In 1888, two private inquiry agents become involved in one of Scotland Yard’s most infamous cases.
Cyrus Barker and his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, receive a visit from Robert Anderson, an old friend who’s just been appointed assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard and head of the CID. Because Anderson’s doctor has insisted he go away for a rest, he asks Barker to become a temporary member of Scotland Yard’s team, investigating what will soon be known as the Jack the Ripper murders. Although he’s not popular with the Yard’s upper echelon, Barker agrees to work as Anderson’s assistant, and Llewelyn becomes a special constable. The wealthy Barker (Fatal Enquiry, 2014, etc.) leaves his comfortable home, and the pair move into a room in Whitechapel, the poor London neighborhood where horrific murders and mutilations of prostitutes are spreading fear and tarnishing the reputation of Scotland Yard. Llewelyn already has a friend among the Jewish population that is slowly gentrifying the slum, but anti-Semitism is rife, and the government is desperate to keep a lid on it. Already rumors are spreading that a member of the royal family could be involved in the murders. Barker and Llewelyn slowly learn the location of every street and alley as they investigate those suspects the Yard has already turned up and hunt for new ones.
The latest rehash of the Ripper case is packed with historical detail and is interesting enough as a police procedural but contains no surprises.