How TRC was written – Part 3

06/03/2012 at 5:00 pm (Current Affairs, Great Britain, History, Royalty, Russia, Tennis, The Ruthless Court, Writing) (, , , , , )


Mid-morning. Snowflakes are spinning gracefully down between the naked arms of the Winter Goddesses (trees to you). I sit at my computer desk mesmerised by this beautiful sight in January 2010. I’m in the middle, so to speak, of writing TRC and desperately hoping to have some chapters to send to Autumn for her editing and input. But the haunting Winter scene is distracting me.

But then it hits me. This is just the sort of weather the Russian terrorists in TRC would relish as cover to infiltrate the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) here in Wimbledon at night to hide their weapons for use on their planned day. My fingers begin to pound the computer keyboard. I’d like to say fly over it but that’s not the way I type, alas. Anyway, I’m only occasionally glancing out my window now at the snow for more inspiration.  And it comes in bucket loads. Three entire chapters full. They help to make up a good part of the tension filled confrontation between the terrorists’ leader and a senior MI5 officer.

And this inspiration also leads me to think that we should go on the guided tour of the AELTC grounds, though we have been spectators at The Championships a good few times and knew the place pretty well. So we go a few weeks later. And it pays off. Being almost alone in it (well 2 of only 15 people), we were able to survey the practice ground, Aorangi Park, and its surrounds, among other areas, at leisure, without our attention being taken away by other spectators or one famous tennis player or another! And our purposeful look round look provides more ideas. So I got back to our manuscript and jazz up the chapters I’d written about the infiltration and subsequent storming of the Centre Court.

A few months later and the novel is progressing well. And yet another Godsend comes our way: the shenanigans of forming the UK’s coalition government. Won’t say why or how, as that might spoil TRC for you when you read it, but I do mention these ten words, extrapolation, Rasputin, Tsarina Alexandra, Prince Albert Victor and fierce rivalry.

By the time the 2011 Wimbledon Championships come round TRC is almost ready for publishing. We are confident that our research, my work and life experience and Autumn’s knowledge of history and her journeys and time in Russia have all informed our writing well. We feel that we’ve creatively brought alive and intertwined on the pages of TRC the last Russian Imperial Court, Rasputin, Prince Albert Victor plus his journey on HMS Bacchante to Barbados at Christmas 1879, and present day Russia, London, Wimbledon tennis and Madagascar.  And we’re able to sit back, enjoy the tennis but also look out for any indications of how our scenes in the AELTC – hostage taking, for example – might or might not work in practice. We are pleased to see that, minus our characters and events, the general scenes at the tennis within which part of TRC takes place actually happen as we wrote.

So after the tennis is done for another year and we take some time and polish up our manuscript we go about the business of publishing our novel. And here it is for you to enjoy. One reader writing a review of TRC said, “great book, good story well told.” So don’t miss out.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Uncanniness of The Ruthless Court

11/08/2011 at 12:55 pm (Current Affairs, Great Britain, The Ruthless Court) (, , , , , , , , , , )


In The Ruthless Court, Steph Mallender, Director-General MI5, is summoned back from her holiday in her villa in Tuscany to attend a meeting of COBRA on how to deal with the mayhem at Wimbledon. This week the Prime Minister David Cameron has returned from his holiday in a villa in Tuscany to chair a meeting of COBRA on how to deal with the mayhem across the UK!

And this isn’t the first time life has imitated The Ruthless Court…

♛ ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛

Permalink Leave a Comment

Life Imitates Art on The Ruthless Courts of Wimbledon

01/07/2011 at 5:28 am (Books, Current Affairs, Great Britain, History, Royalty, Russia, Tennis, The Ruthless Court, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


The Ruthless Court is set at Wimbledon tennis and in Barbados, St Petersburg, wider London, Moscow and Madagascar. Read Chapter 1 free to see how our scene-setting matches up to this weekend at Wimbledon, with Djokovic, and a tall Russian woman in the Finals.

