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Refreshing Look Into a Famous Mystery: Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson

Updated on January 2, 2018
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Alicia has been a Columnist and Reviewer on HubPages for 11 years; became an Author in 2010. Perseverance has been a key to her success.

Front cover of "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"
Front cover of "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson" | Source

Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson (2017)

The book Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson by Richard Patterson, published in 2017, is not the standard gory Ripper case book full of what everyone already knows about this nineteenth century mystery Scotland Yard never solved. Whodunit has been under speculation for over a century. The perpetrator was never caught or arrested for the Ripper crimes. Fortunately, Mr. Patterson sheds light regarding this famous mystery after years of research (starting in 1997) which led him to suspect the serial killer of the Ripper murders being the renowned poet Francis Thompson. He explains in detail how this respected poet was overlooked as a Ripper suspect. Gifts insight to how well respected as a poet Mr. Thompson was. Richard Patterson fully explains how Francis Thompson was ignored by Scotland Yard, and why this was a mistake.

Each page of this biographical book gifted golden nuggets of Francis Thompson’s life. Included in this interesting work was Mr. Thompson’s family background, his education plus where he went to college to learn Medicine, how he became homeless, and became a paid poet plus other noteworthy life facets. Richard Patterson, in this in-depth work, pointed out this poet had a way of blending into a crowd to the point of being invisible, especially to the police. Like many London citizens of this historic era, there was hardly anything special (or outstanding) about Francis Thompson. To those who recall being in his presence, Francis Thompson came across as very commonplace.

The historical tidbits of the nineteenth century Richard Patterson mentions in Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson were important to share for they related to what Mr. Thompson, as a man of this century, would take for granted, hear about or just knew. Every detail shared made this non-fiction piece more intriguing. I learned much about Francis Thompson as well as all of Scotland Yard’s findings, even those the police decided to ignore while investigating. There was a lot unreported by the newspapers of this period for the police did not wish to overly frighten London’s residences. Reading about this time period, to the level of in depth shared by this book, truly gifted this reader a better perspective and understanding of Mr. Thompson’s timeframe. Being a history buff, I enjoyed each historical aspect mentioned. From this well-crafted book, I learned more than expected – found there were still things to learn about the nineteenth century even though I had studied it.

Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson is an extraordinary piece, and throughout does not disappoint. It reads at a moderate pace, but does not get bogged down by technical medical or police jargon, including what some might consider dull aspects of a case. After reading its entirety, I personally could not recall a boring or unnecessary section of this book. For me, everything shared by the author had to be given in order to show why Francis Thompson should have been the main suspect in the Ripper Case. This book was captivating throughout. The ending is perfectly brilliant (cannot add more due to the possibility of spoiling its grand effect). In my opinion, no author could end this type of book as well as Richard Patterson has this one. Overall this book is exemplary.

For all who appreciate mysteries, history, or have an interest in solving the Jack the Ripper case, this Ripperology book probably is one you do not want to miss reading. Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson turned out to be one of the most interesting non-fiction books I have ever read. Before this Richard Patterson book, only the renowned Isaac Asimov’s non-fiction works had this accolade from me. I highly recommend this eye opening real mystery case book.

Enjoy the read!

5 stars for Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson

Photos depicting Francis Thompson's life

Richard Patterson in front of the birth place of Francis Thompson.
Richard Patterson in front of the birth place of Francis Thompson. | Source
Francis Thompson as a young man.
Francis Thompson as a young man. | Source
Francis Thompson in a photo taken at the Medical College he attended; where he learned medical surgical techniques.
Francis Thompson in a photo taken at the Medical College he attended; where he learned medical surgical techniques. | Source

About the Author, Richard Patterson

Richard Patterson is an Australian author and researcher. He has a teaching background, but currently is in Marketing and Research. Due to becoming renowned for his investigation of the Jack the Ripper case, Mr. Patterson was a speaker at the 2005 United Kingdom Jack the Ripper Conference, held in Brighton and the 2016 London Conference. He is well known for his Ripperology articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. For Casebook: Jack the Ripper (world’s most visited Ripper website), Richard Patterson authored the Francis Thompson page.

