Title: What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James & Jack the Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
First Line: Henry James was drunk
My Thoughts: A novel with both Henry James and Jack the Ripper in it...who can resist that? And Henry is not alone. Oscar Wilde and John Singer Sargent both make appearances, as do Henry's siblings, William and Alice. These three amateur detectives work together to try and solve the Whitechapel murders. This novel is an intelligent and well-written mystery. And I like Cohen's witty characterizations of Henry, William and Alice James; she's able to portray their foibles and very real human weaknesses without making them ridiculous. They bicker and nitpick, as all brothers and sisters do, but they're also smart and insightful and very likeable. And the way they go about discovering Jack the Ripper's real identity is unique to say the least. I really enjoyed this novel, from its Victorian setting, to its literary characters, to Cohen's unusual solution to the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper. Don't you love it when a book exceeds your expectations? This book definitely exceeded mine.
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough