Softcover, 154pp. ISBN: 1-905277-05-9
If you've been at all active in the "Ripper community" over the past several years, you're probably well aware of the work of researcher Chris Scott. His tireless efforts at unearthing and transcribing press reports, census records and other genealogical information related to the case has featured prominently in the recent literature. Will the Real Mary Kelly is his first published book (he previously released a book-length work in electronic format only) and here he brings together all his research and findings concerning the life, loves and background of Ripper victim Mary Jane Kelly.
Mary Kelly is undoubtedly the most mysterious of all the Ripper victims. What little we know of her comes mostly from the testimony of her live-in lover, Joseph Barnett, and from a few snippets here and there from people who knew (or claimed to know) her in the years before her death. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know how much of this information is actually accurate. For that reason, no researcher has yet been able to positively identify Mary Jane Kelly.
Scott spends quite some time covering Mary's background, skillfully reviewing the evidence given in police interviews, press reports and inquest testimony. Using these details he offers a few possible identifications, finding the most likely candidate to be a Mary Ann Kelly who had ties to both Carnarvon and Flint. He admits, however, that this is only one of many possible identifications, and far from conclusive.
In other chapters, Scott reviews the numerous myths and mysteries surrounding the Kelly case? What happened to the key? What was burned in the fireplace that night? Did Kelly have a child, and was she pregnant at the time of her death? Each of these items is carefully examined and interpreted. Although he offers answers to some of these questions, Scott isn't afraid to admit in several places that there's just not enough information to go on.
Although a relatively short book and a quick read, this book is chock-full of important information, much of it never previously published. Really, what we have here is a new sort of book - one that is marketed strictly to the experienced Ripperologist. There is no general overview of the case, or even much mention made of the other victims. The author presupposes that the reader has this knowledge already. This sort of book is a welcome change and I can only hope more works of this sort are on their way. Without question Will the Real Mary Kelly will become a "must-have" resource for any serious Ripperologist.