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  • #16
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
    I started this book last night and read roughly a third of it, enjoying it greatly; the publisher is Amberley, who a few years back came out with Richard Whittington-Egan’s final masterpiece, Jack the Ripper: the Definitive Casebook, and this is of the same production quality--beautifully produced, with good paper and photographs, including a new image of M.J.D, as well as those of many other people associated with his story. I’ll avoid giving away any “spoilers,” but will just point out that the authors Jonathan Hainsworth and Christine Ward-Agius do a fine job in ‘fleshing out’ M.J.D.’s wider social circle in Dorset, Oxford, and London—and an interesting cast of characters they are, including my favorite, Colonel Majendie. Although I’ve been a keen student of Druitt for many years, I’m already finding new angles to study and ponder. To give one example, there is a letter from MJD where he refers to his mother; he makes what was evidently meant to have been a humorous rebuke, but one can’t help sensing a tension simmering below the surface, for by now she was already descending into madness. I’m also particularly grateful that the authors have unapologetically formed a hypothesis and set out to prove it. As far as I am concerned, so-called ‘objective’ studies of the Whitechapel Murders, with few exceptions, have become repetitive and stale; no detective has ever solved a case without having a suspect…so go bold or don’t go at all. The purpose, we are told by the authors, is to ‘reverse engineer’ the extant historical record in order to recover what the case against Druitt may have been. Fair enough. There are also many end notes and citations for those who wish to chase down the relevant sources and conduct further research--something that is sometimes lacking in other books.

    I’ll read more tonight, but so far it looks like a valuable resource for those interested in the genuine police suspects, and for those who don’t mind responsible theorizing. Read it and you’ll be back in the thick of the scrimmage!
    I’m certainly looking forward to this one Roger. I’m waiting for mine to turn up. Expecting howls of anguish from those that dismiss Druitt out of hand though.
    Regards

    Herlock




    “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
    As night descends upon this fabled street:
    A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
    The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
    Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
    And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

    Comment


    • #17
      Is it out already? I ordered mine ages ago, no benefit in buying in early!
      dustymiller
      aka drstrange

      Comment


      • #18
        It's not released in NZ until mid March

        - Jeff

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

          I’m certainly looking forward to this one Roger. I’m waiting for mine to turn up. Expecting howls of anguish from those that dismiss Druitt out of hand though.
          Less howls of anguish, more tears of laughter.
          Write something...

          Comment


          • #20
            I am currently reading The Escape of Jack The Ripper and TBH am a bit disappointed. I had quite high hopes for this book, but it's credibility is undermined by strange little mistakes which one would have expected to have been weeded out prior to publication.

            Liz Stride was found with cashew nuts in her hand and famed actor HENRY Mansfield was starring in a production of Jekyll and Hyde at the time of the WCM's, to name but two off the top of my head.

            The photos are great and it's fascinating to see a previously unpublished picture of Montie, but I'm kinda getting distracted from the main thrust of the argument by these piffling inaccuracies.

            Has anyone else found this or is the current enforced isolation turning me into a terrible pedant???


            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post
              Has anyone else found this or is the current enforced isolation turning me into a terrible pedant???
              I can't answer that, Ms. Diddles, but I do know that I am going stir crazy in my own padded cell.

              Hainsworth and Ward-Agius's book is not about the murders per se (thank gawd) but about police opinion, so the odd detail here and there didn't bother me. I was just eternally grateful that a book about Druitt didn't mention the J. K. Stephen or Prince Eddy connection, like those written in the 70s or 80s always seemed to do!

              I'll have more to say about the book eventually, but I think its strength is in the detail it gives to Druitt's wider circle of acquaintances, as well as exploring the oddly insistent claims of Sims and Macnaghten. Druitt, to me, is the most mysterious of suspects. I can understand the skepticism from an empirical point of view (the authors even acknowledge this) but the weird manipulations of Macnagahten require explanation. At least to me they do.

