Ripperologist JON REES picks six legendary battles between Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper!
Sherlock Holmes made his debut in The Strand magazine the year before the Ripper killings and is the quintessential Victorian detective. While the Ripper murders were taking place, Holmes was investigating the case of The Sign of the Four and the Silver Blaze disappearance. While the Holmes canon has no mention of the Ripper crimes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was asked to theorise on the murders (theorising it was a woman, possibly a midwife, or someone disguised as either) and Holmes has come face to face with Jack many times in non canonical works.
Here are some of the times Holmes has gone toe-to-toe with the Whitechapel Murderer:
1. A Study in Terror
1960’s thriller where Holmes investigates the Ripper murders, chasing the case to its roots in the British aristocracy. Novel for a Ripper film in that it is not based on any particular theory (other than it was someone in the aristocracy), but completely ignores many facts and details preferring to make up its own.
2. Murder by Decree
Probably the best Sherlock Holmes/Jack the Ripper crossover, it is grim and runs close to being a horror. Yes, it’s the “Masons done it” theory, but it still has buckets of charm and character and a very likeable Holmes and Watson.
3. Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper (game)
The fifth instalment in a series of point and click Sherlock Holmes adventure games, allowing you to play as both Holmes and Watson at various times, examine the crime scenes for evidence and assemble folders of evidence at 221b Baker Street. Unfortunately, it also suffers from the annoyance of making you run errands for the police or other characters in order to get them to speak to you or help you find clues.
4. The Last Sherlock Holmes Story
A pretty standard non-canonical Holmes novel where the detective believes the Ripper to be his nemesis Professor James Moriarty. The novel ends on a “clever twist”, which you can probably work out quite easily from the title.
5. Dust and Shadow
Another Holmes vs. Ripper novel, but this one has the blessing of the Conan Doyle estate. Narrated from Watson’s point of view (as you’d expect of a true Holmes story), it is most often praised for getting the Watson’s voice and narrative style true to the canon.
6. Holmes and the Ripper (audio play)
Full cast audio drama from Big Finish (most noted for their Doctor Who range) pits Holmes against the Ripper. It features some superb voice acting, tense moments and is very effective at evoking 1888 London. However, the plot does get a little convoluted at times and it does tread down familiar paths of conspiracy and Masonic plots.