|Ripper Bridge (Photo credit: STINFLIN Pascal)|
1988 was a hell of a year for Jack the Ripper enthusiasts. Being the centenary of London’s “Autumn of Terror”, few producers, publishers, historians, writers and professional criminologists missed a trick. From movies about a copycat serial killer called “Jack’s Back” to a wide commissioning of any work that was tied into the Whitechapel Murders, the year was full of old and new theories on the identity of the killer and every self-respecting bookshop made sure their respective section was stocked up. I was only 12 at the time and fell in love with the shamelessly melodramatic and lavish ITV miniseries, “Jack the Ripper”, which for all its thrill and wonderful cast and production values did not yield a convincing theory on the case. In his amazingly explorative “From Hell”, comic-book writer, Alan Moore, touched on the whole the institution that now surrounds Jack the Ripper and pretty much nailed how it has become virtually impossible to unmask the fiend of Victorian London. He echoed in the century of the sadistic serial killer and, as sharp as the weapon he wielded, tore open the British Victorian veneer of pomp, prosperity and conservatism. In the tradition of Arthur Conan Doyle – was consulted at the time of the murders – and the institution that Agatha Christie would start, the Ripper also provided us with a real-life whodunit. Amidst the flow of reprinted books on silly theories, I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of “Jack the Ripper: Summing up and Verdict”, which had been commissioned for release in 1988.