Morbid Curiosity: The Books of Jack the Ripper

DATED: 12.07.16

It’s a known fact that people are obsessed with true crime, crime fiction, and detective thrillers – bookshops around the world are full of macabre and captivating stories for anyone who wants them – and the same can be said of Jack the Ripper books, too.

Trying to understand why the nation, and, in fact, the world, is so obsessed with true crime as well as crime fiction is something that you could write books about in itself.

Sensational headlines littered the press during Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror in the East End of London in 1888 and has continued to do so ever since. The media found that a shocking headline paired with a gruesome photo was never enough to satiate the public’s need to know more about the Ripper killings, and anything printed was lapped up by London and the world.

The reasoning behind this morbid curiosity is ten-fold, so we thought we would put some of the theories to you all (after all, the Jack the Ripper book market is still alive and kicking after all these years).

Firstly, it is believed that after a certain amount of time, more and more people were moving from villages and small towns into bigger cities – and crime was rife. With war no longer an issue to worry about, people enjoyed the privilege of having to worry about life in the city and lapped up the murder stories with both horror and glee in equal measure.

Secondly, although it is a subject reported on regularly, and with crime stories making headlines left, right and centre, the idea of murder is often removed out of the average Joe’s world. Murder is common, but it isn’t quite on your doorstop, which makes it more of a taboo subject and one that is discussed at length.

It could be the need to know more about serial killers and murderers – they are, after all, just like us on the outside. The need to learn more about what makes them kill is a motivation for many avid readers.

Perhaps it is the need to satisfy our fight or flight instinct. These days, we live in relatively safe worlds, cocooned away from harm and so we seek the thrill elsewhere – in books, films, TV series, and games.

Furthermore, crime books combine the satisfaction that comes with escaping reality, with the thrill of the chase, the moral righteousness of beating a killer and the gratification of solving a crime before the big reveal.

This might never be the case with the Jack the Ripper mystery, but the fact still remains that people around the world are constantly trying to theorise as to who the real killer really was and how he got away with it.

We have a number of Jack the Ripper books for sale in our online shop to kick start your crime solving obsession.


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The Jack the Ripper Casebook