thrills arising out of the lurid accounts of knife wounds.
Embedded in a matrix of moral and political imperatives about law and order, Ripper news also engendered something akin to a social and moral panic. Because the murders were motiveless and random, and because the killer seemed to be taunting the police with boastful letters, the press had a surfeit of disturbing as well as sensational material on its hands. Many an editorial asked why the killer had not been caught and called for drastic reform of Scotland Yard and the CID. If the extent of law-and-order news varied from one paper to another, Fleet Street had no trouble turning the Ripper murders into the crime story of the century.
Not just keen to sell more papers, they also wished to remind readers about the terrible fate that awaited anyone who succumbed to the desires that had ended in this particular tragedy or scandal. No matter how much the Whitechapel murders differed from the standard fare of domestic murder, the fundamental issues of morality and depravity also underlay the reporting of these horrors. They also caused readers untold horror, sus- pense, fear, and uncertainty for more than three months. And if this narrative had a series of middles, it lacked a clear ending.
The villain never even had a conventional name—only an epithet of dubious provenance. Initially, Fleet Street may have agreed about the ethnic features and origins of this outsider, but there was no consensus about his motive, that all-important staple of domestic murder.
These papers were chosen with an eye to striking a rough balance between the morning and evening, the daily and weekly, and the Tory, Liberal, and Radical press. Except for the Times, Globe, Morning Post, and several East End papers, the papers used here all enjoyed circulations of over 75, in Based on these mostly national papers, the core of this book consists of comparisons of the Ripper reportage from late August to the end of December.
And no amount of critical theory or semiological dissec- tion of language can subvert that fact. As Dr. At the same time, we must confront the close relationship of narratives or storytelling to the lives we lead.
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Taken together, the narra- tives provided by such well-informed Ripperologists as Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Donald Rumbelow, Keith Skinner, and Philip Sugden contain most of the known facts as well as the theories and surmises about each slaying, even though disagreements persist. Around A. A heavy drinker, she moved from one run-down lodging house to another or slept rough when she could not stand another grim night in Lambeth Workhouse. The second victim, Annie Chapman born Eliza Anne Smith , aged around forty-seven, was the wife of a Windsor coachman, John Chapman, who had left her some years before.
Like Nichols, she was continually driven back to prostitution by her lack of a steady income to pay for food, clothing, shelter, and drink. Around 6 A. Once again the killer had tried to cut off her head, judging from the knife marks on the cervical vertebrae. Some papers also claimed that her heart lay nearby.
Although it was not disclosed for some weeks, her uterus, along with a small section of the vagina and bladder, had also been removed. After several bouts with venereal disease, she turned up in Lon- don in and married John Stride, with whom she had nine children. Also fond of the drink, she had a record of arrests for drunk and disorderly behavior. Several workers found her body shortly after 1 A.
She died less than an hour after Stride in a dark corner of Mitre Square, Aldgate. The daughter of a tinplate worker from Wolverhampton, Eddowes was also an alcoholic. But her last lover, John Kelly, denied that she was a prostitute. During her twenties she had lived with a pensioned Irish soldier named Thomas Conway, and given birth to three children before leaving Conway for Kelly around She encountered her killer shortly after being discharged from the police sta- tion at Bishopsgate, where she had been locked up for drunk and disor- derly behavior.
After cutting her throat to the bone, the killer slashed her face, stomach, and pelvic area, pulled out much of her intestines, and threw them over her right shoulder and next to her left arm. During the autopsy the police surgeons discovered that both her left kidney and uterus were missing. Besides occasional soliciting, Eddowes also earned some money from selling goods, hop-picking in Kent, and working as a charwoman.
Despite her chronic drinking, she seemed to have had a reasonably stable relationship with Kelly. As soon as Scotland Yard authorized Fleet Street to publish these macabre messages, the Ripper mythos was born. For reasons best known to the killer, no further prostitute murders took place for more than a month.
Perhaps the increased surveillance by the police and local vigilance committees served as a deterrent. On this occasion he devi- ated from his pattern by killing indoors, which gave him ample time to indulge his rage against the female body without fear of interruption. Unlike the other victims, Kelly was Irish having been born in Limerick , young only twenty-four years old , and attractive.
