posted on November 19, 2014 by Sherrel Lee

A Peek Behind the Scenes

whitechapelThe Secret of Whitechapel
A Jack the Ripper Story

Jack the Ripper was the first serial killer to capture the interest of people around the world.  The news stirred the public with speculation, tales of horror, and taunts though letters to the police, news editors, and even a citizens who spoke out as though he had some knowledge of the criminal.

The police were hampered by the destruction of the crime scenes, the lack of forensics, and their own inability to determine why these women were killed.  What made the killer escalate with rage as he murdered his prey?  Was there a personal reason Mary Kelly was mutilated as she was?  The Secret of Whitechapel gives you a look at some the possible answers to these questions.

Meet Rowena Radcliffe, doctor and rebel of Victorian society, and Garret de Grey, the man she doesn’t want to love.  They gather the clues to the horrifying events that occurred on Victorian England’s streets, and find the killer. They want to discover the answers to all the questions and Garret wants Rowena back.

Some research had to be done to write the story.  This included the dress of the period, some of the fascinating facts, fingerprints had only been used in China as proof payroll had been paid but some police were beginning to look for them at crime scenes.  The crime scene couldn’t be secured because often the people who found the crime had to leave or wait for someone else to come along to run tell the police.  In the meantime any number of people might stop by for a look, trample the ground, poke at the body and even the police removed evidence, such as writing on the wall at one scene to avoid a public outcry against some of the local citizens.

I tried to bring some realistic information into the story as background and this includes some of the real people who existed at this time, the clothing, transportation, and manners of the characters.  Most names are true to history, but a few were used just because I like the way they sounded.  I don’t believe a Lord Albany of that time would have been the correct age for my character so don’t get upset if you find my Albany and the one from history don’t quite match up.

Here are a couple of things I researched and used in the story.  There is much more.

Rowena RadcliffeRowena Radcliffe, the heroine of Secret of Whitechapel, is a woman of the Victorian era who after suffering the foolishness of the doctors, all men of her time, traveled to the United States and met this woman, Elizabeth Blackwell, and earned her degree as a medical doctor at the school Ms. Blackwell had opened after the Civil War.

As a side note, Elizabeth Blackwell was rejected by 19+ medical schools but was finally accepted by Geneva Medical College in NY. She graduated on January 23, 1849 to become the first female doctor in history.

dressThe pictured dress is French but the style would have been copied by the ladies in England at the time.  The clothing style of this time was made to cover every inch and was heavy to wear – not only the weight of the material but all the required undergarments as well.  I can imagine Rowena sweeping down the streets of Whitechapel in pursuit of the killer, in just such a dress, with a bag of medical supplies and instruments clasped in her hand instead of a purse.

The Secret of Whitechapel is available at Amazon. Pick up your copy today.

Sherrel Lee

Sherrel Lee

Sherrel Lee lives in a land called Texas and is the wrangler of a fearsome Yorkiepoo named Rogue Little Woof (Half Yorkie half Poodle weighing in at a hefty eight pounds). She is a mother and grandmother who encourages her family to live life on their own terms, and to laugh as often as they can.

She is fascinated with the real and mystical worlds of Urban Fantasy and Romantic suspense chasing murderous villains through the pages of her books. Sherrel loves to hear from her readers and welcomes you to send comments and questions to her email address

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