Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beyond Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper

Ripper press clippingPlayed Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper and want to know more about the crimes — or just see other interpretations pitting the World's Greatest Detective against the legendary killer? Here's a helpful guide.

Ripper Books
Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip Sugden
If you want to know everything about the Ripper murders, Sugden’s Complete History of Jack the Ripper is the book for you. While most Ripper books put forward their author’s prime suspect, Sugden focuses on the details of the crimes and their investigation (drawing heavily on primary sources) making this the go-to for factual history. Sugden does evaluate suspects in the back of the book and finds most of them wanting.

Jack the Ripper: The Casebook by Richard Jones
If you aren’t looking for a detailed study of the crimes, Jones’s Casebook is an interactive overview complete with facsimiles of police reports, newspaper articles and the infamous Ripper letters. A great layout and compelling visuals will pull you into the worst parts of 19th Century London

Ripper Website
Casebook: Jack the Ripper
Casebook is an utterly amazing repository of information, combining the best aspects of the two books mentioned above (primary sources and facsimiles) with the internet’s predilection for minutia. Truly the ultimate who’s who to anyone tangentially associated with the Ripper crimes, including unlikely suspects like Lewis Carroll, Casebook is also a great survey of all things Ripper and home to the Rippercast: The Whitechapel Murders Podcast.

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper Books
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye
One of the most recent Holmes versus Ripper novels and one of the most successful, Dust and Shadow plays with the fact that if Holmes and Watson were skulking around the East End trying to ferret out the Ripper, locals might wonder how involved in the killings they really were. Faye introduces Mary Ann Monk to the mix, a streetwalker hired by Holmes to investigate where he can’t and gets a lot of mileage out of the power of the press.

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin
Easily the most controversial tale, Dibdin’s take is a relatively straightforward investigation until Holmes realizes that – plotted on a map – the sites of the murders would form a giant M over the East End of the London. But that detail alone won’t prepare you for the truly shocking conclusion.

The Whitechapel Horrors by Edward B. Hanna
Originally published in 1993 at a hefty 395 pages, the upcoming reprint is a slimmer 208 pages so caveat emptor. Hanna’s heavily researched mystery (complete with endnotes!) takes a more conventional and conspiratorial approach to the murders, placing Holmes on untenable ground in his pursuit for justice.

Chapel Noir and Castle Rouge by Carole Nelson Douglas
I’m not a fan of Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler novels, recasting the Scandal in Bohemia character as detective in her own right. In Chapel Noir, Adler investigates Ripper-like murders in a Parisian brothel. Castle Rogue, the follow-up, moves the hunt to Transylvania.

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper: A Study in Terror by Ellery Queen
Hard to find novelization of the movie, which — according to Wikipedia — adds a framing device inserting Ellery Queen into the story and changes the identity of the murderer.

The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls by J. Robert King
This is cheat, but the entire book is kind of a cheat. Still Holmes does face off against Jack the Ripper in this supernaturally-charged adventure.

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper Movies
A Study in Terror (1965)
I know I saw this on VHS years ago, but remember very little about it. Amazon has it listed for pre-order, but without a cover or release date. Reviews online paint this as a low budget exploitative entry, but with a decent cast and thrilling conclusion.

Murder by Decree (1979)
And this would be the high budget take with an all-star cast. As the title suggests this Ripper has ties to the royal family, complicating things for Holmes and Watson who must decipher secret Masonic rituals to crack the case.