|Plot Summary of Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed|
Putnam, Nov 2002, 27.95, 387 pp.
When this reviewer realized that Patricia Cornwell had written a nonfiction work focused on solving the cold case of the Ripper, the initial thought was “just what the world needs, another solve the Ripper Case'. Immediately after that idea came the thought that if anyone could do it Patricia Cornwell can and started reading the book only to find out it is so well written and fascinating, that it impossible to put down until the last page is turned.
She and her team applied modern day forensic techniques and crime scene methodology, and historical sleuthing to determine whom Jack the Ripper was. Several tons of documents and other physical evidence such as fingerprints, photographs, museum paintings, fine arts accouterments, and even DNA, etc. were evaluated. Using the assumption that Jack remained free and still operated after his several month killing spree in 1888, Ms. Cornwell follows the paths of the prime suspects and looks at police blotters near where they lived. This concerted effort led to Ms. Cornwell to declare unequivocally that Jack the Ripper is none other than: read the book.
PORTRAIT OF A KILLER: JACK THE RIPPER CASE CLOSED is a fascinating version of the Ripper case and the chronicle of how Ms. Cornwell and her team step by step drew their conclusion. The key to this true crime account is not the final claim though that is appealing, but the powerfully interesting nonfiction elucidation that hooks the reader to follow along as if Dr. Scarpetta was working the crime scene. Ms. Cornwell shows she could rule the true crime genre if she permanently switched fields perhaps to try to uncover the identity of Deep Throat next.
Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar
|"Patricia Cornwell put forward evidence to suggest that Walter Richard Sickert the artist was the infamous Jack The Ripper. She describes his troubled childhood, possible causes of his behaviour and presents facts that link him to the murders in a chilling way."
Ally, Resident Scholar
|"Patricia Cornwell searches for the true identity of Jack the Ripper. She presents a strong case against one particular suspect."
Lisa, Resident Scholar
|"Patricia Cornwell utilizes modern day forensic science to solve one of the ninteenth century's greatest mysteries: the identity of notorious Whitechapel serial killer "Jack the Ripper". "
LaPierre, Resident Scholar
|"Patricia Cornwell is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt she can identify the elusive Jack the Ripper. Defying many Ripperologists, Cornwell uses more than forensic technology to reveal the 1888 serial killer. The history of London during the nineteenth century adds a necessary insight that marries the circumstantial evidence to forensic technology and documents of the Ripper. "
Tracey, Resident Scholar
|"Paticia Cornwell has gone all out to reveal the Ripper's identity. She used any evidence that miraculously survived the century as well as modern day technology. Additionally, Cornwell takes us on a tour of the Ripper's killing ground revealing to us all of the customs and expectations for 1888. Having such knowledge puts much of the circumstantial puzzle together coupled with modern forenzics. When all is said and done, you will feel you have walked in Jack the Ripper's footsteps."
Tracey Ray, Resident Scholar
|"Patricia Cornwell has compiled an impressive amount of dated and modern forensic investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders that panicked London's East End in 1888. She focuses on suspect Walter Richard Sickert, a successful artist who once studied under Whistler. Though compelling, Ms. Cornwell is a little sold on herself for having irrefutably 'solved' the mystery; potential jurors will not be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt."
Michael S. Casteel, Resident Scholar
|"To solve a century-old murder sometimes it takes the mind of a crime novelist to think as a killer would. In her book, Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed, Patricia Cornwell has presented the most plausible suspect yet in the notorious crime spree of "Jack the Ripper" infamous for the gruesome series of prostitute slayings in London the late 1800's. In addition to her ability to break down the facts of the case in an organized fashion, Cornwell has systematically eliminated the primary alternate suspects such as royal Prince Albert and the doctor to the monarchy. Her assumptions, theories, and findings make for a fascinating case. Equally intriguing is that the suspect was a moderately famous artist in his own right."
David Fletcher, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 13.8%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 47.5%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 13.8%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 25%
Time/era of story:
- 19th century
Murder of certain profession?
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- Big focus on forensic evidence
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Is MAIN CHARACTER an EVIL criminal?
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
- Cynical or arrogant
Accounts of torture and death?
- very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture
Explicit sex in book?
A lot of techno jargon?
Kind of jargon?
Unusual forms of death
Unusual form of death?
Amount of dialog
- little dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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