The mystery of Jack the Ripper has sparked the imagination of theorists for over a century, so it should come as no surprise that the still-to-be-solved murders have been a source of inspiration for novelists ever since.
We have already seen how the killings acted as inspiration for Hollywood, so for Book Lovers’ Day on Wednesday 9th August, we thought it was only right to delve further into the realms of fiction to investigate the impact that Jack the Ripper has had on literature.
History’s most famous serial killer has been incorporated into various novels over the last century, all of which have used very real facts to add a chilling edge to fiction. Here are five prime examples of The Ripper in fiction.
Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper – Robert Bloch (1943/1962)
Originally published as a short story in Weird Tales in 1943, Robert Bloch’s Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper was published in its own right in 1962. The author became synonymous with the killer in fictional terms, even submitting a Star Trek script in 1967 which would form the basis for the episode ‘Wolf in the Fold’.
Bloch’s story dresses Jack the Ripper as an immortal being who must sacrifice others in order for him to survive, somehow imagining the events in Whitechapel to be even more chilling than we thought possible.
Matrix (Doctor Who) – Mike Tucker and Robert Perry (1998)
The legend of Jack the Ripper grew so strong that even the Timelord himself has come face-to-face with the serial killer. Released in 1998, Matrix sees the seventh Doctor pitted against both the killer and evil versions of himself in a parallel universe, in this 280-page novel.
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr John H. Watson – Lyndsay Faye (2009)
There is no shortage of fictional tales pitting Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper, with many novelists and directors asking the question as to whether the consulting detective could solve the murders. Out of the endless selection available, Lyndsay Faye’s pastiche novel comes highly recommended.
Written in the narrative voice of Dr John Watson, matching the tone of the original Arthur Conan-Doyle stories, the novel follows Holmes on his quest to catch the killer, as well as restoring his own reputation as questions are asked about his role in the murders.
I, Ripper – Stephen Hunter (2015)
Stephen Hunter’s New York Times’ best-seller offers a fascinating perspective on Jack the Ripper in this fictional diary of the killer. I, Ripper also incorporates the narrative of a newspaper journalist reporting on the Whitechapel killings in 1888.
Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco (2016)
The most recent novel on this list but by no means the least gripping, Kerri Maniscalco’s novel puts a young 17-year-old Lord’s daughter on the trail of history’s most revered serial killer.
Painting an eerie and sinister picture of 19th-century London, Stalking Jack the Ripper offers a new perspective on the hunt for the killer.
Has the mystery been a source of fascination for you? If so, join us on our Jack the Ripper walking tour in London’s East End, where we will take you to each of the crime scenes and other important landmarks intertwined with the murders.