Customer Reviews: Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer
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on January 30, 2000
The emergence of Tumblety as a major suspect in the Ripper murders is a stunning revelation by the authors, Evans and Gainey. Equally amazing is the linkage to Whitechapel via a series of very similar murders that occured in South America and New York. The globetrotting Tumblety appears to have been in the limelight consistently in the 1890s and it is intriguing that the British press virtually ignored his importance in the case, giving some support to the authors theory on cover-up and conspiracy by the Yard. The authors convey the frustration of the case quite well, including the competitive nature of Scotland Yard and the USA authorities. Anyone interested in the Ripper murders should buy this book. It is far more credible than the rubbish published by Daniel Farson or the laughable accounts concerning James Maybrick.
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on March 20, 2001
I have read most of the well-known books on Jack the Ripper and I think this is probably my favorite. I found this in my school's library (I teach high school English) and thought the author did a very good job pointing out the problems with the suspects generally believed to have been the Ripper and painting a good case for Dr. T. An excellent read. Also, if you're intested in books about serial killers, check out "Zodiac" by Robert Graysmith. An incredibly interesting case (and still unsolved).
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on June 20, 2005
I enjoyed this book. Admittedly, it has sat on my shelf for three years, waiting until I was in a suitably dark mood to be tempted by it. The authors present a lot of evidence and show very thorough research. The killer they suggest seems entirely plausible, much more so than in the other Ripper book I read and enjoyed (at the end of which, the author's conclusion was that the man had simply stopped killing. Serial killers don't just stop. So that was implausible). Good book.
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on February 7, 1998
The book is based on a recently discovered (and authenticated) letter from a detective that investigated the case. Convincing evidence is presented concerning the American suspect, Tumbletry, who escaped to America with Scotland Yard on his heels. In fact, they followed him to the States, and the U.S. papers of l888 are full of speculation concerning this suspect and the chase. Perhaps the mystery is solved at last!
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on January 17, 2001
Don't listen to reviewer #2. The book goes into great detail about Tumblety's connection to England, and furthermore, proves he was in England during the time of the murders. Also, the last reviewer is mistaken. Tumblety was arrested AFTER the murder of Mary Kelly. The only break in the chain that would irrefutably tie Tumblety to the murders is the 'Large Dossier' the Scotland Yard suppposedly had, that has not yet been located. Everything else points to him as THE most likely suspect yet considered.
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on July 11, 2000
This book was an excellent read. The authors bring to light some interesting facts heretofore not related to the public. The American lodger was never thoroughly probed in the press but apparently drew more attention from the Yard than they let on at the time. Discovery of the Littlechild letter helps fill in some long missing and important pieces of the puzzle. Including the information of several identical 'Ripper' killings in Jamaica and South America at a time Dr. T. was unaccounted for, but being eagerly sought by operatives from Scotland Yard. The authors build a very plausible case for Dr. Tumblety as 'Jack the Ripper' given their lead from Inspector Littlechild. I'm convinced.
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on September 13, 2004
Contrary to what Reviewer #2 has to say with his low rating, having read MANY "Studies" of the Ripper over the years, I find the case brought against "Dr." Tumblety to be by FAR the MOST likely; there is just TOO much coincidence for it NOT to be this man. Of particular interest are a SIMILAR rash of murder/mutilations performed AFTER the Whitechapel murders in another locale where Tumblety was proven to have been in at the same time as THAT series occured. PLUS Tumblety's collection of fetuses, etc. HIGHLY recommended, to me one of the MOST compelling books yet written on the topic, with more than enough proof provided to prove Tumblety's guilt.
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on August 31, 2007
This is a good text, but I found myself wanting more. Several reviewers have spoken about how the authors did a good job of providing a new Ripper suspect, but I didn't feel they tied up the loose ends. There is mention of murders in Jamaica and Nicaragua late in the book, but no evident that Dr T. was ever in those countries at the time of the murders. There was a brief mention of an American `ripper event' in New York City, but no details surrounding this event. The evidence surrounding the Batty Street Lodger was very interesting, but the authors should have flushed that line of reasoning out further.

However the largest weakness of the text surrounds Mary Kelly. In the second appendix the authors decide that Mary is not a Ripper victim, apparently because Dr. T. might have been in police custody at the time of her murder. This might in fact be accurate, but this sort of material needs to be a chapter within the body of their text. This is a HUGE point within their theory and it's added in at the end. The authors spent significant time talking about Mary Kelly, only to discount the murder at the very end of the book because it didn't agree with their theory. This is a major flaw in their argument.

