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Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed [Anglais] [Broché]

Patricia Cornwell
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Description de l'ouvrage

5 juin 2003

Now updated with new material that brings the killer's picture into clearer focus.

In the fall of 1888, all of London was held in the grip of unspeakable terror.  An elusive madman calling himself Jack the Ripper was brutally butchering women in the slums of London’s East End.  Police seemed powerless to stop the killer, who delighted in taunting them and whose crimes were clearly escalating in violence from victim to victim.  And then the Ripper’s violent spree seemingly ended as abruptly as it had begun.  He had struck out of nowhere and then vanished from the scene.  Decades passed, then fifty years, then a hundred, and the Ripper’s bloody sexual crimes became anemic and impotent fodder for puzzles, mystery weekends, crime conventions, and so-called “Ripper Walks” that end with pints of ale in the pubs of Whitechapel.  But to number-one New York Times bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell, the Ripper murders are not cute little mysteries to be transformed into parlor games or movies but rather a series of terrible crimes that no one should get away with, even after death.  Now Cornwell applies her trademark skills for meticulous research and scientific expertise to dig deeper into the Ripper case than any detective before her—and reveal the true identity of this fabled Victorian killer.

In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed, Cornwell combines the rigorous discipline of twenty-first century police investigation with forensic techniques undreamed of during the late Victorian era to solve one of the most infamous and difficult serial murder cases in history.  Drawing on unparalleled access to original Ripper evidence, documents, and records, as well as archival, academic, and law-enforcement resources, FBI profilers, and top forensic scientists, Cornwell reveals that Jack the Ripper was none other than a respected painter of his day, an artist now collected by some of the world’s finest museums: Walter Richard Sickert.

It has been said of Cornwell that no one depicts the human capability for evil better than she.   Adding layer after layer of circumstantial evidence to the physical evidence discovered by modern forensic science and expert minds, Cornwell shows that Sickert, who died peacefully in his bed in 1942, at the age of 81, was not only one of Great Britain’s greatest painters but also a serial killer, a damaged diabolical man driven by megalomania and hate.  She exposes Sickert as the author of the infamous Ripper letters that were written to the Metropolitan Police and the press.  Her detailed analysis of his paintings shows that his art continually depicted his horrific mutilation of his victims, and her examination of this man’s birth defects, the consequent genital surgical interventions, and their effects on his upbringing present a casebook example of how a psychopathic killer is created.

New information and startling revelations detailed in Portrait of a Killer include:

- How a year-long battery of more than 100 DNA tests—on samples drawn by Cornwell’s forensics team in September 2001 from original Ripper letters and Sickert documents—yielded the first shadows of the 75- to 114 year-old genetic evid...

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

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Descriptions du produit


Monday, August 6, 1888, was a bank holiday in London. The city

was a carnival of wondrous things to do for as little as pennies

if one could spare a few.

The bells of Windsor’s Parish Church and St. George’s Chapel rang

throughout the day. Ships were dressed in flags, and royal salutes boomed

from cannons to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh’s forty-fourth birthday.

The Crystal Palace offered a dazzling spectrum of special programs:

organ recitals, military band concerts, a “monster display of fireworks,”

a grand fairy ballet, ventriloquists, and “world famous minstrel performances.”

Madame Tussaud’s featured a special wax model of Frederick

II lying in state and, of course, the ever-popular Chamber of Horrors.

Other delicious horrors awaited those who could afford theater tickets

and were in the mood for a morality play or just a good old-fashioned

fright. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was playing to sold-out houses. The famous

American actor Richard Mansfield was brilliant as Jekyll and Hyde



M R . N O B O D Y

at Henry Irving’s Lyceum, and the Opera Comique had its version, too,

although poorly reviewed and in the midst of a scandal because the theater

had adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel without permission.

On this bank holiday there were horse and cattle shows; special

“cheap rates” on trains; and the bazaars in Covent Garden overflowing

with Sheffield plates, gold, jewelry, used military uniforms. If one wanted

to pretend to be a soldier on this relaxed but rowdy day, he could do so

with little expense and no questions asked. Or one could impersonate a

copper by renting an authentic Metropolitan Police uniform from Angel’s

Theatrical Costumes in Camden Town, scarcely a two-mile stroll from

where the handsome Walter Richard Sickert lived.

