The Secret Life of Walter Sickert

Book - 2017
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A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert , a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world's most chilling cases of serial murder--and the police force that failed to solve it.

Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his art--as well as extensive evidence--points to another name, one that's left its bloody mark on the pages of history: Jack the Ripper. Cornwell has collected never-before-seen archival material--including a rare mortuary photo, personal correspondence and a will with a mysterious autopsy clause--and applied cutting-edge forensic science to open an old crime to new scrutiny.

Incorporating material from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed , this new edition has been revised and expanded to include eight new chapters, detailed maps and hundreds of images that bring the sinister case to life.

Note: This book contains images that some readers may find disturbing.

Publisher: Seattle :, Thomas & Mercer,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781503936874
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 Jack -C
Characteristics: 553 pages : illustrations (some color), maps


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Jul 10, 2020

This book is a very impressive work of research. The author is an acclaimed writer, and she's brought all her impressive investigative skills to use here. Not only is there meticulous detail, the illustrations are fantastic. It's a masterful work and very convincing that Cornwell knows who the Ripper was.

Sep 12, 2019

Ms. Cornwell deserves the highest marks and great credit for her hard and dedicated work. The information she presents is very well researched.
I believe the author has put the most research into this book then any book I have read.
When all the information presented in this book is considered then the guilt for these murders points to Sickert.
Again, kudos to Ms. Cornwell for her dedication and devotion to this book! Well done. Excellent work!

Nov 23, 2017

This book suffers from a complete lack of organization and ultimately goes nowhere.

Jun 14, 2017

In summary, this is a waste of time. In her typical egocentric manner, Cornwell has "updated" her 2002 version to defend herself against the considerable criticism that the original evoked.
For a start, though Cornwell clearly is unwilling to admit a mistake, the Ripper mystery has been solved, and it wasn't Sickert; nothing so romantic or melodramatic. Despite her claims that DNA evidence has proven worthless, a cutting-edge, well-documented, scientifically rigorous, and lengthy analysis was conducted on a Ripper artifact, and proved conclusive.

But it didn't solve the "mystery".

That's because the killer has been known to Scotland Yard since the beginning.

The killer never has been publicly identified because it wasn't provable in court and risked defaming relatives or descendants. The proof has been supplied finally, and the truth is so unromantic that it likely will be ignored in favor of more "exciting" and melodramatic speculations.

The facts in the case are available in "Naming Jack the Ripper" (sorry; no italics in this software) by Russell Edwards. If you're looking for a breath-stopping thriller, though, this isn't it. It is, however, an excellently documented account of the careful scientific examination of evidence from one of the crime scenes, held by Scotland Yard. It is cutting edge forensic research, which Cornwell's inquiry was not. Nowhere will you find Ms Cornwell's self-congratulatory "detective" work. Thankfully.

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