              I remember reading in Martin Fido's excellent book about David Cohen that Cavendish and Burke were assassinated by gunfire in Phoenix Park, Dublin. I cringed (because they had been hacked to death with surgical knives), but it didn't prevent me from enjoying Martin's otherwise complex arguments in favor of Anderson's suspect. There's such a wealth of material out there, that it is difficult not to stumble on occasion. "Suspect driven books" are widely considered to be the anathema of Ripper studies, but, personally, my allegiance is to those who are trying to solve the case.

              Finally, although this is neither here, nor there, I find that QiGong and gardening are helping me cope with the covid-19 quarantine. At least I haven't killed anything yet, other than a couple of cucumber plants. Cheers.
              Last edited by rjpalmer; 04-14-2020, 06:42 PM.

              Comment


              • #22
                Hi RJP!

                Thanks for the response.

                You make some interesting and valid points.

                There is certainly a possibility that I became so distracted by these minor inaccuracies that I lost confidence in the narrative and chucked the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak!

                I will keep an open mind until I finish the book.

                I was hugely impressed by Rob House's Koz book which struck me as well researched and quite impartial / objective. Martin Fido's Cohen book is a classic and, somewhat controversially, I must admit to having a soft spot for Bruce Robinson's "They All Love Jack". I enjoyed the anger and righteous outrage with which he writes, although whether I accept his conclusion is another matter....!

                There's definitely a place for suspect books in any Ripper library. Some are much better researched and presented than others but yeah, I too salute anyone who has the commitment (and balls of steel) to nail their colours to the post!


                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post
                  Hi RJP!

                  Thanks for the response.

                  You make some interesting and valid points.

                  There is certainly a possibility that I became so distracted by these minor inaccuracies that I lost confidence in the narrative and chucked the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak!

                  I will keep an open mind until I finish the book.

                  I was hugely impressed by Rob House's Koz book which struck me as well researched and quite impartial / objective. Martin Fido's Cohen book is a classic and, somewhat controversially, I must admit to having a soft spot for Bruce Robinson's "They All Love Jack". I enjoyed the anger and righteous outrage with which he writes, although whether I accept his conclusion is another matter....!

                  There's definitely a place for suspect books in any Ripper library. Some are much better researched and presented than others but yeah, I too salute anyone who has the commitment (and balls of steel) to nail their colours to the post!

                  hi Diddles
                  Yes-Rob Houses book is one of the best "suspect" books i have read also.

                  Does anyone know if Hainsworths druitt book is available in the states yet?

                  also whats the best hutch suspect book?
                  "Is all that we see or seem
                  but a dream within a dream?"

                  -Edgar Allan Poe


                  "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                  quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                  -Frederick G. Abberline

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

                    hi Diddles
                    Yes-Rob Houses book is one of the best "suspect" books i have read also.

                    Does anyone know if Hainsworths druitt book is available in the states yet?

                    also whats the best hutch suspect bok?
                    Hi Abby!

                    From what I can see online it looks like it is indeed available in the US.

                    I'd be interested to know what you think of it when you've read it.

                    I know you described the author as a good dude (or similar) in a previous post, which mIts getting covered just put in amount for number of bedroomsakes me feel a bit guilty about being so critical!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Sorry! Ive no idea what happened with that last post.

                      It looks like I've accidentally done a cut & paste job in the middle of the last paragraph?!?!

                      It is meant to read:

                      I know you described the author as a good dude (or similar) in a previous post, which makes me feel a bit guilty about being so critical!

                      Time to accept that I do actually need glasses.....

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Concerning the book by Hainsworth and Ward-Agius, I’d like to make a two or three general comments about the review that appeared in the recent issue of The Ripperologist.

                        In the final sentence, the reviewer describes the book as a ‘conspiracy theory,’ which I assume wasn’t meant as a compliment.

                        One point I am pondering is whether this is an appropriate and valid criticism.

                        The authors theorize that M. J. Druitt spent time in a private mental asylum, but it was successfully covered-up. This is certainly a new suggestion; we don’t get a whiff of any of this in the books about Druitt by Cullen, Farson, or Leighton.

                        Yet, there is also precedent for it. George Sims—who must have been getting much of his information from Macnaghten—alludes to the ‘drowned doctor’ having spent time in an asylum—indeed, he does so twice. We know that Anne Druitt, MJD’s mother, spent time in an asylum in 1888 and afterwards, so there is the specter of an inherited disease, alluded to at Diplock’s inquest. There is also the curious line in Macnaghten’s report:

                        “or, as a possible alternative, [the murderer] was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum.”

