For over a hundred years, the mystery of Jack the Ripper has been a source of unparalleled fascination and horror, spawning an army of obsessive theorists and endless volumes purporting to finally reveal the identity of the brutal murderer who terrorized Victorian England.
But what if there was never really any mystery at all? What if the Ripper was always hiding in plain sight, deliberately leaving a trail of clues to his identity for anyone who cared to look, while cynically mocking those who were supposedly attempting to bring him to justice?
In They All Love Jack, the award-winning film director and screenwriter Bruce Robinson exposes the cover-up that enabled one of history's most notorious serial killers to remain at large. More than twelve years in the writing, this is no mere radical reinterpretation of the Jack the Ripper legend and an enthralling hunt for the killer. A literary high-wire act reminiscent of Tom Wolfe or Hunter S. Thompson, it is an expressionistic journey through the cesspools of late-Victorian society, a phantasmagoria of highly placed villains, hypocrites, and institutionalized corruption.
Polemic forensic investigation and panoramic portrait of an age, underpinned by deep scholarship and delivered in Robinson's inimitably vivid and scabrous prose, They All Love Jack is an absolutely riveting and unique book, demolishing the theories of generations of self-appointed experts—the so-called Ripperologists—to make clear, at last, who really did it; and, more important, how he managed to get away with it for so long.
Robinson's thought-provoking but flawed study of Jack the Ripper falls short of his goal of clearly establishing that lyricist Michael Maybrick, a "superstar who created some of the most celebrated music of the Victorian epoch," led a murderous double life. Much of the book focuses on the Freemasons. Robinson effectively sets the groundwork for his allegations of corruption and cover-up by starting with the 1889 Cleveland Street scandal, in which the British government subverted justice to conceal that Queen Victoria's grandson was frequenting a homosexual brothel. He is much less persuasive in other charges, such as when he argues that Stephen Knight, who connected Freemasonry to the crime in 1976's Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, was a patsy used by secret forces to offer a theory full of holes that would undermine any future effort to blame Masons. The narrative assumes a degree of familiarity with minutiae that the lay reader will not have. Even those who believe that evidence of the killings was covered up will find Robinson's work speculative rather than conclusive.