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The year is 1888 and Jack the Ripper begins his reign of terror.
Miss Sarah Bain, a photographer in Whitechapel, is an independent woman with dark secrets. In the privacy of her studio, she supplements her meager income by taking illicit “boudoir photographs” of the town's local ladies of the night. But when two of her models are found gruesomely murdered within weeks of one another, Sarah begins to suspect it's more than mere coincidence.
Teamed with a motley crew of friendsincluding a street urchin, a gay aristocrat, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a beautiful young actressSarah delves into the crime of the century. But just as she starts unlocking the Ripper's secrets, she catches the attention of the local police, who believe she knows more than she's revealing, as well as from the Ripper himself, now bent on silencing her and her friends for good.
Caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer, Sarah races through Whitechapel's darkest alleys to find the truth...until she makes a shocking discovery that challenges everything she thought she knew about the case. Intelligent, original, and utterly engrossing, Laura Joh Rowland's Victorian mysteryThe Ripper's Shadowwill keep readers up through the late hours of the night.
About the Author
Laura Joh Rowland is the bestselling author of the samurai detective Sano Ichiro mystery series set in 17th c. Japan as well as the historical suspense series starring Charlotte Bronte. Her work has been published in 21 countries, nominated for the Anthony Award, the Hammett Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, won RT Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Award, and been included in the Wall Street Journal’s list of the five best historical mystery novels. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She is a former aerospace scientist, a painter, and a cartoonist. She lives in New York City with her husband Marty.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Couldn't put it down until I read the last page, can't wait for the next book in this series
I enjoyed how the main character, Sarah Bain, grew and came out of her own "shadow" throughout the story and gathered new friends into her life. This was really a "different" story and I really liked it. I'm looking forward to more in this series. In the meantime, I can explore other books by this author.
Unbelievable plot (one star)
An interesting look at the Ripper murders fuels this Victorian Era mystery. Sarah Bain is a spinster alone in London's East End making just enough money to sustain herself as a photographer although her fortunes rose a year and a half ago when a young woman approached her with a money making proposition. Boudoir photography had become popular and this young lady knew a man interested in buying; the intimacy of the poses she proposed initially had Sarah refusing once, twice, until her landlord raised the rent and a dearth of paying customers convinced her to agree. The woman of the streets who had suggested the illegal enterprise would deliver the photos to a certain bookseller who would act as an intermediary, and the ladies would split the money. Her first client: Kate Eddoes. Thereafter, she photographed other women who joked that the work was much more pleasant than their usual nightly endeavors. But when Kate ends up dead, butchered at the hands of a man soon known as the Ripper, and then Polly, another of her models, Sarah fears that someone is using her photos as a catalogue from which to choose his victims. She fears the police too much to share her suspicions, but with Whitechapel gone mad with suspicion and fear, someone has to find out the truth of the murders. The poorest sections of London come alive in all their sordid seaminess, the poor turning on those with even less, the ever present fear of the foreign focusing the police on people who fled their own countries because of persecution. Sarah's desire to warn and protect these women of the street puts a face and a living, breathing personality to women immortalized only as Jack's victims, and makes their inevitable bloody demise more heartwrenching. Sarah is aided in her investigations by a young actress she once befriended, a scandalous Lord, and a young street thief, along with a Jewish couple, an unusual band set on a perilous task: find the Ripper, even when it becomes dangerously obvious that someone high in the police force doesn't want the truth coming out. I enjoyed the book, and it sets up a second one, so I guess we'll be seeing the crew again in the future.