Monday, December 19, 2022

Kerri Maniscalco: Stalking Jack the Ripper

In the first in a series, Kerri Maniscalco takes you back to the times of Jack the Ripper with a new detective set on discovering and stopping the killer:

Society has never held but interest for Lady Audrey Wadsworth, she prefers to spend in time in her uncle's laboratory watching him dissect the dead for a living and the birth of forensic medicine. When there are a string of murders occurring in the white chapel area, each more gruesome that the last, Audrey is determine to figure out who the killer is before they are able to strike again. Her uncle's apprentice also wants to find who is responsible for the murders, but he may also have an alterative motive for wanting to help. The more Audrey searches the more that is revealed that the truth may be very close to her, very close indeed.

This was a good book and fairly well paced but there were times when I thought that the romance aspect was featured a bit too much or Thomas was "teasing" Audrey a bit too much but that is just a personal preference. And honestly I think the book would have been better without the romance and the attempt a love triangle but at the same time I understand why Maniscalco decided to have these included in the book as this it the 17th century and it was hard enough for Audrey to sneak out of the house.

I think that Maniscalco did a good job with her characters, you feel for Audrey who wants to break societies rules against her and use her brain power for something more thank dinner parties and Thomas who infuriates her with his comments but at the same time affording her respect that no other man would (other than her uncle) with that Audrey is interested in. I like the duo of them working together, but wish that is all that they were, working together without the need for romance between them. Too many time Audrey was distracted from the task at hand by Thomas' advances making her heart race or her mind muddled with his closeness. I mean it plays into the stereotype that women cannot think when a man is paying her some attention.

I was able to figure it out but not what the Ripper was trying to achieve, which was pretty interesting take by Manscalco and it fit the story really well as well as the hints along the way. I also liked that this book was dealing with the birth of what could be achieved not only in science but forensic science as well. I think that Manscalco did a good job of portraying what Audrey and Thomas could do from crimes scene information, to autopsy to psychological theories throughout the book.

In the author's note she states that she wanted to stay true to who the women were, but they are referred to multiple time in the book as prostitutes, so I questions this fact. If one want to know about the women who were murdered by Jack the Ripper then check out The Five by Hallie Rubenhold who disproves much of what was thought about these women.

Overall, I did enjoy this book as the mystery was well thought out and planned. I think that I will continue on in the series to see what creative ways that Maniscalco inserts Audrey into actual events and works of fiction of the time, I'm just hopeful the that relationship part gets downplayed a bit.

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