Of Thimble and Threat: The Life of a Ripper Victim is a novel of historical fiction inspired by the life of Catherine Eddowes, a woman believed to be the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper. The story provides a glimpse into a time when the industrial revolution had created not only prosperity, but also unimaginable suffering in what was the greatest city in the richest country in the world. The impoverished, and especially poor, single, middle-aged women were considered by many to have little worth. The murders of four women in the autumn of 1888 was only a symptom of the social ills in London.
The police report listed over fifty personal items found on Catherine Eddowes at the time of her death. Because she had spent the two nights before her death in the casual ward—an outdoor part of the workhouse system for the transient, the ill, or those known to be criminals to receive temporary, rudimentary shelter—she was likely sleeping with everything she owned on her person.
The story begins when the character, Katie, is thirteen years old, and acquires the first item on that police report list. Each chapter, Katie acquires one or more of the items in the list.
This is not the story of Jack the Ripper. If anything, the Whitechapel Murderer is merely a force of nature within the environment of the tale. It is the compelling story of a human life tragically cut short, one that would have been quickly forgotten if the manner of her death had been anything other than astounding.
“Of Thimble and Threat is a terrifically absorbing read. A mature novel and superbly researched. The image of silver in the blood was woven expertly and made the ending luminous and poignant.”
—Simon Clark, author of Vampyrrhic
“Of Thimble and Threat is the unexpected tale of an ordinary woman, told by an extraordinary writer.”
—Elizabeth Engstrom, author of Lizzie Borden and York’s Moon
“If you think Alan Clark’s art is darkly delightful, just wait until you read his twisted and fantastical tales. I promise it will make weird and wonderful pictures in your head. And isn’t that what we all really want?”
—Ann VanderMeer, editor of Weird Tales
“Alan Clark has one wicked sense of humor.”
—Elizabeth Massie, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Sineater
“We all know Alan Clark is one hell of an artist—in fact, one of the best the imaginative field has ever produced. Turns out he’s one hell of a writer, too. If that’s not a one-two punch that will knock you out I don’t know what is.”
—Al Sarrantonio, editor of 999 and Stories (with Neil Gaiman)
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