I’ve had Jack on the brain recently.
Jack the Ripper, that is.
My friend Michael sent me an e-mail a few days ago. He’d just seen From Hell, the Hughes Brothers film adaptation of the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell comic book miniseries about the Whitechapel murders of 1888. I’d started to write a response, left it unfinished, and in taking the nuclear option on my weekend e-mail woes deleted the draft I’d begun.
I remember a little of what I did write, mostly related to the utter stupidity of Alan Moore adapting Stephen Knight’s Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution as the basis of his comic book, when every authority on the subject has discredited that theory of the Ripper series fifteen different ways. Casebook: Jack the Ripper has a good page refuting the Royal Conspiracy theory; while the arguments made apply directly to Knight’s book, they apply to Moore as well because of Moore’s fidelity to Knight’s theory.
But that’s not the only reason I’ve had Jack on the brain.
In 1988 an anthology was published, Red Jack, featuring stories about Jack the Ripper. I haunted used book stores for years looking for a copy of this book, not just for my interest in the Ripper murders. Red Jack also reprinted an Ellery Queen novel, A Study in Terror, in which Sherlock Holmes investigates the Whitechapel murders. Yes, other books have pitted Holmes against the Ripper, most notably Edward Hanna’s The Whitechapel Horrors and Michael Dibdin’s The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, but this was Ellery Queen, and I wanted to read it.
I picked it up. Thus far I’ve only had the opportunity to read the introduction, and I may not read any of the stories except for A Study in Terror.
It’s nice to have in my Sherlock Holmes collection, though. Another hole plugged!