Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Publication Day Push and Author Guest Post: Sherlock Homes and the Ripper of Whitechapel

 Guest post by M. K. Wiseman (Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel)

The Adventure of the Resident Researcher

Last summer, I sat on an airplane reading Donald Rumbelow’s The Complete Jack the Ripper. Occupying the middle seat, I still did not have anyone talk to me for the entirety of the flight . . .

This was my first foray into writing a historical which did not include fantasy elements. Typically I have real places, real events, working in the background of “And now, here are some wizards mucking about!” I like to have my moon phases correct; weather, too, if I can get at that data.

Thus, researching into the history of the Ripper killings was a whole new angle for me as a writer. And for the month of August 2019, I happened to be the Artist in Residence at the Cedarburg Cultural Center and so the aforementioned airplane ride was only the first of several weeks of researching Jack the Ripper while sitting in plain view of the public.

First and foremost, I wrote a note to myself at the top of every one of my working files: Real women died. A bleak reminder and vow that I would not stray into the Hollywood-style action story which, so far in my life, had served as distant background noise for my introduction into the history of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper’s presence in popular culture (even in contemporaneous sources) has all-too-often strayed into melodrama.

(excerpt from) "Latest Details of the Whitechapel Murders : Annie Chapman - before and after death", The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, September 22, 1888.

Caricature in Punch magazine. 29 September, 1888

 That said, the case itself, the true history of the events surrounding the Ripper attacks, lends itself to such drama: Messages chalked on walls; cryptic and threatening letters written to various news outlets; the sheer methodical brutality of the attacks. The truth, in this instance, is stranger than fiction. As I worked, I found it easier and easier to stick to my initial goals of not giving my Ripper-stand-in a face or agency.

Next came weather. Music. All those tiny details in an author’s head which, in turn, bring a story to life. My earlier book series is a fantasy set in the late 1600s. But working within 1888, in London, on a series of events which is so well-documented? I had an incredible wealth of information at my fingertips. So much data, in fact, that I sometimes found myself bogged down in minutiae. e.g. There is a line in chapter 14 where Holmes is humming a “light, staccato little aire”. The song? It is from Act II, Scene 5, of Gounod’s Faust. (It played at Covent Garden, May 14, 1888 and I enacted a bit of literary license to presume that Holmes saw the performance.)

But all of that is 1888 and the Ripper’s side of this tale. My true love lies, of course, in the Holmes end of things. A studied Sherlockian will find any number of tiny easter eggs and playful call-outs to original Conan Doyle canon. Granada’s Baker Street File lay ready at my fingertips throughout my whole process as supplement to, and ocasional correction of, my memory on lines, references, language, attire . . . the list goes on.

What resulted is a fictionalized account of the Ripper killings, grounded in truth and set within our reality while additionally bringing to life, once again, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great consulting detective.

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel

I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:

Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.

Amazon UK                Amazon US 

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.






Book Blog Tour Stop: The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery by Su Young Lee

The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery by Su Young Lee

Fluttering cherry blossoms, gorgeous kimonos and sweet and sorrowful love.

For cake-loving college girl Hana, Japan was the romantic destination of her dreams. With boyfriend Jin she planned an exciting new life in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. But when she finally arrives after months of planning, Jin isn't there. 

Hana is left broken-hearted on a rainy Tokyo street. Jin left no note. One day he just walked out of classes and disappeared. 

Hana begins her new life alone. Watching cherry blossoms fall into the Tokyo river. Working hard and delivering her lovely home-baked cakes by orange bicycle. Then she meets handsome young farmer Hikaru, and glimpses a new way forward - in an alien place where she doesn't know a soul.

The Tokyo Bicycle Bakery is a sweet romance with a hint of magic realism. It's a perfect book to carry with you and read on holiday or weekends.

Amazon US here / Amazon UK here

Su Young Lee is a Korean romance author who lived in Tokyo, Japan for 10 years and now lives in London, England with her husband and two lovely cats. 

Su works in academic publishing and loves baking, playing piano and working on her calligraphy