Reviewing The Mystery Of Jack The Ripper

Leonard Matters book The Mystery of Jack The Ripper was published in May 1929, and is now acknowledged as the first major study dedicated to the Whitechapel Murders.

Today the book is a must-have on a shelf on the bookcase of any Ripperologist, largely because it contains wonderful photographs of the murder locations before they were demolished.

A view along Durward Street.
A View Along Buck’s Row, Formerly Buck’s Row.


When the book appeared in print, it was reviewed by several newspaper, and it is intriguing to read what they made of what is now seen as a trailblazing book.

The following review appeared in The Northern Whig on Saturday, 25th May 1929:-

“The Mystery of Jack the Ripper. By Leonard Matters. London : Hutchinson & Co. 10s 6d net.

The mystery the Jack the Ripper murders seems as perennial as that of the Marie Celeste, though it is only the older generation now who can remember the terrors of 1888, when people were afraid to move about the streets as they were in the days our great-grandfathers and Burke and Hare.

There were, it may be remembered, six murders, all of unfortunates, the murders ending as suddenly as they began, and though all London was Argus-eyed from then till now the mystery has been unsolved.


There have been various statements, among them that Jack was a homicidal maniac, perhaps a doctor, and that his body was recovered from the Thames shortly after the last of the murders; and again that he was later discovered as an inmate of a criminal lunatic asylum.

The has engaged many pens – Sir Robert Anderson, Major Griffiths, Dr. Forbes Winslow, and others – and, according to Mr. Matters, all were wrong.


He declares that the murderer was a famous West-End surgeon in revenge for the death of his son. The son fell in with a woman of bad repute on boat race night at the Cafe Monico, lived with her, and later, despite every effort of science, died of disease.

The doctor then hunted for the victim, tracked her down to Whitechapel, and murdered his other victims during the search for the right woman.


The broken father went abroad, where he made a death-bed confession to the doctor, who had been a former pupil.

If both the names had been given for our substantiation it would have been more satisfactory. The careful reader will, we think, find many flaws in the story; but at least the facts are assembled and a grim story dramatically told.”