Book Review: The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper


The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper

James Carnac


432 pages


This is the alleged manuscript of the “real” Jack the Ripper. Written in the 1920s by a man calling himself James Carnac, it was only discovered recently in a lot of memorabilia purchased by a vintage toy dealer.

The manuscript is divided into three parts. The first part deals with Carnac’s childhood, which was quite brutal and culminated with a heinous crime. Part two is specifically focused on the murders in Whitechapel and explains the initial catalyst as well as why they ceased abruptly. The third part is decades later, with Carnac detailing an odd circumstance he has found himself in with his landlady.

“Ripperologists” have had a difficult time ascertaining whether this manuscript is the real deal, not to mention confirming whether James Carnac was a real person. The general consensus is that Carnac is most likely a pseudonym, as no records can be found of anyone with that name given the details the author provided.

My thoughts:

I was hesitant about this book at first. I love true crime but Jack the Ripper has never been a case that truly interested me. I think it is mainly due to the fact that it was so long ago. In my mind, if it hasn’t been solved yet, what are the chances it ever will be? In fact, I read this only because my mom read it last year and passed it on to me. It sat on my shelf for a long time and I picked it up only because I was trying to keep up with a spooky/creepy/bloody Halloween theme during the latter half of October.

I could not put this book down. It hooked me from the start, with Carnac’s childhood being far more fascinating than I anticipated. If I remember correctly, I finished the book within 24 hours. The main question that lingered in my mind was Is this a true account? And over a month later, I still don’t know how I feel about it.

On one hand, I agree that there is a lot of information in the manuscript that would likely only be known by the killer. On the other hand, the fluidity and the unlikeliness of certain situations had me second guessing. I can see why there are questions about the validity of the manuscript, but I don’t know that the truth about Jack the Ripper will ever be known.




One Response

  1. I didn’t know that there was autobiography of Jack the Ripper. It is fascinating to say the least. It would be nice if there were a way to know if it is authentic. Either way, I would like to give it a go.

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