For reasons unknown she drifted into the East End, where she had to endure a rougher and much poorer clientele. Around she took up with a Billingsgate porter of Irish origins named Joseph Barnett, with whom she lived for a year, until he walked out on October 30 after a bitter row over her drinking and insis- tence on sharing their room with another prostitute. Owing some twenty- nine shillings in back rent, she had gone out to earn a few shillings so that she could keep the landlord at bay and buy some beer.
The exact time of her death remains in dispute, but the burden of medical evidence suggests that she died between and 4 in the morning. Although her body was discovered around on the morning of the 9th, the police refrained for several hours from breaking down the locked door and entering the room because they had sent for a bloodhound, which never arrived.
They did, however, summon a police photographer, who took pictures of the victim through the broken window. Even the briefest cata- logue of the injuries makes for repugnant reading. Once again he tried and failed to decapitate her. After this he sliced off both breasts as well as her nose and dumped some of her abdominal organs on the bedside table. Although no weapon was ever found at or near the crime scenes, the police and the medical examiners assumed that a long, sharp dissecting knife had been used.
He attacked in the early hours of the morning and targeted prostitutes who were well past their prime with the exception of Kelly , presumably because they were the only ones still seeking clients so late at night. As the murders continued despite greatly increased police patrols in the East End, criticism of Scotland Yard reached alarming levels.
Some Londoners expressed deep concern about their own safety in letters to the editor. Besides widening the cultural gap between the West and East Ends of London, the Ripper reportage also made women far more ap- prehensive about any strange man in their neighborhood and about ventur- ing outside alone.
The Times Aug. After a brief summary of the thirty-nine stab wounds, he attributed death to one deep thrust into the heart. Why the reporter failed to mention the others stirs some curiosity. However, at least one newspaper dared to mention the unmentionable on this occasion. From appearances, there was no reason to suppose that recent intimacy had taken place.
In a rambling account given shortly before her demise, Smith ac- cused four drunken men of having stolen her few coins before raping her with a stick or cane. Despite severe hemorrhaging she managed to reach her lodging house, where she collapsed and was taken to London Hospital. But the doctors could not stop the bleeding and she died three days later.
Furthermore, this brazen culprit seemed to be taunting them. Once one has found a suitably demented young male— whether plebeian or patrician—who was familiar with Whitechapel, then one can build a case based in large part on coincidence and circumstantial evidence.
Add a vivid imagination and the result is a foregone conclusion. Not to be denied their sport, however, some Ripperologists continue to operate like true believers. We had already arrived at our destination— for now, at least—and our journey would soon be over. Suspects Most modern studies of the Whitechapel murders take their readers through the long list of famous and obscure candidates for the role of the Ripper whom amateur and professional sleuths have fancied over the years.
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Among the most persistent and ludicrous of myths is the one linking the murders to royalty—namely, H. Clarence led an active homosexual life and frequented the notorious male brothel on Cleveland Street, where he was once arrested during a police raid. Pro- longed self-indulgence led to an early death, apparently from the effects of venereal disease acquired in the West Indies. According to this myth she had given birth to a daughter, which raised the specter of a Roman Catholic heir to the throne. An ardent advocate of this theory, Dr.
Thus there has been speculation that Druitt had drowned himself not just because of his dismissal from his teaching job but out of remorse for his terrible deeds in Whitechapel. Thomas Barnardo. Obscure or plebeian suspects include Joseph Barnett, the ex-lover of Mary Kelly; a vengeful doctor named Stanley, whose beloved son had sup- posedly caught venereal disease from Kelly; the mad Polish hairdresser Aaron Kosminski; and the mad Russian doctor Michael Ostrog. Francis J. Tumblety, a Canadian-born con man of Irish origins who made a small fortune by peddling a fake cure for pimples.
For the remainder of his life he died in he tried to dodge detectives and reporters looking for a good story. With all the zeal of a bloodhound but without providing any footnotes, Harris followed the tortuous and shadowy path of Stephenson, to whom he assigned the au- thorship of a bizarre article in the Pall Mall Gazette Dec. Besides the early prime suspect, John Pizer, a Jewish bootmaker who made some money by threatening to sue several newspapers for defamation of character, the pool of suspects included a nameless Jewish butcher or Kosher slaughterman known as a shochim or shochet ; a lunatic barber-surgeon Severin Klosow- ski, alias George Chapman ; a mad Russian secret agent Dr.
Alexander Pedachenko, alias Vassily Konovalov , who had supposedly been sent to London by the Ochrana in order to discredit Scotland Yard for failing to punish Russian anarchists severely; Dr. No doubt the Liverpudlian producers of this bizarre text— written in a uniform twentieth-century hand in an old scrapbook with many pages torn out—hoped to make millions by assigning the authorship to James Maybrick, a well-to-do and middle-aged cotton merchant who died in from an overdose of arsenic.
Her trial in made headline news around the country and attracted hordes of spectators. Nev- ertheless, Paul Feldman, a British video maker, embarked on a prodigious quest to prove the diary authentic. Running parallel to these masculine productions and rarely touching them at any point are a few important studies by British and American feminists who have their own distinct ideas about the murders as the epit- ome of male misogyny since time immemorial. Twelve years later, Jane Caputi launched her polemic against the lethal nature of male heterosexual desire and the vital role played by serial killers in not only the lives of women but also the mass media ever since In other words, there is no clear boundary between the lived realities of East Enders and our historical reconstruction more than a century later of Whitechapel during the year of the Ripper, just as the boundaries of the East End itself remain ambiguous.
At times it seemed like a remote colony of the impe- rial city, if not a foreign country. Filled with pride over the quality of English civilization, most West Enders regarded Tower Hamlets the core of the East End as an embarrassment—a vast Cimmerian den populated in the main by degenerates and troglodytes. Jekyll and Mr. In short, the edu- cated elite of Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and Kensington were not at all sur- prised that these homicidal horrors were taking place in Whitechapel. Condemned to sharing single rooms, these families were forced to scrounge for menial work when the Huguenot-dominated silk-weaving industry around Fournier Street started to decline.
At the same time, the gulf between rich and poor steadily widened. So too did the sense of contrast between the two Ends of London, which had the effect of eliding central London in the collective imagination. To begin, its population is a strange amalgamation of Jews, English, French, Germans, and other antagonistic elements that must clash and jar, but not to such an extent as has been surmised and reported.
By the number of Jews living in Tower Ham- lets had climbed to 45, out of a total population of some ,, and many more were on their way. If most Londoners took inordinate pride in their modern Rome and hailed it as the epicenter of the greatest and richest empire the world had ever known, some pessimists saw the metropolis as overcrowded, unhealthy, and oppressive.
Moreover, darkness also connoted chronic dirt, disease, drunkenness, crime, violence, pollution, pauperism, and overcrowding, all of which contributed to high infant mortality rates and physical and sexual abuse. Clearly London was far too big and complex a social organization to be contained by a single trope. London offered spectators a bewildering variety of people, activities, goods, moods, and cityscapes. Hyde can be read as an extended metaphor for a deeply divided city, wherein the forces of reason, civility, and learning are pitted against those of animal passion and violence.
Along with good intentions they carried a fair share of class and racial prejudice. These prejudices owed much to sheer ignorance of conditions in the rookeries and back alleys or wynds of Tower Hamlets. As the Daily Telegraph declared Oct. With much help from the crusading journalist W. Civilisation, which can breed its own barbarians, does it not also breed its own pygmies? And he appealed to readers to give generously toward these goals.
Besides indulging in the jungle trope, some late-Victorian reformers cherished sewer or midden metaphors when seeking to epitomize White- chapel and environs. At the same time, moral- istic reformers like the Rev. Andrew Mearns, W. Stead, the Rev. Sidney Godolphin Osborne, and General Booth binarized their urban world into zones of light and darkness, cleanliness and dirt, safety and danger, virtue and vice. In their febrile imaginations all the drainpipes and sewers of the metropolis seemed to empty into the East End. The tendency of respectable Victorians to compare the dregs of the East End—or what they called with heavy irony and euphemism the residuum—to apes, pigs, rats, and dogs deepened the already profound gulf between the classes and the two Ends of London.
By gathering reams of data about the earn- ings, expenses, and hardships of the inhabitants of every street and square, he sought to raise that curtain and reveal how people actually managed to survive. Even so, Whitechapel had the largest number of paupers, casual workers, and semi-criminals in all of Tower Hamlets, at 3. And yet St. He wanted to see the poorest families resettled in industrial communities outside the slums; and if this did not appeal, then there was always the route of assisted emigration.
