Privately published, 2004
There are literally hundreds of suspects in the Jack the Ripper case, and Mr. C.J. Morley has taken it upon himself to collect his thoughts on 130 of them in his self-published work Jack the Ripper: Eliminating the Suspects. Morley's research and dedication to the study are evident, though it must be said that the book suffers immensely from a lack of proper editing. Spelling mistakes, sentence-fragments and errors of grammar run rampant throughout the text. This is usually to be expected from a private publication, but in this case the errors are so frequent that it severely interrupts the flow of the book, making it very difficult for the reader to properly concentrate on the actual content of the text.
All of this is unfortunate, because there is truly a great deal of value in what Mr. Morley has to say. He offers short overviews of each suspect, ranging from a few sentences to several paragraphs, summarizing the general case against each and often offering his own views and analyses. It is obvious that the author has kept abreast of the latest discoveries, as he includes many little-known suspects which have been mentioned only in periodicals and on the Internet. Morley himself subscribes to no particular suspect - though he does seem most interested in the candidacies of William Henry Bury and Jacob Levy.
In the end, Eliminating the Suspects has more the feel of an investigator's notebook than of an actual, published book. There is a great deal of useful information contained within, but since it contains no page numbers and no index, and since the suspects are not presented in any chronological or alphabetical order, it would be very difficult to use this as a research or quick-reference tool. Still, if you can muster through the various editorial shortcomings, it makes for an interesting read, and the most comprehensive suspect-overview yet published. (Several of these characters are not even covered in the A-Z.)
As of the time of writing this review, I've been told by the author that some revisions have been made to the text, with several "errors corrected". Some suspects have also now been expanded upon. I've not seen this new version, but would hope that this latest revision includes at least some editorial corrections.
The book itself is printed on A4 paper (one-side only), and bound in a handsome red cardstock. It is limited to 50 copies only, and each is numbered and signed by the author. In a post-script, Mr. Morley mentions that he has been an avid researcher of the case since 1979, and that he intends to begin work on his second Ripper book in the summer of 2004.
The small print-run will no doubt make this a highly sought-after collector's item. Mr. Morley has requested that anyone interested in ordering Jack the Ripper: Eliminating the Evidence contact him at his private email address: CJM196420032002@yahoo.co.uk.