The Ruthless Court book cover

TITLE PAGE AND COPYRIGHT

The Ruthless Court

Autumn & Bonny St John

 This book is a work of fiction.  Names, characters and their dialogue, incidents and locations either are used fictitiously or are created by the authors from their imaginations.  Any similarity to living or dead people and their current or past dialogue, events and locations is entirely coincidental.

 Copyright © 2011

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the authors, except for the inclusion of  brief quotations in a review.

Chapter 1

“Let’s go rumble with little Miss Womble, Your Majesty!”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II involuntarily jerked her torso back as if avoiding an intended blow. She and the Lady Sophie Rycroft-Ross, Lady-in-Waiting, in startled unison exclaimed, “What!”

The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, frowned at Sir Richard Littlehyusen, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. They were in the hallway of the ladies changing rooms of the famous club. Sir Richard had a look close to horror on his face. His expression was out of place in the genteel surroundings. For security reasons, no one else was allowed to be in the area of the changing rooms at the same time as the Queen. Sir Richard had agreed that with her close protection team. He would therefore have some difficult explaining to do.

The voice they’d heard was that of a New York American but they couldn’t see him. The Queen’s chief close protection officer started walking determinedly and briskly in the direction the voice had come from. He unbuttoned his jacket, and briefly rested his hand on something out of sight at his right hip. Sir Richard trotted along behind the lanky, grey-haired man.

At that moment Catherine Verkhovnova and her coach Jack Petrovich came into the hallway. Jack, always unflappable and confident, immediately realised what had happened.  And the players and coaches had been advised by the club on the etiquette of addressing Her Majesty, if the occasion arose when they had to do so. She had been briefed about the players and coaches.

Jack smiled and with more of a nod than a bow said “Oh, sorry, Your Majesty, I was talking to Catherine here, the one and only Empress of Tennis!”

In spite of the lapse in security and protocol, everyone laughed, except Catherine.

“I am surprised, Mr Petrovich, that you’ve heard of our imaginary little friends, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common.  Do you have children?” the Queen asked with a broad smile.

“No Ma’am, but in the dark, endless Winters of St Petersburg you’ll do anything to pass the time. Even allowing yourself to be persuaded to watch old tapes of the BBC’s Wombles stories,” Jack replied.

Laughter all round again, but Catherine stood unsmiling and as still as if she were rooted to the spot. Jack looked at her. She was trembling slightly. The nineteen year old seemed overwhelmed by coming face to face with the Queen. Her large, bright green eyes were fixed on the authoritative but kind face of this Queen Elizabeth.

Does she know that I am her cousin? Catherine thought. Has she, like me, been told the true story of her great uncle, my great, great, grandfather?

The Queen’s expression revealed nothing. Nothing but her mastery of the diplomatic skill of remaining poker-faced when one’s thoughts had to be kept secret at all cost. She abruptly turned to Sir Richard and nodded.

Guided by him, she and her entourage set off to complete her look round the modern facilities of the club. She had intended to do this two years ago, but had overrun her schedule by talking to players and officials much longer than expected.

Exceptionally, she had returned for the Gentlemen’s Singles Finals this year. During the past year, she had been coaxed and encouraged to do so by her young friends Lady Sophie and her brother, Lord Gervase Rycroft-Ross.

And either by monarchical magic or divine coincidence, Britain at last had a man playing in the Wimbledon singles final for the first time since Bunny Austin more than seven decades ago. In addition, to the nation’s joyful amazement, Georgie Gent had reached the Ladies’ Singles Final, with consummate spotlight sharing timing. And to crown it all for her, she was playing today, Sunday, in front of the Queen. As tradition dictated, the Ladies’ Final had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but, in the early morning, Catherine Verkhovnova, Georgie’s opponent, had complained of a debilitating stomach upset. The Championships referee, GJ Gillem, had insisted that the tournament’s official doctor should verify that the world’s number one female player was indeed incapable of taking to the court.