Twenty-eight-year-old Sickert had given up his obscure acting career

for the higher calling of art. He was a painter, an etcher, a student of

James McNeill Whistler, and a disciple of Edgar Degas. Young Sickert

was himself a work of art: slender, with a strong upper body from swimming,

a perfectly angled nose and jaw, thick wavy blond hair, and blue

eyes that were as inscrutable and penetrating as his secret thoughts and

piercing mind. One might almost have called him pretty, except for his

mouth, which could narrow into a hard, cruel line. His precise height is

unknown, but a friend of his described him as a little above average. Photographs

and several items of clothing donated to the Tate Gallery

Archive in the 1980s suggest he was probably five foot eight or nine.

Sickert was fluent in German, English, French, and Italian. He knew

Latin well enough to teach it to friends, and he was well acquainted with

Danish and Greek and possibly knew a smattering of Spanish and Portuguese.

He was said to read the classics in their original languages, but

he didn’t always finish a book once he started it. It wasn’t uncommon to

find dozens of novels strewn about, opened to the last page that had

snagged his interest. Mostly, Sickert was addicted to newspapers,

tabloids, and journals.

Until his death in 1942, his studios and studies looked like a recycling

center for just about every bit of newsprint to roll off the European


[ 2 ]

presses. One might ask how any hard-working person could find time to

go through four, five, six, ten newspapers a day, but Sickert had a

method. He didn’t bother with what didn’t interest him, whether it was

politics, economics, world affairs, wars, or people. Nothing mattered to

Sickert unless it somehow affected Sickert.

He usually preferred to read about the latest entertainment to come

to town, to scrutinize art critiques, to turn quickly to any story about

crime, and to search for his own name if there was any reason it might

be in print on a given day. He was fond of letters to the editor, especially

ones he wrote and signed with a pseudonym. Sickert relished knowing

what other people were doing, especially in the privacy of their own notalways-

so-tidy Victorian lives. “Write, write, write!” he would beg his

friends. “Tell me in detail all sorts of things, things that have amused you

and how and when and where, and all sorts of gossip about every one.”

Sickert despised the upper class, but he was a star stalker. He somehow

managed to hobnob with the major celebrities of the day: Henry Irving

and Ellen Terry, Aubrey Beardsley, Henry James, Max Beerbohm,

Oscar Wilde, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Rodin, André Gide, Édouard Dujardin,

Proust, Members of Parliament. But he did not necessarily know

many of them, and no one—famous or otherwise—ever really knew him.

Not even his first wife, Ellen, who would turn forty in less than two

weeks. Sickert may not have given much thought to his wife’s birthday

on this bank holiday, but it was extremely unlikely he had forgotten it.

He was much admired for his amazing memory. Throughout his life

he would amuse dinner guests by performing long passages of musicals

and plays, dressed for the parts, his recitations flawless. Sickert would

not have forgotten that Ellen’s birthday was August 18th and a very easy

occasion to ruin. Maybe he would “forget.” Maybe he would vanish into

one of his secret rented hovels that he called studios. Maybe he would

take Ellen to a romantic café in Soho and leave her alone at the table

while he dashed off to a music hall and then stayed out the rest of the

night. Ellen loved Sickert all her sad life, despite his cold heart, his patho-


[ 3 ]

logical lying, his self-centeredness, and his habit of disappearing for

days—even weeks—without warning or explanation.

Walter Sickert was an actor by nature more than by virtue of employment.

He lived on the center stage of his secret, fantasy-driven life

and was just as comfortable moving about unnoticed in the deep shadows

of isolated streets as he was in the midst of throbbing crowds. He

had a great range of voice and was a master of greasepaint and wardrobe.

So gifted at disguise was he that as a boy he often went about unrecognized

by his neighbors and family.

Throughout his long and celebrated life, he was notorious for constantly

changing his appearance with a variety of beards and mustaches,

for his bizarre dress that in some cases constituted costumes, for his hairstyles—

including shaving his head. He was, wrote French artist and

friend Jacques-Emile Blanche, a “Proteus.” Sickert’s “genius for camouflage

in dress, in the fashion of wearing his hair, and in his manner of

speaking rival Fregoli’s,” Blanche recalled. In a portrait Wilson Steer

painted of Sickert in 1890, Sickert sports a phony-looking mustache that

resembles a squirrel’s tail pasted above his mouth.

