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

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Christopher Shine Baseball

The South Plainfield High School baseball team is off to an outstanding start to their 2017 season with a record of 8-3. This past week, the Tigers finished 3-1 splitting with division rival North Brunswick, and beating top notch North Hunterdon and the #9 team in the State of New Jersey Milburn. A huge part of the success the Tigers had this week, let alone the season, has been the consistent ...

Obituaries

John Robert Drake, 78, of South Plainfield, passed away peacefully on April 22, 2017 at ...
Read more
Joan Jaghab, 65, passed away on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Roemello Monroe of South Plainfield Presents Research at Higher Education Council of Berks County's Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference

April 24, 2017

READING, PA -- Roemello Monroe, an Albright College junior business administration major from South Plainfield, N.J., presented research at the Higher Education Council of Berks County's 18th annual Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference, held at Penn State Berks on April 22.

Monroe presented "Waste Management on Albright's Campus: An Analysis using the lens of ...

Community Happenings

South Plainfield Soccer Association Fundraiser Dinner at the Elks

April 22, 2017

Bring your appetite and come out to support the South Plainfield Soccer Association on Saturday, May 20th, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Elks located at 1254 New Market Avenue for a PASTA Dinner.

Meatballs, Sausage, Garlic Bread Salad, Dessert and PASTA!!  Adults $10.00, Seniors $8.00, Kids ages 5 to 12 $5.00 and kids under 5 eat FREE!  Veterans eat FREE with their ID, Courtesy ...

South Plainfield Mayor’s Wellness Health and Safety Fair

April 16, 2017

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, The Mayor’s Wellness Committee, in conjunction with JFK Health will sponsor South Plainfield Mayor’s Wellness Committee’s Health and Safety Fair.  The event will take place at the South Plainfield Senior Center from 10am to 2pm.

 

The health fair will include nurses, specialists, and educational information.  Screenings will ...

Middle School Music Students Play at Somerset Patriots’ Game

April 27, 2017

It was a beautiful spring evening and all one could hear was the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and the sound of a finely tuned band and chorus as the South Plainfield Middle School Music Department performed the opening night of baseball at the Somerset Patriots vs. Landcaster Barnstormers baseball game April 21.  The concert band played the National Anthem and the chorus ...

Suburban Woman's Club of South Plainfield Annual Fashion Show

April 21, 2017

The Suburban Woman's Club of South Plainfield held their annual Luncheon/Fashion Show on April 2 to a sold out audience.  The show was held at the South Plainfield Senior Center and included basket/gift raffles and 50/50. The luncheon was sponsored by Home Town Heros and McCriskin-Gustafson Home for Funerals.  The successful event will benefit the New Jersey State Federation of ...

South Plainfield Police: "Residents Lock Your Car Doors"

The South Plainfield Police Department would like to remind residents to lock their motor vehicles at all times.  There has been several thefts from motor vehicles in the areas between Plainfield Ave and Kenyon Ave recently.  The actor(s) have entered unlocked vehicles during overnight hours to commit thefts.  Please do not leave valuables in plain view inside your vehicle.  ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_48ff4f4c0c47baa91ec9_softball

Mon, May 1, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Are you Ready for Some Softball

Carousel_image_9a8887b954caccd57f21_novak_2016_photo

Thu, May 4, 7:00 PM

South Plainfield

Free Home Organizing Advice Offered at the South ...

Carousel_image_a2b8d38e2e105724b588_designer_bingo_flyer

Fri, May 5, 7:15 PM

Our Lady of Fatima Gym, Piscataway

Designer Bag Bingo

Sat, May 6, 9:00 AM

American Legion Post 119, Dunellen

SPRING OUTDOOR FLEA MARKET & CRAFT SHOW

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_dae699b2639e58a896a5_novak_2016_photo

Sat, May 6, 1:00 PM

South Plainfield

Free Home Organizing Advice Offered at the South ...

Carousel_image_ef432c5520aacfebfa53_julius_caesar-page-001

Sat, May 6, 7:00 PM

South Plainfield

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Columns

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg (Random House, 2016)

 

What happens to us when we die? Does everything stop and our bodies just turn to dust? Or do our souls continue to exist in some ethereal form? Are we able to see what happens to our loved ones; are we reunited with those who have gone before us? This is just one of several intriguing themes that the delightful Fannie ...

Explorer the World of Cruising

In recent years the number of people choosing a cruise for their vacation has risen dramatically, and this trend is expected to continue. But the maze of ships can be overwhelming as there are cruises to just about every place on this planet. You can travel the American Rivers on steamboats discovering the history and culture of the Mississippi River or the Columbia River or the Islands off of ...

bookmarks

Come join us at the library for Monday Night Movies!  On April 24 at 6:30 PM, we will be showing an Academy Award nominated movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae.  Based on a true story, this movie follows Katherine Johnson (Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Monae) through some of their important contributions to NASA in the 1960s.  ...

Press Releases

South Plainfield Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week a Big Success

April 27, 2017

During the week of April 15-22, South Plainfield citizens came together to shake off winter and welcome spring.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of the New Jersey Clean Communities Act.  South Plainfield has received a grant every year to fund the many aspects of the Borough’s litter prevention programs.  Volunteer Litter Cleanup Week is a signature event in South ...