Jean Dorsenne: 1-902918-02-9: trans. Molly Whittington-Egan
First English translation of a rare French account of Jack the Ripper

For more than half a century this book has proved to be one of the most elusive of the early Ripper books; a small, rare treasure, with a life of its own, vivid and expressive.

Molly Whittington-Egan has undertaken a translation of the work, which was originally published in Paris in 1935, a mere forty-seven years after the killing stopped. Jean Dorsenne, 1892-1945, a French novelist, constructed what can only be categorized as a fanciful thriller out of the horrendous, real-life Jack the Ripper saga.

The book runs on an old story-telling device; a dialogue (mainly monologue) between an enquiring first-person French narrator, who is a 'thirties pioneer Ripper enthusiast, and an interlocutor in reminiscent mood, identified solely as'G.W.H.', but described as a retired English chief constable at Scotland Yard, who had been in contemporary charge of the Ripper investigation, living now in rose-bowered retirement in Yorkshire.

Based as it is upon the liberal use of both French and English newspapers of the time, 'faction' would not, perhaps, be an entirely accurate label to attach to this colourful, rhetorical, imaginative, episodic, and, it has to be said, slightly naive little literary artefact.

The Author

Molly Whittington-Egan read English as an Exhibitioner at Cambridge in the late 1950s. She taught English in Helsinki and for a decade was a social worker and finally Acting Head of Department at Springfield Hospital in south west London, one of the late-lamented asylums.

She then qualified as a lawyer and became a full-time writer and for twenty-five years reviewed literature and psychological matters for the Contemporary Review.

She is married to the author, Richard Whittington-Egan and sometimes collaborates with him.

The First Pages

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