The Ripper's Time by Mark R. Vogel

The Ripper's Time by Mark R. Vogel (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016)

 

What if we could turn the clock back to 1888, knowing what we know about profiling the characters of serial killers, DNA evidence, analysis of fibers left behind at a crime scene, and lifting fingerprints from surfaces that once were deemed impossible to obtain? Would we be able to identify capture, and prosecute Jack the Ripper, the first infamous serial killer of modern times? Even today, 126 years after the heinous crimes, there are detectives, amateur and professional, as well as a plethora of authors who continue to look for the one clue that will reveal, unequivocally, the identity of the elusive Whitechapel killer.

The Ripper's Time, by New Jersey native, Mark R. Vogel, is the fruit of Vogel's ten year study of the grippinng case. Vogel's story seesaws between two periods of time: August/September of 1888 and September 2014. The hero of The Ripper's Time is not the typical, hunky sleuth. Rather, Professor Henry Willows is an instructor at Garden State University in Morristown, NJ. He has been teaching history and criminology at GSU for fifteen years, and students flock to his lecture on Jack the Ripper, a subject about which he has written a definitive text.

Sign Up for E-News

Willows is described as “small-boned, but not frail, stood five feet eight inches. He had wavy caramel brown hair and was clean-shaven His brown eyes were soulful, even when steeped in the melancholia that often plagued him. His features were slightly effeminate. Most women thought he was cute. Henry had no idea.” (p.11) Despite the efforts of Willows' best friend and colleague, Jay Flugel, to get Henry to barhop and check out the hottest chicks around, Professor Willows is pining for the one woman he can never have; Catherine Eddowes, one of the unfortunate victims of the Ripper. Eddowes differed from the other unfortunate women who had had the bad fate to meet Jack the Ripper during the brief period of his depraved crimes in that she never resorted to prostitution to make a living.

Unable to contain his feelings for Eddowes, Henry has an outburst in one of his classes during a discussion of the victims of Jack the Ripper. “Catherine Eddowes was not a common whore! Both John Kelly, the man she lived with, and Frederick Wilkinson, the deputy of their lodging house testified at her inquest that she was or moral character and did not prostitute herself!” (p. 28) The class is taken aback by Professor Willow's defense of Eddowes in that he is so passionate about his feelings for her. He goes on to cover up his passion by expressing his sorrow at the plight of poor, single women of the Victorian era who had little opportunity to support themselves financially other than selling their bodies.

Then, a modern miracle occurs. Flugey, Willow's barhopping buddy, introduces Willows to Kaspar Biedermeier, a German physicist on campus, who has a possible solution to help Henry rescue his unrequited love. “You've been studying the Ripper all your life?” Biedermeir says to Henry when they are introduced. “Well, I've been studying time travel. I've been at an impasse for quite some time. Like you I started grasping for straws. I placed an ad in over twenty scientific journals, identifying myself and providing my GPS coordinates. I endangered my career.” (p. 57) Despite the risks to his future, Biedermeir had successfully procured a time machine. “It's from my great---sixteen times---granddaughter from the year 2477. My ads started running one month ago. Two weeks later, I came to work, entered my storage room and discovered this.” (p. 57) A letter from his great-granddaughter, a physicist in London, had accompanied the mysterious machine, noting that Professor Willows would come to call with a request to be transported to 1888.

And so, Henry's risky journey into the past, is borne of trust that he is willing to put into a “mad” scientist who claims that not only can he send Willows back in time to attempt to change the past, Biedermeir can bring him back to the future using an object called a transvector.

While Professor Willows is being introduced to the idea of time travel, the intervening chapters detail the progression of Jack the Ripper's bloody escapades. Martha Tabram, the first lady to encounter the Ripper's knife, having spent her rent money on drink on the evening of August 6, 1888, espied a handsome, well-dressed gentleman, who claimed to be taking a late night stroll to escape the sadness of losing his wife the year before. The unlikely pair step into a dark stairway of a tenement, where the drunk Martha plops down and prepares for business. Suddenly, the gentleman turns into something else altogether, a madman. “He was strong and maniacal. He clenched his teeth and held her head against the steps. Martha flailed her arms, but it was useless. . .Releasing her throat he withdrew a seven-inch ivory-handled double-edged dagger from his coat. He plunged the full length of the blade into Martha's chest.” (p.9)

Martha's body is discovered the next day and Inspector Reid, the detective on the case, sends for a medical examiner, Dr. Timothy Killeen. After conducting a postmortem, Killeen makes this prophetic statement to Reid. “I'm saying that the killer didn't murder her for an external reason. He killed her because he enjoyed it. It's in his blood. He's going to do it again, and he's going to keep doing it until you catch him.” (p. 21)

Dr. Killeen's prediction will come true, unless Professor Willows of Garden State University can be transported back in time to prevent the murders of the other unfortunate victims, and meet the woman of his dreams, Catherine Eddowes.

The Ripper's Time is engaging, romantic, and has bursts of humor that lighten up a subject that is mercilessly humorless. The reader can't help but cheer on the serious and kind Professor Willows. Vogel's prose is an interesting blend of contemporary vocabulary interspersed with language reflective of the Victorian era. Willow's manner of speaking has the lilt of Victorian speech; his manner of expression is somewhat stiff for modern life, but it suits his interest in that quaint time. However, Vogel doesn't go overboard with the Victorian vernacular.

Mark R. Vogel's new novel can be purchased at Amazon.com. You can visit Vogel's website at markvogel.info. Currently Vogel is working on a sequel to his first book, Crestwood Lake.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Morristown

Newark Airport Shuts Down Temporarily on Tuesday Evening Due to Airplane Engine Fire

May 24, 2017

NEWARK, NJ – Newark Liberty International Airport shut down at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday evening due to an apparent engine fire of a plane as it was preparing for flight.  According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, emergency response teams are at the scene and no injuries have been reported.

According to news sources, the right engine of United flight 1579 ...

NJ Transit Awarded $10M for Automated Backup Train Safety System

May 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7th) on Wednesday announced that New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) has been awarded a $10 million dollar federal grant from the Positive Train Control Grant Program.

Positive Train Control is an automated backup safety system to combat human error in operations and improve reliability.

“This grant announcement is welcome news ...

Morristown's Sunrise Lake Beach Opens Memorial Day Weekend

May 24, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ. - Sunrise Lake Beach Club, located in Lewis Morris County Park will be open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day for swimming, boating, fishing and more. 

From May 27 to September 4, enjoy days at the beach, playing volleyball on the beach, building sand castles or swimming. Swimmers older than seven, can run, jump, climb and splash across the Wibit,  an ...

Eco Fun Fest- An Annual Green Family Festival

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Eco Fun Fest is an annual green family festival in Morris Township, NJ. Eco Fun Fest will be held on May 20th from 1:00 to 4:00 at Unity Charter School. At EFF you can expect good "green" fun for the whole family. Children's activities are high in fun and low in environmental impact. Kids can play planet friendly games, have their face painted, take a ride down ...

Youth Basketball Development Night at Morristown High School

MORRISTOWN, NJ - A basketball youth development night is being held at Morristown High School on Thursday May 11 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm in the main gym.

Players in grades 2 - 8, will participate in skill development drills with a concentration on shooting the basketball. 

The night will be held in an open house format, allowing players to come anytime throughout the night. Parents are ...

Fairies in the Garden; A Magical Day Comes to Frelinghuysen Arboretum Sunday June 25th

May 24, 2017

MORRISTOWN, NJ.  - Fairy Day is a day for fairies, magic, and wishes to come true. On this magical day, the young and young-at-heart embrace the possibilities of the unknown, and believe in fairies. For centuries, fairies have been an important part of culture and legend, and in all of the ancient legends, these mythological creatures are described as intelligent, mischievous, and magical.

The Civil War Invades Morristown; Experience Drills, Cannon Firings, Skirmishes, and Musket Shootings on June 10 & 11

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Cover your ears! The sound of the massive period cannon will amaze you. Step onto the battlefield and witness musket, artillery, and bayonet drills, daily mail call, and marching drills. Soldiers proudly play period instruments as they go into battle.

 ‘Civil War Weekend,’ a unique two-day event sponsored by the Second New Jersey Brigade and the Morris ...

Find Out How to Combat the Emerald Ash Borer and Other Invasive Tree Killers at Special Meeting in Morris Township; Thursday May 11

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Beetles and invasive species are attacking trees in our community. The Morris Township Environmental Commission will hold a special meeting on Thursday May 11 at 7pm in the Municipal Building, 50 Woodland Avenue,to discuss what homeowners need to know about The Emerald Ash Borer and other  invasive species. The beetle, approximately 1/2 inches long and 1/8 ...