He also had a penchant for changing his name. His acting career,

paintings, etchings, drawings, and prolific letters to colleagues, friends,

and newspapers reveal many personas: Mr. Nemo (Latin for “Mr. Nobody”),

An Enthusiast, A Whistlerite, Your Art Critic, An Outsider, Walter

Sickert, Sickert, Walter R. Sickert, Richard Sickert, W. R. Sickert,

W.S., R.S., S., Dick, W. St., Rd. Sickert LL.D., R.St. A.R.A., and RDSt


Sickert did not write his memoirs, keep a diary or calendar, or date

most of his letters or works of art, so it is difficult to know where he was

or what he was doing on or during any given day, week, month, or even

year. I could find no record of his whereabouts or activities on August 6,

1888, but there is no reason to suspect he was not in London. Based on

notes he scribbled on music-hall sketches, he was in London just two days

earlier, on August 4th.


[ 4 ]

Whistler would be getting married in London five days later, on August

11th. Although Sickert hadn’t been invited to the small, intimate

wedding, he wasn’t the sort to miss it—even if he had to spy on it.

The great painter James McNeill Whistler had fallen deeply in love

with the “remarkably pretty” Beatrice Godwin, who was to occupy the

most prominent position in his life and entirely change the course of it.

Likewise, Whistler occupied one of the most prominent positions in Sickert’s

life and had entirely changed the course of it. “Nice boy, Walter,”

Whistler used to say in the early 1880s when he was still fond of the aspiring

and extraordinarily gifted young man. By the time of Whistler’s

engagement their friendship had cooled, but Sickert could not have been

prepared for what must have seemed a shockingly unexpected and complete

abandonment by the Master he idolized, envied, and hated.

Whistler and his new bride planned to honeymoon and travel the rest of

the year in France, where they hoped to reside permanently.

The anticipated connubial bliss of the flamboyant artistic genius and

egocentric James McNeill Whistler must have been disconcerting to his

former errand boy–apprentice. One of Sickert’s many roles was the irresistible

womanizer, but offstage he was nothing of the sort. Sickert was

dependent on women and loathed them. They were intellectually inferior

and useless except as caretakers or objects to manipulate, especially for

art or money. Women were a dangerous reminder of an infuriating and

humiliating secret that Sickert carried not only to the grave but beyond

it, because cremated bodies reveal no tales of the flesh, even if they are

exhumed. Sickert was born with a deformity of his penis requiring surgeries

when he was a toddler that would have left him disfigured if not

mutilated. He probably was incapable of an erection. He may not have

had enough of a penis left for penetration, a...

--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Biographie de l'auteur

Patricia Cornwell's most recent bestsellers include Red Mist, Port Mortuary, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper�Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem�the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year�and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain�s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime
novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 528 pages
  • Editeur : Time Warner Paperbacks; Édition : New Ed (5 juin 2003)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0751533599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751533590
  • Dimensions du produit: 10,9 x 17,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 104.660 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires en ligne 

