The story Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is set in London in the 1800s. The main character, Audrey Rose, apprentices under her uncle in his lab, by dissecting dead bodies, to figure out a person’s cause of death. Audrey Rose has to hide her interests, though, because it is improper for a lady to work in a lab, especially if she is dissecting bodies. Audrey Rose’s apprenticeship ends up taking an interesting turn. She finds herself in the middle of trying to solve a murder case with her uncle’s other apprentice, Thomas Cresswell, who is “infuriatingly aware of his own intelligence” (11). The longer London goes without the identity of the murderer, the more desperate, and restless everyone becomes to find answers.
This is a story about mystery and murder, but it is also about finding one’s self. In the beginning, Audrey Rose was almost living a double life. During the day she was a proper young lady who stitched napkins for her future husband, but by night she was in her uncle’s lab cutting open dead bodies. By the end of the book, Audrey Rose starts to not care about what everybody thinks of her, she leaves the dresses behind for her riding clothes, and she learns to stick up for herself. This dirties her clean reputation because it is seen as unladylike. The London society in the 1880s was very different from what society is like today. Women were taught to stay home and take care of the house while their husbands were at work. They also had to be chaperoned by a male family member if they wanted to leave the house, or be courted by a boy. In the end, Audrey Rose embraces her individuality, and I think that was the author’s way of sending a message out to the reader, telling them it is okay to be themselves.
I thought the book was very entertaining. I’d say mysteries are my favorite genre of books, but that isn’t why Stalking Jack the Ripper was so fun to read. From the very beginning, the character of Audrey Rose intrigued me because she was different from everyone in her town. She didn’t want to just sit around, go to tea parties, and gossip. She wanted to feed her curiosity and be able to do more than just sit around the house. Another aspect I enjoyed was the relationship between Audrey Rose, and her partner Thomas Cresswell. A girl spending time alone with a boy that was not apart of her family was socially unacceptable, and would be the hot gossip at all the tea parties. The two spending time alone was used as a kind of comic relief from all the death and darkness in the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery, adventure, and a little flirtation between the main characters. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat, leading you to think the murder is one person, then hit you with a curve ball, and lead you in an entirely different direction. If you aren’t into mystery, then I would still recommend you to read this because the chemistry between the two characters is written very well. They banter, and flirt with each other, and you can tell they care about each other, but they make a joke about it. So if you are looking for a book that is a page turning, that will leave you wanting more, pick up Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.