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Book Review: "The Jigsaw Murders" by Jeremy Craddock

2.5/5 - dry writing, strange ratios but somewhat enjoyable...

By Annie KapurPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
From: Amazon

This happens to be one of the strangest books I have read this year so far. I have had it for a while and I have only just read it. The reason for this is because I had so much other stuff to read and honestly, I didn't know I wanted to read about a doctor who went around doing murder since that time a few years' back when I decided to read about Harold Shipman for some unknown reason.

Most of the time, true crime in book form annoys or bores me unless it is written well. For example: I'm not all a big fan of those serial killer books that cover tons of them like some sort of 'Ripley's Believe it or Not' but the book 'Under the Banner of Heaven' by Jon Krakauer is absolutely brilliant. The writing is awesome and the story is told with such research and interest, you almost forget that the author was not actually there themselves.

This book entitled The Jigsaw Murders is somewhere in the middle - neither very well written, but good enough, nor that interesting at all but I still read it all with some level of interest. I'm not overjoyed, but I'm also not underwhelmed. Strange, but forgettable - let's investigate.

Just a quick note to the author here: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde comparisons are all over the place. I think we get it after the quotation at the beginning of the text. You don't have to keep doing it. It goes stale and cliché after a while.

From: Manchester Metropolitan

I had already heard about the Ruxton killings but not in this much detail and I definitely did not know the man was originally Indian. He was a doctor who moved to England and decided to not only carry out killings but to mutilate the victims beyond recognition so that it would not come back to anyone he knew. However, with the 'birth of modern forensics' (as the title in full suggests), that was not necessarily the case and Ruxton was found, tried, failed at an appeal and then, in 1936 he was hanged. Let's take a look at the good and bad things about this novel and why though it may be a somewhat interesting book, it falls short of actually being enthralling.

First of all is a disadvantage of the text - there is far too much about the background of Ruxton in the book. Nor I, nor anyone else reading this book really cares about his backstory. Instead, what I would have liked to know is why there is a line about how entitled he was in there. The author never really expands on this apart from going through the fact he was rich, but that doesn't explain the anger he felt at not being treated as he felt he deserved. Also, I would have liked to know more about the maid, more about the history of his family - none of this is covered and yet, there are so many other people to write a narrative of. I'm not saying don't tell his story - I am just saying there's so much of it that it gets really boring after a while. The writing style being dry does not make it any easier to read.

Another disadvantage is that there is so much backstory that you actually forget about the book you are reading. I'm ashamed to say it because normally I like backstory, but this time it just was not compelling enough. We don't actually get on to Ruxton's murderous intentions until around Part 3: Hyde. Until then, it is a mish-mash between telling us about people of old, the forensic scientist in increasing detail and the backstory of our criminal which is more than yawn-worthy.

However, a good thing about this book is that it tells the story in some order of impact. The forensics were actually quite interesting, with the court cases being tense and incredible to imagine. However, the dry writing style again, lets it down. It makes the whole ordeal seem just a bit sad rather than actually mind-blowingly changing for the landscape of law and science which is what it was.

All in all, I think that this book was a good attempt at true crime but would have worked better if it was in better ratio. I feel like the author did not really know what was happening with the structure and apart from the forensics, it was a bit all over the place.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

200K+ Reads on Vocal.

English Lecturer

🎓Literature & Writing (B.A)

🎓Film & Writing (M.A)

🎓Secondary English Education (PgDipEd) (QTS)

📍Birmingham, UK

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