The Return Of Monro To Be Marked By Capture Of Hot potato
So, could it be that the newspaper columnist who prophesized that Monro's return to the Commissionership, in late 1888, would be garnished by the capture of the Hot potato, was not referring to Cold Toast boring Druitt but....James Kelly?? JOHN RUFFELS.
I have been reading some recollections by Littlechild of his shadowing suspects to their houses and standing outside all night. What with the drizzle and the cold, he said he was glad to finish work and get a Roast Potato!!
Given that Monro would have known Littlechild......You don't suppose Monro liked them too? Do you?
If Monro really told his son that the Ripper case was a 'hot potato' then it could be because of Druitt?
In the sense that Monro, Macnaghten's patron, was referring to Scotland Yard not knowing about Druitt as the chief Ripper suspect until 'some years after' he killed himself?
If anybody recalled the Sadler debacle they would see that the police - or as the tabloids would unfairly portray it -- were vainly trying to railroad an innocent man.
Monro's cunning protege arguably took care of this hot potato, by creating the canonical five, de-emphasizing Coles and Sadler from the tale, and making Druitt libel-proof to the Home Office [run by the Liberals in 1894] and to the public [The Drowned Doctor 1898 to 1914].
In 1995 Monro's grandson, Christopher Monro, disclosed that Monro had been convinced that Montague Druitt had been Jack the Ripper but was prevented from saying so. William Druitt, brother of Montague, had threatened that if his brother was named, he would reveal that there were homosexuals in high positions in Parliament, the Bar, the Army and the Church. Christopher Monro was told this by his father Douglas Monro, who had examined Monro's papers after his death.[
In the original game of 'hot potato', obviously the idea is that you pass the potato on before you get burned by it. Warren held on to it for too long, and it burned him.
I therefore think the term simply describes a 'case' that one would not want to have placed in one's lap. I don't think there's any 'conspiracy' or 'secret information' here.
And since Warren was forced to resign, this dumped the Ripper case, all of the unsolved Whitechapel murders squarely on Munro who probably didn't appreciate the favor! Hot potato indeed! I know I would have been scrambling for any sort of answer that would get the bloody mess off my back!
I believe that a misunderstanding of Victorian idiom (different to ours) with its allusions and metaphor, maybe at the root of this.
I seem to recall that a comment by magnaten (?) to the effect that JtR knocked out a Chief commissioner and settled the hash of a Home Secretary, as literally interpreted by one writer, who envisaged a fight in an office, involving a suspect (White-eyed man?) and Warren and Matthews.
The remark related, of course, to the fact that Warren resigned during the Ripper period (his position partially undermined by a failure to capture the Whitechapel murderer) and Matthews was embarrassed politically by the affir.
Could the "hot potato" remark have been similarly misunderstood?
Wow, interesting. Moonbeggar is either pulling our leg or he's quoting from another sources I'm completely unaware of. Spiro's book (JTR & Black Magic) is the only book thus far to give any discussion to Monro and his 'hot potato', but none of this appears in Spiro's book. However, he does talk about Monro's descendants discussing two different memoirs from James Monroe - one being the familiar one that Keith Skinner has, that mentions little of value, and a 2nd with all the behind the scenes stuff, secrets, and his theory on the Ripper. The whereabouts of this second volume are unknown, but presumably still in the family, if it ever existed at all (and I, for one, have serious doubt that it did).
P.S. Ironically, I'm literally eating hot potatoes as I type this.