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Paperback: The Ripper and the Royals by Melvyn Fairclough

Saturday 09 February 2002 01:00 GMT

First published in 1991, this re-issue is prompted by From Hell, the new film about Jack the Ripper. Alarmingly, "From Hell" turns out to be the "address" on a real confessional note. Utilising material supplied by Joseph Sickert, son of artist Walter (alleged by Patricia Cornwell to be the killer), Fairclough argues that the murders were committed by Freemasons protecting the Duke of Clarence from blackmail. Much of his evidence is bizarrely circumstantial, but this grim work casts a penetrating light on the extremes of Victorian life.

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