Edgar Award–winning editor Otto Penzler's latest anthology takes its inspiration from the historical enigma whose name has become synonymous with fear: Jack the Ripper.
Of the real-life serial killers whose gruesome acts have been splashed across headlines, none has reached the mythical status of Jack the Ripper. In the Ripper's wake, terror swept through the streets of London’s East End in the fall of 1888. As quickly as his nightmarish reign came, Saucy Jack vanished without a trace—leaving future generations to speculate upon his identity and whereabouts. He was diabolical in a way never seen before—a killer who taunted the police, came up with his own legendary monikers, and, ultimately, got away with his heinous crimes.
More than a century later, the man “from hell” continues to live on in the imaginations of readers everywhere—and in some of the most spectacularly unnerving stories, both fiction and nonfiction, ever written. The Big Book of Jack the Ripper immerses you in the utterly chilling world of Red Jack’s London, where his unprecedented evil still lurks.
· Legendary stories by Marie Belloc Lowndes, Robert Bloch, and Ellery Queen
· Captivating essays from George Bernard Shaw, Stephen Hunter, and Peter Underwood
· Riveting new stories by contemporary masters Jeffrey Deaver, Loren D. Estleman, Lyndsay Faye, and many more
· Astonishing theories from the world’s foremost Ripperologists
From the Ripper Vault:
· Demonic letters from Jack himself
· Gruesome postmortem exams documenting all the bits and pieces of the cases
· Harrowing witness statements taken on those hellish nights
· Breaking newspaper accounts of the East End hysteria
Penzler's ambitious sixth Big Book (after 2015's The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories) appropriately deviates from the template of earlier volumes, given its focus on a real-life criminal. The opening section, "The True Story," gathers primary sources, like witness statements and autopsy reports, contemporary newspaper accounts of the murders, and George Bernard Shaw's legendary letter to the editor of the Star newspaper decrying the horrific living conditions in Whitechapel. The bulk of the book provides a comprehensive selection of Ripper-inspired fiction, including such well-known works as Marie Belloc Lowndes's "The Lodger" (presented in both its original short story form and later novel version) and Robert Bloch's "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper." But as with previous Big Books, Penzler's dogged research has enabled him to include undeservedly obscure stories as well, such as R. Chetwynd-Hayes's creepy "The Gatecrasher" and Isak Dinesen's "The Uncertain Heiress." High-quality tales original to this volume, from such 21st-century masters as Daniel Stashower, Lyndsay Faye, and Jeffery Deaver, are another bonus.