                        It is sometimes argued that this last bit is a sideways reference to Aaron Kosminski—but, either way, we should keep in mind that Macnaghten’s accusation against MJD is centered on his belief that Druitt’s own family thought he was the murderer, though he doesn’t explain his reasons for this belief.

                        And since the family would hardly have wished to announce from the rooftops that the Ripper was one of their own, we do, in a sense, have the potential for a conspiracy—even in a legal sense. If the family had learned of their relative’s guilt, and covered it up, could they have been seen as accessories after-the-fact?

                        Which brings me to my two points.

                        1. Doesn’t the accusation of ‘conspiracy theory,’ leveled at Hainsworth and Ward-Agius, equally apply to the theorists who argue in favor of Anderson’s “Polish Jew”? Indeed, even more so?
                        The Anderson theory implies not one conspiracy, but two.

                        First, Anderson wishes us to believe that Jews in East London—not only the suspect’s own family, but even a mere witness—knew of the murderer’s guilt, yet thwarted “gentile justice” by shuffling him off to an asylum. Certainly, that is the very definition of a conspiracy.

                        Yet, even more startling, implicit in Anderson’s theory is that the assumption that he (and Swanson?) learned of the suspect’s guilt yet—inexplicably—kept this ‘fact’ from their own subordinates and from other policemen investigating the murders.

                        Major Smith, at the City of London, is entirely unaware that Anderson had solved the case, as are Reid, Abberline, and Dew, among others. This is bizarre and requires explanation.

                        At least Macnghten’s theory has the advantage that he admits to ‘private information,’ whereas Anderson, in Blackwood’s, seems to be trying to imply that ‘Scotland Yard,’ as a group, shared his belief.

                        2. Another odd aspect about Macnaghten’s theory is that it had a ‘legs.’ Even though modern commentators largely dismiss MJD as the Ripper—some even scorning the theory--there were contemporaries, or near contemporaries, who appear to have accepted Macnaghten’s belief. It might not even be going too far to suggest that it eventually became Scotland Yard’s “official” solution, for we see the theory given credence by Sir Basil Thomson and Sir John Moylan, and even Sir Charles Warren’s son tips his hat towards it, though he evidently didn’t have much information.

                        Perhaps this isn’t a slum-dunk, but we don’t really see anything comparable with Anderson. Outside the Swanson Marginalia, his claim was largely scorned. Swanson alludes to a City investigation, but the City of London policemen who commented on the case don’t appear to be describing ‘Kosminski,’ but an entirely different suspect.

                        It’s odd. It’s VERY odd. Anderson was there in 1888; Macnaghten wasn’t, yet, in a way, Macnaghten seems to have won the field.

                        Anyway, these a few of my initial thoughts. I plan on writing a bit more at a later date.

                        Most ignore or dismiss M. J. Druitt as of little interest, but I still find that corpse floating off the end of Thorneycroft’s strangely fascinating. There’s something odd about the whole business, and its mysteries are well worth exploring.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Excellent post Roger. You won’t be surprised to hear me agreeing with you on this subject though. I’d certainly never say that Druitt was the ripper but I’m convinced that he might well have been and I’ve never understood the anger that appears to beset some on the merest mention of his name in relation to these murders. Mention Mann, Bachert, Hardiman for example (complete none suspects imo) and no one gets even slightly miffed. Mention Druitt and I’m sure that some begin to foam at the mouth.
                          I think I’ll give the book a second read. I look forward to your comments Roger.
                          Regards

                          Herlock




                          “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                          As night descends upon this fabled street:
                          A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                          The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                          Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                          And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                            Concerning the book by Hainsworth and Ward-Agius, I’d like to make a two or three general comments about the review that appeared in the recent issue of The Ripperologist.

                            In the final sentence, the reviewer describes the book as a ‘conspiracy theory,’ which I assume wasn’t meant as a compliment.

                            One point I am pondering is whether this is an appropriate and valid criticism.

