The Five: The lives of the women society left to hands of Jack the Ripper

Review: Hallie Rubenhold does not idealise but exposes the hypocrisy at heart of story

Illustration shows the police discovering the body of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, probably Catherine Eddowes, London, England, late September 1888. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Illustration shows the police discovering the body of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, probably Catherine Eddowes, London, England, late September 1888. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Of the canonical five, the confirmed victims of Jack the Ripper, it may be Elizabeth Stride who was the least likely. But her trajectory differs little from the others.

A fresh-faced Swedish country girl gone to Gothenburg at 15 as a domestic servant, expelled from her work because she was pregnant, a descent through the institutions devoted to the fallen, the loss of her baby, the last option being the “street of many nymphs” , then traded to England carrying the syphilis that would ruin her mind in the dark streets of Spitalfields.

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