2.3 étoiles sur 5
2.3 étoiles sur 5
Commentaires client les plus utiles
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Une vérité parmi tant d'autres 29 juillet 2003
Par D. Thomas
Un des derniers écrits les plus médiatisés sur un sujet déjà centennaire : Jack l'éventreur. Ce livre a pour objet de démontrer la culpabilité (potentielle) de Walter Richard Sickert dans les cinq meurtres canoniques de Whitechapel, d'août à novembre 1888.
Et tout le problème est là. En effet, Patricia Cornwell ne mène pas une enquête donc l'issue serait l'inculpation du célèbre peintre, mais multiplie des recoupements discutables pour justifier sa conviction. Malgré les six millions de dollars investis en tests ADN et autres, l'auteur ne parvient pas à me convaincre, et l'impression générale est bien celle d'une vérité (peu probable) parmi tant d'autres ...
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ripperologists have a passion that rivals that of Talmudic scholars and an ability to savage any position that runs counter to their own. Therefore, it is not surprising that Patricia Cornwell's attempt to close the case of Jack the Ripper would be met with disdain, hostility, and outright invective.
Of course Cornwell claim that the artist William Sickert was Jack the Ripper is open to debate. We need to remember that EVERYTHING involving this case is open to debate. One of the initial decisions you have to make in trying to reason out the real identity of the Ripper is to determine who his victims were. Even the acceptance of the canonical five (Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddows, and Mary Kelly) is a basic assumption that is easily called into question. Stride and Eddows were both killed the same night; Strides body was not mutilated, the assumption being the killer was interrupted. The horrible mutilation to Eddows' face is assumed to be because the Ripper was enraged that he had been interrupted in his first killing. But what if Eddows had not been killed? Would we still assume Stride was a victim of the Ripper? If Eddows had been the sole victim that night what motivation would we have ascribed to her mutilation? Any and all assumptions made to deduce the Ripper's identity are debatable.
For most people familiar with this case the most astounding part of Cornwell's case against Sickert is the argument that he wrote MOST of the Ripper letters. The assumption has always been that only one or two of the letters might have been real, so Cornwell is making a radical argument in this regard. Ultimately this is the strongest part of Cornwell's case, especially given her repeated observation that these letters are confessions as far as the law is concerned.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Scarpetta n'aurait pas fait ça.. 9 novembre 2003
Par datura
Voici un livre très décevant de la part de Patricia Cornwell, elle qui prétend travailler à partir de preuves irréfutables, la voilà en train de broder durant de longues pages sur la culpabilité plus que discutable de Walter Richard Sickert.
Tout d'abord, il faut savoir qu'elle n'a pas choisi cet homme au hasard: il faisait partie des hommes suspectés à l'époque d'être Jack l'éventreur...elle a jugé que les autres suspects ne pouvaient pas avoir commis ces crimes donc, elle s'est acharnée sur lui.
Ce livre est très long à lire car elle développe des éléments de la vie de Sickert pendant de longues pages alors qu'elle n'a aucune preuve tangible.
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Amazon.com: 2.6 étoiles sur 5  690 commentaires
260 internautes sur 308 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 The Principle Figure In A Pageant Of Massacre? 15 novembre 2002
Par J. E. Barnes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Patricia Cornwell's investigation into whether British painter Walker Sickert was in fact also infamous murderer Jack the Ripper has been fascinating to follow in the media over the last year. As the essence of any good investigation is clear, accurate perception, precision, and a rigorous search for the facts and truth by objective methods, it is by these standards that Cornwell's book must be considered.

The author has accumulated an enormous amount of circumstantial evidence against Sickert, but 'Portrait of a Killer' is amateurishly written, sloppily executed, and poorly edited.

For a famous crime writer, Cornwell has produced a weak book unlikely to stand up to scrutiny or survive the brunt of attacks by Ripperologists the world over, written as it has been for the uncritical light reader.

Every facet of 'Portrait of a Killer' seems rushed, as though Cornwell wrote with little consideration for structure and then submitted the manuscript without rereading, rewriting, or thinking it through as a whole. The awkward title alone suggests Cornwell's hesitations: 'Portrait of a Killer / Jack The Ripper / Case Closed.' Why not 'Walter Sickert: Portrait of a Killer,' or 'Walter Sickert: Jack The Ripper?' Why the reservation about damning her subject in the title, as she does so heartily in the text?

For Cornwell damns Sickert before she's made her case, and from the first page.

She immediately refers to Sickert as a killer as if this were an objective fact, and as a 'psychopath,' a phrase she bandies about loosely and without proper definition throughout the book.

By contemptuously referring to his rented East End studios as 'ratholes' upon their first mention, Cornwell makes her biases entirely clear. As a result, Sickert's habit of long walks become 'obsessive walks,' and his love of walking at night becomes evidence of his psychopathology, when night walking was also the habit of Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Paul Bowles, Walt Whitman, Thoreau, and Charles Baudelaire.

Sickert's penchant for watching and studying people is also interpreted as a sign of his predatory madness, rather than as an attribute common to most visual artists, actors, and writers--to say nothing of detectives and crime writers.

Describing a poem sent to the police and signed 'Jack the Ripper' which she believes was written by Sickert, Cornwell describes the poem's rhymes as "not those of an illiterate or deranged person." Since she believes Sickert was a "psychopath," by what criteria was he a "psychopath" but not a "deranged person?" Cornwell says of the broken, middle-aged Sickert, "He subsisted in filth and chaos. He was a slob and he stank," but on the next page states, "he traversed the surface of life as a respectable, intellectual gentleman."

