Jack the Ripper Dossier, Part XIII – “her name was placed on the ‘Register of Shame'”

Welcome to the 13th episode of Richard Walker’s new, weekly podcast series on Jack the Ripper.

In this episode Richard profiles the third “canonical” victim, Liz Stride.

As usual, it’s not just what you’re told, it’s how you’re told it. So, for example, the first 90 seconds or so when Richard describes the discovery of Liz Stride’s body we get a textbook example of a great storyteller at work in both senses of the word. We see the superb craftsmanship of the writer-editor storyteller in the selection and ordering of detail – every last word is perfect and perfectly placed; and we hear the superb craftsmanship of the entertainer storyteller in the pleasing dry leaves quality of Richard’s voice and especially in the pacing and cadence of the presentation. This is speech – storytelling – as music. When you hear how Richard times* the word ‘shame’ in the phrase ‘Register of Shame’ or the words ‘Lecherous Living’ in the phase “the police became aware that Elizabeth had become guilty of ‘lecherous living” you know – recognise perhaps intuitively, perhaps consciously – that you are in company of somebody who does this sort of thing at a very high level. You know that you’re with someone you want to listen to; know that you’ve found your storyteller for Jack the Ripper.

A penultimate point. The podcast is not a walk. Richard has more elbow room in the podcast. But an important takeaway from the podcast is: “my god, this guy knows his stuff, if I have any questions – either background questions or questions that hug the belt of this subject – I’m going to get an informed, judicious, very interesting answer. I’ve made the right choice here.

Richard is the actor, adventurer (he sailed across the Pacific in a tiny two-man skiff) and masterful Ripperologist performance artist who’s created a new version of the Ripper Walk. His walk is called Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel. It’s an exclusive VIP Ripper walk (it’s a guaranteed small group tour – the numbers are strictly limited).

*It’s not just the cadence, the timing, it’s also the perfectly judged bit of colouring – the tinge of emphasis – that fragrance those two verbal counters. That’s the gifted, very experienced actor seemingly effortlessly hitting a three-pointer at the buzzer (in American basketball parlance).

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