Even the cats were starving. In sum, dark blue, pink, and purple predominated behind the main ave- nues, with only the occasional blotch of black signifying the worst slum areas. This deep spatial and cultural division was reinforced in by the publication of the Rev. Stead touted enthusiastically. Most of the early suspects in the Ripper slayings fell into this category. Although most of the refugees from persecution in Eastern Eu- rope spoke little or no English upon arrival, many managed to climb up and out of poverty through shrewd selling of goods and services. The palpable success of Jewish tradesmen, sweatshop owners, moneylenders, and pawn- brokers stirred the envy of many gentiles, especially those who had to borrow money at high interest rates.
Struggling with a new language and an alien culture, these foreigners often had to contend with cruel ethnic or racial gibes. Only a few of the long-term under- employed and unemployed in the East End ever succeeded in climbing out of the deep trough of debt, despair, and alcoholism into which they had fallen.
The chronic poverty of such workers moved some social reformers to promote assisted emigration as the only way to alleviate their misery. While the population of central London slowly declined in the s, the periph- ery grew steadily. Between and , the number of residents of central London fell by In his panoramic survey of Tower Hamlets in , Fishman deliberately blurs the distinction between image and reality.
A grinning Hottentot elbows his way through a crowd of long-eyed Jew- esses. An Algerian merchant walks arm-in-arm with a native of Calcutta. A little Italian plays pitch-and-toss with a small Russian. A Polish Jew enjoys sauer-kraut with a German Gentile. And among the foreigners lounges the East End loafer, monarch of all he surveys, lord of the premises. Even more colorful were the street actors, buskers, and puppeteers. As Stedman Jones has observed, the domestic comedy of the plebeian music hall contributed much to working-class consciousness in late Vic- torian London.
The founding of Toynbee Hall in gave Whitechapel a vital center for the evangelical impulses that had driven missionaries into the East End seeking to rescue lost souls from the demons of drink, prostitution, and violence. Samuel Barnett, rector of St. This book described a close-knit plebeian community where people knew each other only too well and where family feuding turned into tribal wars involving women and children as well as men. One byproduct of the Whitechapel murders was a renewed demand by the social-purity lobby to stamp out prostitution.
Since prostitution in itself was not a crime, a policeman could arrest a woman only for soliciting or be- ing disorderly—charges not so easily proven in a court of law. In addition, some prostitutes enjoyed a cozy relationship with the local constabulary, to whom they handed out sexual favors or bribes. They found it far harder to avoid alcoholism and venereal disease. Moreover, the police rarely hassled the pimps or ponces who lived off the earnings of the women under their control.
Most owners and operators of the lodging houses serving as brothels withstood the forces of the social-purity lobby until the arrival of Frederick Charrington. This courageous crusader, a scion of a rich brewing family, launched a one-man campaign against brothel keepers at some risk to his own safety. Another extended troping of the East End occurred in , when the American writer Jack London, a man of working-class origins and socialist sympathies, set forth on an expedition into a region that his friends re- garded as wholly foreign and dangerous.
There were no swelling muscles, no abundant thews and wide-spreading shoulders. They exhibited, rather, an elemental economy of nature, such as the cave-men must have exhibited. But there was strength in those meagre bodies, the ferocious primordial strength to clutch and gripe [sic] and tear and rend. When they spring upon their human prey they are known even to bend the victim backward and double its body till the back is broken. The streets and houses, alleys and courts, are their hunting grounds.
The slum is their jungle, and they live and prey in the jungle. Imbued with skepticism, we focus on the special interests and ideological leanings of the press corps and the moguls who dominate the mass media. Moreover, the prominent news stories or feature articles in newspapers constantly reinscribe the dominant values governing normative behavior.
Our contextualization of Ripper news begins with some general obser- vations about the nature of news reporting and its relation to the dominant values of society. Thus journalists do not simply entertain readers with tales of crime, scandal, or sports, but wield real power. Their landmark work Policing the Crisis examined in detail the responses of the British public, press, and judiciary to some vicious muggings a term imported from America that had occurred in Birmingham, London, and other cities in — Aware that they had no easy answers to the inequities that had produced such crimes, they laid out in great detail how repressive forces within society and the state were mobilized so as to ensure the triumph of law and order over what was construed as anarchy or thuggery.
As soon as the media feature stories of ran- dom violence or street crime, the public starts to worry about the risk to their own lives and valuables. In this way law-and-order news plays into the hands of reactionary politicians in need of votes who condemn lax moral standards and lobby for more police repression. Crime waves are thus constructed by people who fear the erosion of traditional values and see gratuitous violence at every turn. No mat- ter how hard reporters may work to capture what they consider the reality of any given event, what actually appears in print is the result of much selecting and editing.