The same easy logic the author uses to turn the lights on Sickert could be used on anyone, at anytime. Cornwell has been obsessed with and made a career of criminal behavior, death, and murder herself; by her own what-makes-madness equation, shouldn't she explain her own morbid preoccupations to the reader?

In light of the many sound accomplishments found here, it's unfortunate how many errors in judgement Cornwell has made, especially if "staking her career" on this volume as she says she is.

Sickert is portrayed on any number of pages as manipulative, bizarre, cunning, misogynistic, treacherous, desperate for attention, and dangerously arrogant--Cornwell states these are facts about his character--but provides almost no sources for her information, when this should have been scrupulously documented.

The worst others have to say about Sickert comes to almost nothing. Under oath, former teacher Whistler says, "Walter has a treacherous side to his character," his first wife's sister, who clearly disliked Sickert, perhaps with good reason, says "they cannot know what he really is as you do," and Clive Bell refers to him a man of "no standards." In exaggerated fashion, Cornwell calls Sickert a "master of disguise"--a master, not just an aficionado--but again provides no sources.

Viewing early drawings by Sickert--or, she admits, perhaps drawn by his father--Cornwell believes she already sees clear evidence of a woman-hater and a violent, disturbed mind.

But when the reader refers to these drawings, the figures are hardly more than stick figures; one male figure Cornwell ominously perceives as "about to spring" at a defenseless woman looks more like a hemorrhoid sufferer hesitantly lowering himself onto a cold toilet.

Yet two Ripper letters containing drawings obviously done by a talented hand are called "crude." An in-profile caricature of a woman is said to have "an ugly mole" on the nose, but the "mole" is clearly just an oversized, if still unsightly, nostril.

Readers will get the sense that one thing Cornwell isn't is a visual artist, a race she seems to have little understanding of or sympathy with.

Sickert's relationships with his wives is barely touched upon until the end, and what first wife Ellen thought about her husband, whom she loved until her death, is never made clear.

Since Cornwell believes Sickert was impotent all his life and perhaps left without a penis after three traumatic childhood surgeries, the reader should know a great deal about his marital life, and what his wives felt about marrying a man only to discover a eunuch in their honeymoon beds.

Cornwell, in sadly politically correct fashion, quotes her mentor Dr. Marcella Fierro as saying "a woman has the right to walk around naked and not be raped or murdered." In the theoretical and idealized Garden of Eden of liberalism, that certainly may be the case. Reality, again, is something else. Cornwell embarrasses herself by stooping so low to make an unnecessary case for the Ripper's desperate, tragic victims.

The author should have spent several more years on this book and then written a scholarly, definitive account of her presently unfinished investigation. Why the rush to publication?

