Polly. Annie. Elizabeth. Kate. Mary Jane.
These are the five canonical fatalities whose attacker was the unidentified Jack the Ripper, a Victorian figure whose grossly violent legacy still plagues the streets of the Whitechapel district of East London. With walks, fiction, and periodicals dedicated to the serial killings, these are offences so vicious and folkloric that they and their faceless culprit are the focus of deathly fascination.
The five – Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Kate Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly – were left with a far less illustrious legacy. A footnote to their antagonist, canon-fodder for the anecdote, they were scapegoats, accepted as prostitutes without proof, disfigured, disgraced, displayed as photographs of defaced corpses, and, largely, forgotten from their own stories in favour of the surgical details of their deaths.
Forgotten, that is, until The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper: Continue reading “Review: The Five – Hallie Rubenhold”