                            The authors theorize that M. J. Druitt spent time in a private mental asylum, but it was successfully covered-up. This is certainly a new suggestion; we don’t get a whiff of any of this in the books about Druitt by Cullen, Farson, or Leighton.

                            Yet, there is also precedent for it. George Sims—who must have been getting much of his information from Macnaghten—alludes to the ‘drowned doctor’ having spent time in an asylum—indeed, he does so twice. We know that Anne Druitt, MJD’s mother, spent time in an asylum in 1888 and afterwards, so there is the specter of an inherited disease, alluded to at Diplock’s inquest. There is also the curious line in Macnaghten’s report:

                            “or, as a possible alternative, [the murderer] was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum.”

                            It is sometimes argued that this last bit is a sideways reference to Aaron Kosminski—but, either way, we should keep in mind that Macnaghten’s accusation against MJD is centered on his belief that Druitt’s own family thought he was the murderer, though he doesn’t explain his reasons for this belief.

                            And since the family would hardly have wished to announce from the rooftops that the Ripper was one of their own, we do, in a sense, have the potential for a conspiracy—even in a legal sense. If the family had learned of their relative’s guilt, and covered it up, could they have been seen as accessories after-the-fact?

                            Which brings me to my two points.

                            1. Doesn’t the accusation of ‘conspiracy theory,’ leveled at Hainsworth and Ward-Agius, equally apply to the theorists who argue in favor of Anderson’s “Polish Jew”? Indeed, even more so?
                            The Anderson theory implies not one conspiracy, but two.

                            First, Anderson wishes us to believe that Jews in East London—not only the suspect’s own family, but even a mere witness—knew of the murderer’s guilt, yet thwarted “gentile justice” by shuffling him off to an asylum. Certainly, that is the very definition of a conspiracy.

                            Yet, even more startling, implicit in Anderson’s theory is that the assumption that he (and Swanson?) learned of the suspect’s guilt yet—inexplicably—kept this ‘fact’ from their own subordinates and from other policemen investigating the murders.

                            Major Smith, at the City of London, is entirely unaware that Anderson had solved the case, as are Reid, Abberline, and Dew, among others. This is bizarre and requires explanation.

                            At least Macnghten’s theory has the advantage that he admits to ‘private information,’ whereas Anderson, in Blackwood’s, seems to be trying to imply that ‘Scotland Yard,’ as a group, shared his belief.

                            2. Another odd aspect about Macnaghten’s theory is that it had a ‘legs.’ Even though modern commentators largely dismiss MJD as the Ripper—some even scorning the theory--there were contemporaries, or near contemporaries, who appear to have accepted Macnaghten’s belief. It might not even be going too far to suggest that it eventually became Scotland Yard’s “official” solution, for we see the theory given credence by Sir Basil Thomson and Sir John Moylan, and even Sir Charles Warren’s son tips his hat towards it, though he evidently didn’t have much information.

                            Perhaps this isn’t a slum-dunk, but we don’t really see anything comparable with Anderson. Outside the Swanson Marginalia, his claim was largely scorned. Swanson alludes to a City investigation, but the City of London policemen who commented on the case don’t appear to be describing ‘Kosminski,’ but an entirely different suspect.

                            It’s odd. It’s VERY odd. Anderson was there in 1888; Macnaghten wasn’t, yet, in a way, Macnaghten seems to have won the field.

                            Anyway, these a few of my initial thoughts. I plan on writing a bit more at a later date.

                            Most ignore or dismiss M. J. Druitt as of little interest, but I still find that corpse floating off the end of Thorneycroft’s strangely fascinating. There’s something odd about the whole business, and its mysteries are well worth exploring.
                            Roger I’d like your opinion on a point that I’ve previously raised (other opinions welcome of course)

                            Why did Macnaghten put Druitt into his memorandum if he was simply throwing together a ‘better suspect than Cutbush’ list and that he only alighted on Druitt because he committed suicide after Kelly’s murder?

                            Firstly, we know that Mac held Munro in high esteem and that Munro felt that Mackenzie was a ripper victim. The obvious question then is why he didn’t select a ‘suspect’ that was still alive at the time of the Castle Alley Murder?

