The following review appeared in edition 160 of Ripperologist magazine.
THE 130TH ANNIVERSARY OF JACK THE RIPPER
JENNIFER HELEN JOHNSTONE
Independently published, 2018 softcover and ebook 177pp; notes and sources ISBN:1980563462 £7.99 softcover & £4.99 ebook
This book is a simple, straightforward and unremarkable retelling of the murders. Over eight chapters, beginning with a timeline, it describes the victims, the place, the correspondence, and the suspects. Something like 200 footnotes citing the sources used, but these are mainly internet sites. The information given on internet sites isn’t always reliable and I’m of the generation that seeing them cited immediately raises doubts that the author is discerning about their choice of sources and who suspects the author of having cobbled their book together from what they can find free with a mouse click or two. Inattentive editing has allowed a few typos through, such as referring to “Robert Swanson” (a conflation of Robert Anderson and Donald Swanson), and unfortunately Johnstone doesn’t write very well either. On top of all that, the book is poorly produced and uses a large typeface and double-spacing, like a “Janet and John” book for very young readers. The book is tolerably accurate, although some readers will baulk at statements like: “all of the senior police officers, except Abberline, suspected Kosminski of being Jack the Ripper”! I didn’t note anything new, either fact or observation. Overall, it’s not worth the purchase price.
Review by Paul Begg.