Crime fiction writer Cornwell adds yet another volume to the Jack the Ripper literature. She argues that the serial killer had to be the painter Walter Richard Sickert (d. 1942) and that the killings continued beyond the 1888 murder spree. She presents a portrait of Sickert as deranged by genital deformations and points to clues in his paintings and his biography as giving weight to her description of him as psychopathic. Explorations of the physical evidence, including DNA tests commissioned by Cornwell are presented and new clues are sought in the accounts of the murders of the Ripper's victims. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR
"I knew the identity of a murderer and couldn't possibly avert my gaze," declares bestselling author and Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine chairman of the board Cornwell (The Last Precinct). Claiming to have cracked the unsolved case of Jack the Ripper, the author, combining superb investigative skills and meticulous research with modern technology, presents strong, albeit largely circumstantial, evidence as to the true culprit in this uncharacteristic work of nonfiction. Cornwell's man is the handsome, educated actor-cum-artist Walter Richard Sickert, and she delves into his life, probing the psychological pain and sexual deformity which led to his "impotent fury." Screen, stage and TV actress Burton's splendid, professional narration deserves much of the credit for the book's smooth translation to abridged audio format. Transporting listeners to 19th century England, Burton easily transitions between American and English accents, bringing an authentic, resonating flavor to the era and to the desperate lives of London's "unfortunates" who became the killer's prey. Despite some tedious and over-detailed readings of medical records, laws and police reports, as well as descriptive accounts of Cornwell's experiences re-opening the case, this audiobook turns potentially dry material into an enthralling exploration. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 11). (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.