Mr. Patterson has multiple interests, including poetry, plus exploring and researching possible ancient archaeological sites. Even though his favorite book changes due to experiences life gifts, he admitted to being fond of Science Fiction, works by Dostoyevsky and Stephen King novels. He is definitely what I would define as an avid reader with multiple genre tastes.

Richard Patterson’s favorite poet is Humbert Wolfe (1885 – 1940). As a way to get to know this author better, I have included one of his favorite Humbert Wolfe poems:


Theories of Art ! Believe me, they’re no theories!

To know yourself, to clutch what now and here is and set it down for yourself — that’s all there is in all that chatter about mysteries!

Take my Gioconda (Mind! the paint is wet. And stand well back! She isn’t finished yet.) What made me paint her just like that, do you think?

Shade, line and colour! Fools to waste their ink!

All that is in it — that’s the stuff of the trade,

As a man of bone and flesh is molded and made.

Yes, but does God stop there?

Does He design

This as an exercise in colour and line and rest content with that?

And dust His thumb

As though He’d finished working out a sum!

In His own image He makes us —

Meaning He creates each soul with separate agony,

Tearing it out of His own — and using flesh - (as I, as anyone, might use my brush) to set His mind free of a thought that stung Him

Into creation. What do you say?

I wrong Him to speak of Him in human terms.

How else can we speak of Him?

Of all miracles the greatest is that a man understands God in the godhead of his shaping hands when he moves them blindly,

When he gropes, he grips, and the thrill of life cracks through his finger-tips. -

So let’s get back to God.

It is not enough for Him to be. The wild star-radiant stuff of what He is struggles,

Is wracked, is torn like a harp bursting — and a world is born.

Does He in the agony of birth, on the rack of that adorable suffering stand back and murmur,

“Value, colour, balance, line,” or when the dawn-gold spur of an Apennine cleaves chaos,

Like a sword, red with His blood,

Sob to the morning-stars as they sing “It is good”?

Then look at my Gioconda!

See how she pinches her cold clear lips, and count my soul by inches,

Creeping from corner to corner of her mouth and so to the cheek,

To the eyes, to the hair, and watch it grow,

Not into a face, (for that were only a trick of neat additional arithmetic)

But into Leonardo himself, and the life she pinches between her lips is the life that is Da Vinci’s.

That’s what Art is —

And now enough of talk. Give me my brush, friend, and that powdered chalk.

For more about Richard Patterson, please visit his website titled JACK THE RIPPER THE WORKS OF FRANCIS THOMPSON.

Presenting the author Richard Patterson who published "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson."
Presenting the author Richard Patterson who published "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson." | Source

From the Book Fact Sheet supplied by Richard Patterson

Reactions toward Richard Patterson's Ripperology works:

The UK Express: “Jack the Ripper mystery SOLVED: Shock new claims uncover identity of most notorious killer.”

The Lancashire Evening Post: “FRANCIS Thompson, Preston’s most famous poet, has been fingered as Jack the Ripper in a new book by Australian teacher Richard Patterson.”

The Daily Mail: “ theory that 19th Century writer with surgical experience and opium addiction butchered prostitutes.”

The “Jack the Ripper: Francis Thompson pegged as the unknown London serial killer.”

The UK Sun: "The true identity of Jack The Ripper' revealed.”

The New York Daily: “Jack the Ripper's real identity was poet Francis Thompson, teacher claims.”

More about the book Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson:

This paperback book was published February 28, 2017 by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd., London, England, United Kingdom. It has 397 pages. Published in English. Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 3.6 cm

Special Note of Gratitude

Heartfelt special thanks to Richard Patterson for allowing me to read and review his book, all permissions given by this author, and for answering the questions I had. This reviewer is very grateful for having the honor to review Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson, plus the trust given by Mr. Patterson. Words cannot express the gratitude that is truly felt by this reviewer who appreciated the fantastic sleuthing aspect this thought-provoking real mystery book gifted. What an amazing reading ride! Thank you very much, Mr. Patterson!


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