Additionally, early sections of the book spend a good deal of time talking about the Lincoln Assassination and Dr. T's arrest as a suspect in that affair. Unfortunately, these events are never tied back to the Whitechapel affair. Finally, very little information is provided regarding what happened to Dr. T. after he left London. Perhaps this information is not available, but one of the leading reasons to suspect Dr T. is he left London in 1888 (under suspicion). Additionally, if ripper-like murders happened in other parts of the world, this would be a big indicator that he was the Ripper, but only if you can show he was in those locals at the time of the murders.

Having read many Ripper texts, this one is more entertaining than most; however, it left me feeling the authors could have done more with their suspect. They did not convince me they had found Jack, only that Jack the Ripper and the Batty Street Lodger were probably one and the same person.
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on November 19, 2009
"JACK THE RIPPER; First American Serial Killer" by Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey is perhaps, the most perversely fascinating book I have ever read. Although, I have read at least two other books on "Jack the Ripper", including "Portrait of a Killer-Case Closed" by Patricia Cornwell (which I thought, was extremely well researched and written). This work however, seems to now leave Ms. Cornwell's suspect, "Walter Sikert" in 2nd place position.

Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey have illuminated an American "doctor" as the most plausible and realistic suspect to date. Their research seems to put the red laser dot directly on one, Francis Tumblety.

Here is the story and investigation of a psychotic sociopath so deranged that even by today's standards, his "handy work" maintains a front row seat in the halls of criminality and perversity. His crime spree makes the "Black Dahlia" murder look like kids-play.

This is an extremely graphic account of the incidents that will keep the reader glued to the investigation and... a nauseated sense of sadness and anger after finally closing the book.

It's a shame the art of "psychological profiling" and fingerprint classification was either non-existent or, in it's infancy during this time for had it been in use; then surely, "Jack-The Ripper" or..."Rippers" might have been found and incarcerated just long enough for a one-way trip to the gallows.

The authors exhaustive on-going study and investigation of Francis Tumblety left no leads undone except, perhaps for two.

1. There appears to have been a very similar "Ripper" modus-operandi conducted in Nicaragua and Jamaica in January of 1889 when Tumblety had once again, lost his police surveillance in New York at the same time period. Tumblety himself stated he had traveled to numerous places including...Central America and the Caribbean. The authors submit one news article from; "The New York Sun" referring to these murders but, there was no follow up from within that area itself.

2. Perhaps some additional DNA investigations should be initiated regarding Tumblety and any possible remaining evidence from the victims themselves.

This is a worthy book for any historian of crime studies. It is also highly suggested for both the" real" and, "arm-chair" detectives who can't help the urge to... "Keep on hunting.
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on January 6, 2014
This is the most thoroughly researched and well documented book concerning ‘Jack the Ripper’ that I’ve read thus far. Other authors, at least those whose works I’ve read, appear to have cherry-picked a possible suspect and then manipulated the facts, or created ‘facts,’ so as to point to that particular individual. As near as I can tell, however, these authors do none of that. On the contrary, they often go so far as to critically examine the facts to ensure that they are correctly understood and properly interpreted. This adds a great deal of credibility to the story they tell; so much so, in fact, that although you may not accept their ‘Jack’ as being the one-and-only authentic ‘Ripper,’ you’ll likely find it difficult to rule him out completely. In fact, if you’ve already studied the case and drawn some conclusions, he may even jump to the top of your candidate list. That makes this a very interesting book to read.

I was, however, somewhat disconcerted by the authors’ approach to their subject. The book begins with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (of all things) --- some two thousand miles away and 23 years before the first Whitechapel murder --- with the subtle implication that the authors’ ‘Jack,’ Francis Tumblety, was a credible conspirator; which eventually turns out not to be the case. The book continues in this vein by examining Tumblety’s life, activities, and character. This certainly reveals him to have been a crook and a scoundrel, but there appears to be no credible evidence that he was ever a violent man.

The book’s authors do, however, make some telling points: 1) Francis Tumblety did have a reputation for hating women, particularly women of ill repute; 2) he was living in the Whitechapel district at the time of the murders; 3) he was allegedly seen with blood on his clothes at his place of residence, which was quite near the spot where one of the murders generally attributed to the Ripper took place, supposedly forcing him to flee; 4) while under arrest for homosexual activities unrelated to the Whitechapel murders, his bail was set at an unusually high level for such a minor offense; 5) he did jump bond, flee England, and return to the United States under an assumed name shortly after the final Ripper killing; and most telling of all 6) Scotland Yard did apparently send three detectives to the United States to track him down and keep him under surveillance --- something they would never have done for a simple misdemeanor.

So, all things considered: You may find this book rather tedious to read due to the manner in which the story unfolds, but if you are interested in the Whitechapel murders you will probably find it to be to your liking. For, although there is no direct evidence connecting Francis Tumblety to the Whitechapel killings, there is clearly reason to believe that Scotland Yard, or at least some in Scotland Yard, may have considered him to be the likely killer.
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