I did see the programme, Squidge, and yes, it was very interesting. I had heard of this man, Aaron Kosminski, before – he is also the suspect named in the recent DNA testing controversy – and though many people are not convinced, I am at least convinced that the Ripper (whoever he was) was an ordinary, local man, a face in the crowd with intimate local knowledge and a bolt-hole close at hand.
What I found particularly interesting was that up to about fifty years ago it was generally believed that the Ripper had six victims, the extra one being – you guessed it – Martha Tabram, the one reinstated in the programme.
I don’t know if you noticed, but the ex-copper in the programme has the same (very rare) surname as me – with good reason, for he is my second cousin (our grandfathers were brothers). I was rather amused by the spin they put on introducing him. I don’t wish to diss my relative, but if he is an expert on murder cases he’s a self-made one, not a pro. What they somehow failed to mention is that he left the force many years ago with the rank of Detective Constable, or that his career was mainly in undercover infiltration of gangs. That was very dangerous work indeed, and I salute his courage, but it didn’t give him professional experience in murder investigations.
As for ‘The Five,’ it was unfortunate for Hallie Rubenhold that the previous non-fiction book I’d read was Emma Darwin’s recent one. One thing that came over strongly from that was Emma’s scrupulousness about not bending history too much in the writing of historical fiction. The contrast is not flattering to Ms Rubenhold.