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Monday, September 6, 2010

What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen

What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the RipperPublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402243553
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Mystery
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Summary (from Publisher):

Under Certain Circumstances, No One Is More Suited to Solving a Crime than a Woman Confined to Her Bed
An invalid for most her life, Alice James is quite used to people underestimating her. And she generally doesn't mind. But this time she is not about to let things alone. Yes, her brother Henry may be a famous author, and her other brother William a rising star in the new field of psychology. But when they all find themselves quite unusually involved in the chase for a most vile new murderer-one who goes by the chilling name of Jack the Ripper-Alice is certain of two things:

No one could be more suited to gather evidence about the nature of the killer than her brothers. But if anyone is going to correctly examine the evidence and solve the case, it will have to be up to her.

My Review:

My forte is romance and YA but I am completely obsessed with Jack the Ripper . Sounds creepy but we all have our strange interests, don’t we? I will watch or read any TV special, movie or book about him. I could not resist this book because it combined my two favorite things, Victorian England and a Jack the Ripper whodunit.

I love the involvement of Henry, William and Alice James. It seems completely far-fetched that they would be involved in the investigation but for some reason it totally makes sense in this book. It works really well especially given the awesome characterization of the three siblings. After a while, the James’ involvement did not seem strange at all. Also, amazing was the involvement of the man who has always been considered one of the main suspects in the Ripper murders, Walter Sickert. I have never thought that it was him. I personally believe it was James Kelly. But no one cares what I think—unless you do. I really loved the portrayal of Sickert. I was quite charmed by him.

As with most Ripper mysteries, the mystery was intriguing and the murders and imagery was grotesque and vivid. Anyone with sensitivity towards detailed descriptions of a violent murder scene would do well to avoid any book about Jack the Ripper. The descriptions of the murder scenes were quite descriptive but not overboard. Sometimes I find that Ripper books go insane with the descriptions to create a more visceral reaction. This one managed keeping the descriptions to an acceptable level perfectly.
I have been in the middle of a romance reading binge and this was a nice break.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

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