Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed
by Patricia Cornwell, a sloppy, insulting, character assassination of artist Walter Sickert written by a raging egomaniac. Just what is wrong with this book? Lets see....
* Patricia Cornwell is not a historian, detective, art expert, or even a forensic scientist (she worked in the office of a Chief Medical Examiner as a technical writer and computer analyst), yet seems to believe she's an expert on everything.
* Cornwell ignoring evidence from several sources that puts Sickert in Paris during the Ripper murders.
* Cornwell stating as fact that Sickert's manhood was mangled by a fistula, therefore was impotent and childless. There is plenty of evidence that Sickert's manhood was in fine working order and he possibly fathered several illegitimate children.
* Cornwell whines about there were no blood tests or blood spatter analysis done for a murder victim in 1888. (1) The fact that human blood has different types wasn't discovered until 1901. (2) Tests to distinguish human blood from animal blood didn't come around until 1901. (3) The earliest reference of blood spatter analysis was written in 1894, and the meaning of blood spatter patterns wasn't studied until 1939.
* Jean Overton Fuller wrote a book about Sickert being Jack the Ripper back in 1990. The theory was debunked back then too.
* Cornwell laughably claims that Sickert wrote *all* of the Ripper letters (around 600!) while disguising his handwriting spelling on some of them and has DNA evidence on one of them. Ripperologists consider all the letters to be hoaxes and her so-called is mitochondrial DNA. Even if Cornwell did manage to get rock-solid DNA evidence, it would only prove that Sickert wrote a hoax letter.
* The book is sloppy and badly written. Cornwell can't seem to a train of thought for more than two pages before changing the subject.
I could go on and on, but read Caleb Carr's skewering in The New York Times
or Stephen P. Ryder's problems with the Cornwell's conclusions on Casebook.org
The only thing this book proves is that Patricia Cornwell is full of herself. Case Closed.