Cornwell's errors and misjudgements throughout will only raise powerful doubts about her methods and conclusions, and prejudice the reader against the more solid fruits of her labor.
135 internautes sur 160 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Patricia Cornwell's six million dollar man... 11 novembre 2002
Par Stephen Paul Ryder - Publié sur Amazon.com
Ms. Cornwell spent six million dollars of her own money researching Jack the Ripper, and the result is this book. Did she really close the case? Unfortunately, no.
Walter Sickert was in France while at least four of the five canonical murders took place. There are nearly a half-dozen independent sources, that we know of, that attest to this fact. Only one of those sources, a letter, is mentioned by Cornwell, and then summarily dismissed because there was no post-mark to prove when it was sent.
Ms. Cornwell claims to have found a match between Sickert's DNA and the Ripper. This is not true. She found a sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on both letters signed "Jack the Ripper" and letters written by Walter Sickert. This is an important distinction. mtDNA, unlike nuclear DNA (which was not found on any of the correspondence), is not unique. A particular mtDNA sequence can be shared by anywhere between 1% and 10% of the population. Ignore the countless problems of DNA contamination and provenance that comes with examining documents over a century old, and you still have the problem that these "Ripper letters" are known to be hoaxes (nearly 600 of them were sent to the press and police from all corners of the globe in 1888 and beyond). On top of that, Sickert's DNA no longer exists - he was cremated after his death. There is no way to tell whether the mtDNA found on Sickert's letters was his, his wife's, a friend's, or that of any of a thousand researchers and students who have handled them in the past sixty years.
Although Patricia claims that the evidence she has amassed would be enough for a jury in 1888 to say "Hang him!", I have to disagree. At best, she has found partial evidence to suggest that perhaps Walter Sickert hoaxed one or more Ripper letters. But even if that were proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, there is nothing to suggest that these "Ripper letters" were actually from the murderer. Most students of the case believe them all, with the possible exception of the "From Hell" letter, to be hoaxes.
I would suggest that readers interested in the case pick up Phil Sugden's "Complete History of Jack the Ripper", which was just recently reprinted in paperback. Alternatively, you can check out the web site "Casebook: Jack the Ripper," which contains a great deal of information on Cornwell's book, Walter Sickert, and all manner of Ripper-related topics.
39 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Terrible 12 novembre 2003
Par "pfmst3" - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book is simply terrible. Corwell piles up a number of "could have beens," "maybes," and "we can never know for sures" and finds that these speculations add up to her suspect being Jack the Ripper. She proudly states at one point that a Scotland Yard Official would have presented her evidence to the Crown Prosecutor. I would suggest the Crown Prosecutor would laugh the the official out of the office and suggest counseling.
What is most disturbing is that Cornwell dismisses previous efforts to identify the subject as speculative and relying on flawed notions of personality types. She indicts Sickert largely based on a psycho-babble interpretation of his lifestyle and drawings. This effort seems to me to be a 21st Century version of the phrenology which disgusts her in reviewing 19th and 20th Century efforts to identify the Ripper.
I could go on about the the substantive weaknesses as they are legion, but suffice to say, as an attorney, I could have Sickert out without presenting a case. As a former state's attorney I wouldn't bothering bringing charges. She often tries to anticipate what a defense attorney would do with her evidence. She simply shows how little she knows about defense attorneys. Her "evidence" would be shredded by any competent attorney.
From a literary standpoint, Cornwell seems to follow a lose chronology of the killings and then throws in whatever sticks to the wall: A little wife abuse here, a little deformity there, and mix it all with the fact that Sickert had a strange and dark personality (how strange for an artist) and sprinkles liberally throughout the book. She may have made an in depth analysis of these matters, but the information is so loosely presented in such a poorly organized manner that I had long since stopped caring by the end of the book.
This book is substantively weak, organizationally chaotic, and tinged with such presumptions of superiority and righteousness on behalf of the author that the final product really should not have been published. I enjoyed Cornwell's first few books, but stopped reading them because it became obvious that either her talent had peaked or she was mailing in the newer books. I tooks a chance on this book based on an review. I feel like suing the reviewer for the $7.99 I spent on the book. I'd have a better chance of winning that case than Cornwell would winning hers.
38 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 A terrible book 23 janvier 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Do not read this book if you want reliable information on the ripper case. As the CASEBOOK website on the ripper crimes argues, there is much wrong with Cornwell's evidence and her use of it. For example, she ignores evidence that her suspect Sickert was in France during the commission of several ripper crimes. She also provides absolutely no evidence that Sickert had violent tendencies or ever had any residence or spent any time in the area of the killings. Her emphasis on the ripper letters is largely useless, since there is no way to determine their authenticity.
The preimier book on the ripper is Philip Sugden's THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF JACK THE RIPPER. A trained historian, Sugden explores the vast evidence meticulously. It is really THE book to read on the ripper case.
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1.0 étoiles sur 5 Abomination 28 janvier 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Writing in the New York Times, the distinguished novelist Caleb Carr reviewed this book as "an exercise in calumny." He is too kind, and bear in mind that writers almost never say anything negative about another writer's work. This book is worse than awful; it is an abomination for which the publisher should be ashamed. It is one thing for Ms. Cornwall to write dreadful novels (though her first ones were quite good), but it is another matter for her to tackle non-fiction and write [bad stuff]. If her "Ripper," Walter Sickert were still alive, he could sue her for libel and win every dollar she has earned. Pages 64-65 sum up her work. In these two pages, she makes her case against Sickert by stating: "may have," "it is possible," "one wonders," "could be," "it may be," "it may also be," "could have," "it can," "he may," "I imagine," I am inclined to suspect," "I doubt," "I can't say exactly," on and on--TWENTY ONE TIMES. In two pages! The rest of the book reads the same way. This is her "case closed" proof of Sickert's guilt. It is all supposition, amateur pyschology and twisted logic. Plus awful writing that no high school teacher would accept. This book is a disgrace. I will never read another thing she writes.
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