Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed
By Patricia Cornwell
Read: September 2003
In this book, Patricia Cornwell claims to unmask Jack the Ripper. It was not the first book I've read that claimed to do so. The Diary of Jack the Ripper also claimed to have unraveled this mystery. The truth of the matter is this is an old mystery, like really really old. I don't see how new science can solve it at this point. It seemed to me that Ms. Cornwell said we found these stamps or envelopes that were licked and can prove that she's figured out who the killer is, but then admits that all scientific tests were inconclusive.
I've heard it said that if crimes like these aren't solved in the first few days, or maybe even weeks, they usually wind up unsolved. Then why is it that people think they can solve crimes that were committed over a hundred years ago? It's not like the evidence collected will be that helpful, even if they knew about crime scenes and evidence collection then, which they obviously did not. I'm really not sure of the motivation behind this book. Jack the Ripper could be anybody named or suspected all along, or not. There is no way to prove you've found the right guy. There is no legal recourse even if you could. He and his victim's families are long gone.
I'm really not sure why I continue to read books like this. I do like the psychology of true crime books, especially when the crimes get solved, truly solved with lots of proof and facts and stuff. I want to understand why people do the things they do. I've also read a lot of murder mysteries, crime fiction, etc. following in my mother's footsteps and I wonder how much of what I see on tv and in the movies and read in books can actually happen. I have a lot of questions, most of them I think would get me in some trouble if I were to ask them. Books, my way of keeping from being suspected of crimes. Just an added bonus that I've found.