                            And second, why Druitt of all people? Ostrog was a criminal and a foreigner who moved around a lot. Kosminski was insane, from the lower class and a foreigner. Neither was likely to garner much sympathy and neither of whom would have had their lives on record and so would have been less likely to have had provable alibis.

                            In such a class conscious society would Mac have been likely have fingered ‘one of us’ if he hadn’t have believed that he had good reason to? This was a time when it was certainly felt that no well bred Englishman could have done this. These were genuinely felt sentiments ludicrous though they are to us today.
                            Also as we know that Druitt had a connection to his good friend Majendie (although of course Mac might have been unaware of this.)

                            With the life that Druitt had how could Mac have known that someone looking into this might not have discovered that perhaps Monty was in Dorset on the night Chapman was killed. Or appearing in court 100 miles away on the day of the Double Event? Court records, school records, social events, family records.

                            If Mac was indeed simply compiling a random ‘better suspect than Cutbush’ list Druitt seems the worst of choices. He wasn’t a criminal for a start. With the resources that Mac had at his disposal how easy would it have been for him to have ‘named’ some violent criminal that died post-Mackenzie? Or some poor lunatic with a history of violence? He could easily have said that a friend or relation of the suspect had ‘told’ him in confidence of the ‘suspicions’ about him.

                            For me, the decision to add Druitt to top the list points strongly in my opinion that Mac genuinely felt (rightly or wrongly) that there was sufficient cause for believing Druitt a genuine suspect.
                            Last edited by Herlock Sholmes; 10-07-2020, 11:04 AM.
                            Regards

                            Herlock




                            “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                            As night descends upon this fabled street:
                            A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                            The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                            Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                            And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              If not Mac himself, certainly some inside Scotland Yard.

                              I like the Emily Druitt connection. It provides a perfectly rational link, explains the medical misdescription as it was her father who was a prominent surgeon, and her brother Lionel authored (allegedly) the much coveted Australian pamphlet (If it ever existed).

                              Emily and the Crawford letter, despite being as equally unproven as most other theories, is, for my money, one that's actually believable. It's not extravagant. There's no Freemasonry. She was a close assistant to a publisher who was friends with the Earl of Crawford.

                              Does that make Monty Jack? Not on your nelly. But it helps us piece together a few fragments to possibly explain how his name ever came up. There's a dissertation on this very site, by Stephen Ryder (nah, me neither?). Worth a read.
                              Thems the Vagaries.....

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post


                                In such a class conscious society would Mac have been likely have fingered ‘one of us’ if he hadn’t have believed that he had good reason to? This was a time when it was certainly felt that no well bred Englishman could have done this. These were genuinely felt sentiments ludicrous though they are to us today.
                                Also as we know that Druitt had a connection to his good friend Majendie (although of course Mac might have been unaware of this.)

                                With the life that Druitt had how could Mac have known that someone looking into this might not have discovered that perhaps Monty was in Dorset on the night Chapman was killed. Or appearing in court 100 miles away on the day of the Double Event? Court records, school records, social events, family records.

                                If Mac was indeed simply compiling a random ‘better suspect than Cutbush’ list Druitt seems the worst of choices. He wasn’t a criminal for a start. With the resources that Mac had at his disposal how easy would it have been for him to have ‘named’ some violent criminal that died post-Mackenzie? Or some poor lunatic with a history of violence? He could easily have said that a friend or relation of the suspect had ‘told’ him in confidence of the ‘suspicions’ about him.

                                For me, the decision to add Druitt to top the list points strongly in my opinion that Mac genuinely felt (rightly or wrongly) that there was sufficient cause for believing Druitt a genuine suspect.
                                With what we've learned in the past few decades; the vicar's letter of confession, the rumors of JtR living in Wimborne (of all places) c/w the family connections to an asylum, and persistent theories of an incarcerated lunatic, if all these clues were transferred to our times in connection with a modern series of murders I'm sure the detectives would think there's just enough smoke here to warrant a thorough investigation.

                                I'm waiting for the book, so I can't comment further on this thread.
                                Regards, Jon S.

                                Comment

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