Research and Jack the Ripper

London, 1888
She’s a widow
She’s being stalked
Is it an admirer?
Or has her past caught up with her?
The Pursuit of Mrs. Pennyworth

Research. Where do you draw the line? When does research for your book become research for fun?

My new romantic suspense, The Pursuit of Mrs. Pennyworth, required a lot of research into Victorian London. I chose that time and place because I always think of that period and location as sinister, dark, frightening. Think Sherlock Holmes and the Agatha Christie stories.

Of course, my research that led me to Jack the Ripper—my book is set the same year as Jack the Ripper is running around Whitechapel murdering prostitutes.

The case of the elusive Jack the Ripper, named such because of the manner he killed his victims, was truly an interesting one. Although ‘Jack’ was never caught, there are many theories and suspects in the case which was never solved. More than 100 suspects were considered during the investigation. However, no one person was ever definitely identified as the serial killer that terrorized the poor section of London in the autumn of 1888.

The favorite theory is Jack the Ripper was a doctor—a surgeon perhaps—which is understandable when one considers the fear of doctors, science, and the medical profession in general, at that time.

There were those who theorized Jack was an ordinary laborer, a butcher seems likely given how the Ripper gutted his victims. Most experts agreed that whoever Jack the Ripper was, he was most likely local to Whitechapel where most of the killings took place.

The one certainty we do have about the case, however, is that since everyone alive at the time of the murders is long dead, the most famous serial killer probably of all time, will forever remain unnamed.

Jack the Ripper features in my new romantic suspense, The Pursuit of Mrs. Pennyworth. My heroine is being plagued by unwanted and somewhat sinister items left on her doorstep. Since Scotland Yard is busy trying to catch the killer, they suggest Mrs. Pennyworth hire a private detective to assist her.

This is my first attempt at a mystery/thriller/suspense novel. I’m very excited about it, and hope you all will be, too.  Here is the blurb for The Pursuit of Mrs. Pennyworth:

Charlotte Pennyworth’s well-ordered life is about to explode. Someone is leaving ‘gifts’ on her doorstep. The flowers were fine, but now the ‘gifts’ are becoming more improper and finally, sinister. When Scotland Yard turns her away, she hires Elliot Baker, a private investigator.

Elliot is willing to help the beautiful widow, but based on a past experience that wrecked his life, he is distrustful of women. And he knows Charlotte is hiding something. But her lure is too strong, so he takes on her case by posing as her suitor.

In the year that Scotland Yard is chasing Jack the Ripper, women all over London are nervous. But Charlotte has a real reason to be anxious. Can Elliot put aside his suspicions of his client, or has their ‘pretend’ courtship turned into something he swore he would never do again?

Or perhaps Charlotte’s past has caught up with her.

In the November issue of my newsletter, I will include the prequel I wrote for this story. Then, starting in December, I will post one chapter of the book each month, up until its release on March 26th. If you would like to read the prequel and the beginning of the book, sign up for my newsletter here:  If you sign up, you will also receive a free copy of A Little Bit of Romance, three short stories about rekindled love.

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