When Jack the Ripper tour guide, Ian Groves, sets out one one of his regular walks around Whitechapel, little does he know that his life is about to take an unexpected turn. Initially sceptical when one of his customers tells him that she has evidence that could solve the century-long mystery, his interest is piqued enough to start to undertake some research. When an unsuccessful attempt is made on his life and he receives news that the aforementioned customer has been found dead, he begins to realise that he has stumbled upon a conspiracy to keep the secrets of the past well hidden. What ensues is a whirlwind tour of Europe in an attempt to uncover the truth. Just who was Jack the Ripper?
It is hard to review this book without making some sort of comparison to the Robert Langdon novels of Dan Brown. There are many similarities: a male protagonist and his female accomplice, a shady secret society, a whistle-stop tour around the cities of Europe… Whereas Brown’s books can be quite lengthy, however, this is a fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ alternative take on the age-old Jack the Ripper mystery that I read in a couple of sittings. The author has displayed good subject knowledge and his descriptions of the places Ian Groves visits seem realistic. My only criticism (a minor one!) would be that I would have liked the characters to have spent more time on each country as it often appeared rushed.
The conclusion of The Whitechapel Secret was very clever and was not what I expected. It was a fitting ending for two characters I had grown to like throughout the book and who I had willed to succeed. Although Ian’s involvement was due to his interest in Jack the Ripper, I would be happy reading any further adventures of this character!
With thanks to Net Galley and Endeavour Press for my copy of this book.