Book Review: What Alice Knew

What Alice Knew

Paula Marantz Cohen

Sourcebooks Landmark

352 pages

Henry James is an author who has gained popularity as an author since he wrote during the Victorian period.  That was about all I knew about Mr James when I picked up this book, and it turned out that his occupation as an author had little to do with the premise of this book.

James, instead, finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery.  Jack the Ripper has taken London by storm, and everyone watches in horror as one by one more murders are committed.  James’s brother, William, is called over from the US by Scotland Yard to aid in the investigation, and he and James quickly come to their own conclusions as to who the perp is.

Lastly, the two brothers are aided by their sister, Alice.  Alice is interesting because her worldviews are that of a feminist but she is a self induced invalid who seemingly cannot bear to get out of bed and face the real world. However, she has a woman’s sensibility that her two brothers lack, and although all three siblings work together to solve the crime, Alice is the one whose levelheadedness helps to solve the crime.

You may remember a few weeks ago when I read and reviewed The Dracula Dossier.  Both books are about Jack the Ripper, although the narrator of The Dracula Dossier is Bram Stoker. I found it interesting that Oscar Wilde played a bit part in both books!

I liked the fact that the books were so incredibly different, despite having the same basis.  I thought both authors made a convincing argument and it was fun to see how both books ended.

Other Reviews:

Devourer of Books

Rundpinne

Reading with Tequila

Books I Done Read

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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4 Responses

  1. I recently read “The Tea Rose” which is also (sort of) about Jack the Ripper, which led me to read up about him via google, and wow – how interesting. I can see how he would have spawned a lot of books!

  2. What a fascinating subject! That may be a bit macabre, but it’s honest. 🙂

  3. Very interesting post. I have not read either of these books, but I absolutely love the Victorian period, so I will have to check these both out. Thanks!

  4. Interesting! That Dracula Dossier book looks intriguing, too.

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