Secret Step author Ian Parson sets novel in footsteps of Jack the Ripper

Author Ian Parson in Gunthorpe Street, scene of first Whitechapel murder in 1888

Author Ian Parson in Gunthorpe Street, scene of first Whitechapel murder in 1888 - Credit: Archant

New author Ian Parson has used the upcoming 125th anniversary of Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel Murders to publish his first novel with its deathly background.

He links the 1888 killings to the London Blitz which also devastated the East End more than half-a-century later through three generations of the same family.

Ian, a 48-year-old horticultural specialist by day and Ripperologist by night, launched his book ‘A Secret Step’ at The White Heart pub in Whitechapel High Street last Thursday, just yards from Gunthorpe Street where prostitute Martha Tabram was murdered in August, 1888.

His novel begins with a 10-year-old on the streets of Whitechapel at the time the Ripper carnage.

It ends with his grandson born half-a-century later in the same house who is 10 years old at the outbreak of the Second World War.

“The fact that the Whitechapel Murders and the Blitz are only 53 years apart means many lifetimes will have spanned both historic eras,” Ian explains.

“It’s a rarely-considered link. Children born and growing up in the East End during these times only ever had two chances—live as best you can or die from malnutrition, disease or violence.”

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This story is told by the main character born in 1878 who survives to old age in 1940, from the horror of murder in the Victorian slums to the courage of his own grandson who joins the famous Dead End Kids carrying out daring rescues during the air raids.

‘A Secret Step’ is published by Copperjob Books at £12.

The Advertiser is running a special series of articles later this month marking the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel Murders.

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