Once her illness was confirmed, the Wimbledon Committee pragmatically, if highly unusually, swapped the Ladies’ Final and the Mixed Doubles Final, bringing forward the latter to Saturday from Sunday. They soothed disappointed and increasingly unruly spectators by offering them a partial refund, before the hallowed name of Centre Court could be brought into disrepute.

But the Mixed Doubles players threatened, in McEnroesque style, not to play, annoyed by the sudden change. However, GJ Gillem used his diplomatic wiles and negotiating skills, honed during several ambassadorial appointments, including Washington, to talk them into playing. It helped as well that he and his wife, the fabulous jazz singer Ann-Nicole Bauer, had been Wimbledon Mixed Doubles champions, so he shared camaraderie with the current players.

The nation was agog with anticipation. The television audience in the UK was expected to be the largest ever to watch a sporting event.

And now on this glorious Sunday, thirty thousand people were flooding onto Henman Hill, Court One and all the “outside” courts to watch the two finals on large television screens. Centre Court, the place where history would actually be played out, was packed.

Inside, Jack took Catherine’s elbow and gently but firmly pushed her along. They headed to the players’ waiting room. When they got there, Georgie hadn’t arrived yet. Hers was not a name known to most of the public; and many tennis fans only knew her as Laura Robson’s sometime doubles partner. But she had shocked everyone by beating Caroline Wozniacki in their semi-final, lasting six hours and fifty-two minutes, the longest match in the history of women’s tennis. And Jack referred to her as Miss Womble only as a way of helping Catherine to relax. It was obvious that Georgie was a skilled competitor. But to write her name in Wimbledon’s brightest history she would somehow have to overcome Catherine, who was undefeated all year.

For her male counterpart, Andy Murray, to join her in tennis immortality, he would have to beat a rampant Novak Djokovic in their final. John Lloyd, the wise, former Great Britain Davis Cup team captain, was confident that Murray would win, as the Scot had demolished Rafael Nadal in three sets in their semi-final.

And so the Wimbledon Committee, unaware of all the coincidences which made it happen, was very pleased that the Queen was attending the two matches of great sporting historic importance for Britain. During the silver jubilee year of her accession, 1977, she had watched from the Royal Box as Virginia Wade won the ladies trophy, the Venus Rosewater Dish. But, after so many, many years, for the two Britons to win on the same day, if they won, in front of her would surely be a great pleasure to her, the club’s patricians reasoned to themselves.

But just about then the long-reigning British monarch was thinking of 1959 and a lunch she had in Toronto, Canada, with the Grand Duchess Olga, who was her cousin and the younger sister of the late Tsar Nicholas II.

Olga, then seventy-seven years old, had told the young Queen an astonishing story about the latter’s great uncle, Prince Albert Victor. To all the world, he had died at Sandringham House, Norfolk, England, in 1892. But, in fact, he had lived long after that, mostly in Russia, where he had a deadly feud with Rasputin.

Like me, Olga would have instantly recognised that extraordinary girl as a descendant of Pyotr Asimov, the Queen thought. So she’s certainly part of the modern legacy of my great uncle, though I don’t know exactly how. Besides what I know, heaven knows what else Asimov got up to. And it was probably her and her advisers who wrote to me anonymously last year, the Queen surmised.  In any event, best for all if this particular past remains the past.

♛ ♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛♔ ♕ ♚ ♛

 This book has now been published as an eBook on Kindle (there’s a note below about Kindle books). But you don’t need a Kindle device to download and read it. Here’s a link which will take you to the free Kindle app (software/system) for PCs, Macs, iPads, iPods, iPhones, etc, which you can download: http://amzn.to/iCTErl.

And here are links to the book on Kindle: http://amzn.to/mx2X6f  (UK),  http://amzn.to/lkN7F0 (Europe),  http://amzn.to/kC0X3f  (Rest of the World). These should take you direct to the book’s location. If they don’t, you can go to Amazon.co.uk, search for The Ruthless Court and it will pop up. Hope you’ll take a look. If you decide to read it,  hope you do enjoy it–and don’t forget to tell your friends about it as well!

