A reinterpretation of Jack the Ripper with a supernatural touch.
East Enders Constance Piper and her sister, Flo, must remain one step ahead of the coppers to support themselves and their widowed mother in 1888 London. Constance sells oranges and flowers to the gentry while Flo lifts their valuables. But at least they don't have to sell their bodies, unlike some of the other women they know. Now that three such unfortunates have been found with slit throats and missing organs, Constance and Flo are at even greater risk from the Whitechapel Murderer. Constance also worries that Emily Tindall, her mentor and teacher from the neighborhood church mission, hasn’t been around for some time. Constance misses her lessons with Miss Tindall, who taught her eager 18-year-old pupil to read and practice basic etiquette in hopes that Constance could escape to a marginally better life. Meanwhile, Emily narrates the unhappy domestic tale of Terence Cutler, an obstetrician and fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons whose bitter wife, Geraldine, has left him. And Constance, after a strange experience with an illusionist, has a dream foreseeing the fourth murder of a prostitute. All London quakes when a fifth woman is killed, and the headless torso of a sixth woman is found in the construction site for New Scotland Yard. Then Geraldine’s sister comes to town and, with some subtle nudging from Emily, enlists Constance’s help in searching for Geraldine. As Constance is pulled further into the world of the man claiming responsibility for the murders, she also reunites with Emily in a way she never would have guessed. With her mentor’s guidance, she finds the strength and courage to seek justice for the sixth victim.
Although Harris (Secrets in the Stones, 2016, etc.) gives away a little too much a little too soon, she still combines two perceptive points of view with a convincing portrait of London’s seamier side and a neat twist of an ending.