At the request of Scotland Yard, American philosopher William James, an expert in the science of the mind, travels to London to assist in solving the Jack the Ripper case. Once in London, William has access to the evidence collected at the crime scenes, and he travels with Inspector Abberline to interview witnesses. He then shares the particulars of the case with his brother, novelist Henry, and his sister, Alice, who is bedridden but feels she can still contribute to the identification of the madman. The story is told from multiple points of view, and Cohen seamlessly blends fact and fiction into fascinating looks at late-nineteenth-century London, the Jack the Ripper case, and the lives of the James siblings. In addition, she weaves in provocative details about the philosophy, literature, and art of the era and makes room for cameo appearances by such real-life figures as Oscar Wilde, John Singer Sargent, and Walter Sickert, once thought a suspect in the Ripper killings. For fans of historical fiction as well as historical mysteries. --Sue O'Brien
"Cohen seamlessly blends fact and fiction into fascinating looks at late nineteenth-century London, the Jack the Ripper case, and the lives of the James siblings."
"the author does a good job of evoking the grimness of everyday life in the Whitechapel slums."
"An imaginative foray into historical fiction... [What Alice Knew
] should reel in students of literature... [and] devotees of period pieces and mysteries."