Jack the Ripper: Case Closed
Date Published15 June 2017
Price£ 18.99

Jack the Ripper: Case Closed

by Gyles Brandreth

Oscar Wilde has a close friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle and encourages him to join him in the search for the identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper.


This novel is based upon the actual friendship that existed between Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle. These characters are interspersed with a diverse range of historical and literary characters all of whom could plausibly have moved in the same circles as Oscar Wilde. Of equal weighting in the story is the character of Whitechapel, the London smogs and the poor of the East End.

Wilde has a close friendship with Conan Doyle. Oscar encourages Arthur to join him in helping to find the identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper, supporting the police officer newly placed in charge of the case and just as a new series of murders start to happen, in the road next to Oscar Wilde’s house.

Gyles Brandreth crafts a very plausible, highly mannered and engaging plot marrying historical fact with intelligent surmise and interpretation. His prose is witty, drawing on anecdotes of Oscar Wilde and intellectually flattering to the reader who recognises many of the epithets and references associated with both of the main protagonists.

The plot is relatively simple. The two famous writers are called upon by a detective who has been charged with solving the over-famous case of the Whitechapel murders before adverse publicity has a detrimental effect on public confidence in the evolving police force. The idea that the creator of Sherlock Holmes is involved in solving the unsolvable crime in partnership with the exceptionally intelligent and socially linked Oscar Wilde is seductive and something the reader would like to believe.

The investigations take the pair into all aspects of Victorian society, from opium dens, brothels and bars of ill repute, to the dining rooms of high end hotels, fashionable salons and esteemed homes. All of these scenarios are described with meticulous attention to detail and all of which evoke a clear atmosphere of the period.

The Ripper’s work is well researched and placed in an interesting context and the denouement is disclosed in an intriguing manner.

Reviewed 05 August 2017 by John Barnbrook