Therefore they must practice a form of triage, choosing the stories deemed worthy of notice and deciding on the appropriate number of column inches and the placement of the article on a given page. Although these radical critics were writing at a time of profound aliena- tion from the capitalist state as well as anger at the so-called Establishment, their strictures about the nature of crime news cannot simply be dismissed as the product of an outmoded or naive political protest.
Much of what Chibnall, Hall and his colleagues, and Box had to say about the con- struction of crime news in the s applies to both today and yesterday— notably, to late Victorian journalism. The Ripper murders prompted some papers to promote a moral and social panic far greater than the alarm raised over the garroting or mugging of a few gentlemen in the West End in , when the right-wing press and several Tory members of Parliament orchestrated a crime wave by turning several minor assaults into a threat to life and limb all over the metropolis.
The alarm over garroting resulted in a severe crackdown by the police, who arrested more suspects between July and December of than they had in the whole previous year. During November, twenty-three men charged with garroting were tried and convicted at the Old Bailey. In February , small bands of roving rioters looted shops in St.
More than a year later, on Sunday, November 13, , thousands of un- employed and casual workers marched from Tower Hamlets to Trafalgar Square, resolved to hold another mass rally. In a bullish mood, the Times Nov. On the other hand, the Liberal and Radical press, still angry over Bloody Sunday, accused Scotland Yard of utter in- competence because the killer had not been caught, and predicted that habitual criminals all over town would step up their activities now that they felt safe from the inept police.
Beyond the arena of poli- tics, the old and new men of business and the professions were keen to achieve recognition as gentlemen of good taste, and for this reason they bought paintings and patronized painters who celebrated English civiliza- tion and the beauty of the countryside. Artisans and factory workers with a penny or two to spare were entering the newspaper culture in droves, having improved their reading and writing ability in both Sunday schools and state-supported elementary schools. Editors and journalists working for the penny press knew how to satisfy the tastes of an increasingly plebeian readership without neglecting the needs of their middle-class readers.
Mid-Victorian prosperity went far to lessen class antagonisms despite the disparities of wealth, economic interest, education, and political alle- giance. So too did the mass circulation press, which proved an effective cultural bridge over the great social divide. Regardless of their class, status, or occupation, more and more readers relished the sheer entertainment value of the news, particularly when it came to disasters and crime, espe- cially murder. Then came the abo- lition of the duty on paper in As prices plunged, the number of newspapers in Britain rose steadily—from in to well over 2, by By the s, many skilled workers and artisans were buying an evening daily in addition to the cherished Sunday weekly.
The rapid growth in the number and readership of cheap papers meant that the fourth estate came to occupy a central position in Brit- ish culture and society, feeding the growing demand for not only knowl- edge but also entertainment. Early Victorian newspapers differed markedly from the small-circulation and gossipy journals of the mid-eighteenth century, but the changes in format, content, and circulation that took place between the s and s were almost as pronounced.
In addition to such technological ad- vances as the telegraph and the web rotary printing machine, the emergence of some remarkably able proprietors and editors, along with the surge in consumerism, advertising, and working-class literacy, left lasting marks on both the national and the provincial press. Technological progress did not stop with the adoption of the rotary-action press in the late s. It had also been securely implanted into the cultural landscape as an essential reference point in the daily lives of millions of people.
Murder by Chance: Blood Moon Lunacy of Lew Carew
By the number of news- papers had at least doubled, the readership had quadrupled, and the size of the press corps had grown by leaps and bounds. By combining lurid stories of death and di- saster with summaries of political and economic events in a reader-friendly format, and by lowering prices to a penny, the Sunday press proved a roaring commercial success.
This quintessential expression of the new mass consumer society enabled newspaper owners and directors to charge less for their product while aiding and abetting the growing passion—especially among women—for shopping. The only English daily to surpass the 50, mark before was the Times, which peaked at close to 70, in the early s, slumped to 61, in , and then fell to 40, by , while the price stayed at threepence.
During the s several metropolitan and international news agencies made their debut on the strength of the telegraph and the growing demand for syndicated news. Whether pub- lished in its original form or reworked by editors, this material enabled provincial newspapers to expand their coverage of events, by carrying na- tional news that otherwise would have exceeded their resources.
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