Cover image for The Thames torso murders of Victorian London
The Thames torso murders of Victorian London
Gordon, R. Michael, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 247 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
Introduction to murder -- The road to serial murder. London's bloody history. Of torsos, torture and serial murder. The Rainham mystery of 1887. A rich environment for a serial killer -- The Ripper era. The Whitehall torso mystery of 1888. In the shadow of the Ripper. The torso murder of Elizabeth Jackson, 1889. The mystery of the Pinchin Street torso, 1889 -- A serial killer and a final torso. The serial killer up close. On the trail of a Victorian serial killer, George Chapman. The torso of Salamanca Place, 1902. A possible motive as a dark horse emerges, Wolff Levisohn -- Postscript of terror.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6535.G6 L65349 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Thames Torso Murders have been overshadowed by Jack the Ripper and his crimes, but were just as brutal and gruesome. They began in 1887 in London's East End, just north of the Thames River in Rainham, England. The killer took one victim that year, another in 1888, and two more in 1889. He resumed his crimes in 1902, taking his last victim south of the Thames and leaving her body in a pile of dismembered parts as he had done with most of his other victims. This work delves deep into the case of the Thames Torso Murders. It begins with a look at London in the late 1800s, a time of great confusion and tremendous population increase, and the killer's path to London, which seems to include a murder in Paris in 1886. The book then examines in great detail each murder and the investigation that may have been hindered by the search for Jack the Ripper. It also raises the idea that Jack the Ripper and the Torso Murderer may have been the same man--Severin Klosowski, better known as George Chapman, the Borough Poisoner. It ends with an examination of Serial Killers; the Ripper, Torso, and Borough Poisoner murder cases; the search for clues to the serial killer responsible for the five Thames Torso murders; and Wolff Levisohn, a dark horse who seems to have known much about all three sets of murders, testified at Chapman's murder trial, and then faded away as Chapman was sent to the gallows.

Author Notes

R. Michael Gordon is also the author of Alias Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects. He lives in Long Beach, California

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction to Murderp. 1
Section I The Road to Serial Murder
Chapter 1. London's Bloody Historyp. 5
Chapter 2. Of Torsos, Torture and Serial Murderp. 20
Chapter 3. The Rainham Mystery of 1887p. 33
Chapter 4. A Rich Environment for a Serial Killerp. 47
Section II The Ripper Era
Chapter 5. The Whitehall Torso Mystery of 1888p. 63
Chapter 6. In the Shadow of the Ripperp. 86
Chapter 7. The Torso Murder of Elizabeth Jackson--1889p. 122
Chapter 8. The Mystery of the Pinchin Street Torso--1889p. 141
Section III A Serial Killer and a Final Torso
Chapter 9. The Serial Killer Up Closep. 165
Chapter 10. On the Trail of a Victorian Serial Killer--George Chapmanp. 176
Chapter 11. The Torso of Salamanca Place, 1902p. 201
Chapter 12. A Possible Motive as a Dark Horse Emerges--Wolff Levisohnp. 212
Postscript of Terrorp. 224
Appendix 1 Table: Victims of the Thames Torso Killerp. 229
Appendix 2 Chronology of Deathp. 231
Appendix 3 The Ripper Letterp. 234
Appendix 4 Note by Chief Inspector Frederick George Abberlinep. 235
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 243