THE NIGHT OF THE RIPPER by Robert Bloch

THE NIGHT OF THE RIPPER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yes, Jack the Ripper again--in a fiction/fact goulash that offers lots of graphic gore, lots of suspects (including the most familiar ones), and a farfetched, unsatisfying solution. In 1888 London the soon-to-be-famous murders begin, with White-chapel prostitutes suffering dreadful sexual mutilations in the slaying process. At the local hospital young American doctor Mark Robinson is highly disturbed by the killings--especially since the Ripper suspects include a few of his colleagues (like manic, lecherous surgeon Jeremy Hume). But, while Mark does some amateur sleuthing and unsuccessfully courts lovely medical-assistant Eva Sloane, Bloch also offers teasing vignettes of other possible Rippers: a misogynistic barrister; a Jewish butcher; and, of course, the Duke of Clarence--Queen Victoria's kinky grandson Eddy. So, through the novel's first half, this merry-go-round of killings and possible killers moves by competently. Then, however, with little more substance to offer before unveiling his Ripper theory, Bloch more or less treads water for the next 100 pages: a few of the suspects are eliminated via alibis or death; there's a series of foolish cameo appearances by famous period figures--Conan Doyle, Richard Mansfield, Shaw, Oscar Wilde. . . and the Elephant Man. And finally, racing to save enigmatic Eva from the Ripper, Mark comes face to face with the crazed psycho, a much less credible one than Bloch's Norman Bates (Psycho). In sum: for Ripper devotees only--who may overlook the limp padding and the many inauthentic lapses (anachronisms, Americanisms) in the period dialogue.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1984
Publisher: Doubleday