Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Length: 326 pages (Hardback Edition)
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
This is the first five star book that I have read in a long while. The plot had the perfect pace as it wasn’t too dense with action or too drawn out. I feel that the romance was very well done in this book as it did not overshadow the main plot, but intertwined well with the mystery. Maniscalco made some changes to the real life mystery of Jack the Ripper and they made the story all the more intriguing (the locations and details of these changes were shown at the end of the book).
I loved the different characterisations and relationships in this book as the characters complimented and contrasted each other well. Audrey Rose was by far my favourite character as she defied unfair expectations of women in the Victorian era, for example: training for a job that was deemed ‘inappropriate for women’ and refusing an arranged marriage.
I felt that Audrey Rose’s relationship with Thomas Cresswell was realistic as there were both positive and negative aspects to it. Both characters could be difficult and stubborn at times but they both respected each other greatly and trusted one another’s opinions.
I liked the different types of relationships that Audrey Rose had with different members of her family. Her mother’s death caused some members of the family to become closer and created rifts between other members of the family as blame was passed around. Audrey Rose’s very close relationships with her brother and uncle contrast greatly with her very distant relationship with her father. I especially enjoyed the way in which Audrey Rose’s relationship with her uncle was both personal and professional.
I loved the mystery of this book as I didn’t guess who the murderer was until Nathaniel was revealed at the end. The use of red herrings was effective as my mind was changed so may times throughout the story as every red herring was realistic due to their personalities and motives.
Nathaniel being revealed as Jack the Ripper showed just how much of a complex character he was as he did it out of grief for his mother’s death and love for his family rather than pure malice.
Some parts of Stalking Jack the Ripper are quite gruesome and not for the squeamish, however, this book was absolutely brilliant and I would recommend this to anyone looking for an action-filled mystery.