Former Skinhead and Black Man Who Met With KKK to Speak at Pine Brook Jewish Center

May 4, 2017

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Pine Brook Jewish Center, with the support of OneMontville, presents a guided tour through the minds of those who want to hurt others because of their differences.

On Sunday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m., the PBJC will present a former racist skinhead, Arno Michaelis, and a race relations expert, Daryl Davis, who broke the rules of racism.

Arno Michaelis is a founding ...

Increasing Numbers Prompts New Location for CCM Graduation

May 23, 2017

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ – For the first time in its history, County College of Morris (CCM) will be holding its graduation ceremony off site  due to the enthusiastic response of students who wish to participate in the ceremony.  This year, the 48th Commencement Ceremony will take place at Mennen Sports Area on Friday May 26, 2017.

College officials changed the venue due ...

Lewis Morris Park Will Be Closed on Saturday May 20th

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Lewis Morris Park will be closed to the public on Saturday May 20 from sunrise to 6pm for a special event. The Morris County Park Commission has stated that the park will reopen to the public at 6pm

Morris Township Resident Recognized for Dedicated Service

MORRISTOWN, NJ - An Award of Recognition was presented to Josephine Ormsbee of Morris Township on May 9, 2017. Ormsbee was recognized for her dedicated service to senior citizens in the community.

The award was presented during  the 2nd annual Cissy Laureys Senior Volunteer Award Ceremony hosted by Morris County Clerk, Ann F. Grossi.

 

Local Business Team Brings Experience and Insight to Northern NJ Fishing and Hunting Scene

Wanaque, N.J. - May 24, 2017 - Local business owner Ken Niepokoy and his manager Timmy Peschl, make up the dynamic team at Northern N.J.’s top choice hunting and fishing shop, Tackle and Field. Tackle and Field went under new ownership back in 2013 when it was bought and rebranded by Niepokoy. Peschl, who worked for the previous owner, stayed on as a manager and the two became a forceful ...

Merchant of Venice Makes Memorable Opener at Shakespeare Theatre

MADISON, NJ – “The Merchant of Venice” has plenty to say about prejudice, suspision, money and cruelty.

Yet it has redeeming features as well, with Portia’s “quality of mercy” speech and Shylock’s insistence that Jews are individuals with feelings, thoughts and emotions as much as any other man or woman.  

Director Robert Cuccioli has gathered ...

The NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence and the NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board Respond to Increase in Domestic Violence Homicides

May 17, 2017

2015 proved to be particularly deadly to domestic violence victims.  According to the New Jersey State Police, there were 49 domestic violence homicides in New Jersey in 2015, an increase of 16%.  Earlier this month, the State Police released their annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Domestic Violence in New Jersey report, which documents the number of domestic violence incidents law ...

Ah-choo! – No antibiotics for you!

May 16, 2017

In a study of more than 180,000 people age 66 or older published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine, almost half (46%) of the people seen by their physicians for a cold, acute bronchitis, sinusitis, or laryngitis were given antibiotics even though none of these are caused by bacteria, which is the only thing antibiotics work on. The likelihood of an antibiotic prescription was ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, May 25, 12:00 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Summer Sing Season

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, May 27, 8:00 AM

Delaware National Recreation Area, Hardwick

NJ Audubon: Birding By Bike at Old MIne Road

Green

Narcotics, Thefts and Driving While Intoxicated Tops This Week's Police Blotter

May 24, 2017

 

MORRIS COUNTY PARK POLICE  BLOTTER 5-13 through 5-20, 2017

5/13: ARRESTS FOR POSSESSION OF NARCOTICS/DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED: Officers observed a motor-vehicle parked in an unauthorized area in Hedden County Park in Randolph. An investigation led to Mariana A. Posso, age 29, of Randolph, to be charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in a Motor-Vehicle, ...

Mother's Day 5K Run/Walk Welcomes More Than 1,300 Participants

May 24, 2017

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - On May 14, Sophie Thomsen, 17, of Morristown placed tenth in the 13-19 year old female category, with a time of 25:52.5 in the 16th Annual Mother's Day 5K Run/Walk at Memorial Field in Berkeley Heights. Along with Thomsen, the Summit Area YMCA welcomed a record-breaking 1,368 participants  After a full day of rain the previous day, the morning of the ...