A killer going by the name of 'Crimson Jack' is stalking the wartime streets of London, murdering women on the exact dates of the infamous Jack the Ripper killings of 1888. Has the Ripper somehow returned from the grave? Is the selfstyled Crimson Jack a descendant of the original Jack or merely a madman obsessed with those notorious killings?
In desperation Scotland Yard turn to Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest detective. Surely he is the one man who can sift fact from legend and track down Crimson Jack before he completes his tally of death. As Holmes and the faithful Watson tread the blacked out streets of London, death waits just around the corner.
As Harris (The Thirty-One Kings) explains in the preface, the Sherlock Holmes films made and set in the 1940s starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce inspired him to transplant Holmes and Watson to the same period in this superior pastiche. In 1942, with London under nighttime blackout restrictions, a serial murderer modeling himself on Jack the Ripper has struck twice. Holmes is called in by Inspector Lestrade after the second killing, which, like the first, happened on an anniversary of a Ripper murder. The current killer leaves his chosen nickname, Crimson Jack, emblazoned in red chalk near the bodies. Efforts to keep the savage murders a secret fail, and the ensuing panic has broader consequences, including a clamor to lift the blackout so that Londoners can travel at night safely. With less than a month until the expected date of the next killing, Holmes pursues every reasonable theory, including the possibility that Crimson Jack is a descendant of the Ripper. Besides providing the duo with a worthy challenge, Harris makes his Watson an intelligent and competent sidekick. Both the strong characterization and plot bode well for a sequel. \n