And if you don’t already know:

You can move within a Kindle book as easily as you can in a paper copy. The “GO” button on the menu bar lets you move to, among other places, the Table of Contents and to Page or Location. In addition, when you reopen a Kindle book it will open at the last page you were reading. A paper copy doesn’t do that. You either have to remember where you were or bookmark it!  A Kindle book also allows you to choose from three different page backgrounds: white, off-white (sepia) and black.

Permalink Leave a Comment

French Open 2011 Week 1: Nice Work, Double Agent Andy Murray

31/05/2011 at 10:28 am (Current Affairs, Great Britain, Russia, Tennis) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Roland Garros in the sunSo the first week of the 2011 French Open was interesting. Here’s what we got from it.

Star Attractions

Reigning women’s champion Francesca Schiavone and No. 3 men’s seed Roger Federer sailed through week 1 with relative ease, both winning their first 3 matches in straight sets. Just for the sake of gloating, Schiavone’s 1st round encounter with Melanie Oudin was as predictable as we, well, predicted, with the Italian player rushing through the match 6-2 6-0. As tennis blogger Craig Hickman said on Twitter, “It wasn’t as close as the scoreline”.

However, some of the other top players weren’t so lucky.

Everyone was keen to see Captain of Clay, Ruler of Roland Garros and World #1 Rafael Nadal make his first appearance in this year’s French Open. In round 1 he was up against all 6’9” of big serving American John Isner. The reigning champ took the 1st set 6-4 and everything seemed to be business as usual. But it all got a little odd when Isner took the Spaniard to a 2nd set tie-break and then had the audacity to win it. OK, so it was 1 set all. Rafa dropping a set on French clay is rare, but him losing a Roland Garros match is even rarer, so surely it was only a matter of time before he prevailed here. Apparently no one told Isner this, because the World #39 then went on to take the 3rd set to a tie-break as well—and he won that too. John Isner was 2 sets to 1 up on the five-time French Open champion and no one could quite believe what was happening. Nadal had never been taken to five sets at this slam before, but he’d have to go 5 to win the match. And that he did. After not making one single error in the 4th set, Nadal took control again in the 5th, finally winning the match 6-4 6-7 6-7 6-2 6-4. “For moments in the tie-break, I didn’t play very well. I was probably too nervous “, laughed the King of Clay afterwards.

On Thursday, Rafa looked like he was going to have another wobble against compatriot Pablo Andujar. The World #1 had taken the first 2 sets, but was 5-2 down in the 3rd. He then had to save about a thousand set points. Well ok, 8. The third set went to a tie-break in which Andujar completely messed up a drop shot to give Nadal two match points. Rafa only needed one. The Spanish player’s 3rd round match was a lot more straightforward; he beat the Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic in straight sets, taking well under two hours to do the deed.

Maria Sharapova had a proper Thursday wobble. She was a set and 4-1 down against 17 year old French girl Caroline Garcia but then won 11 consecutive games to win the match 3-6 6-4 6-0. Strangely, Garcia’s incredible losing streak of 11 games started happening right after Andy Murray tweeted that the #188 youngster is a future #1. Nice work double agent Murray; your Russian comrades salute you.

 Kim Clijsters’ Thursday was more than a wobble. In her second round match against the Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus, she threw away a match point, at 5-2 up. Rus got it back on serve to 5-4. The Belgian No. 2 seed had another match point during the 10th game of the set, but she blew that too, sending a shot wide. So it was 5-5 and Rus broke Kim, before holding her serve—with the help of Kim sending a shot wide on the Dutch girl’s game point—to take it to a third set. Rus really started causing shockwaves in this final set, striding to a 4-1 lead as part of a streak that saw her win 10 out of 11 games. At 5-1 up, Rus then wasted a match point herself. On Rus’ 2nd match point, the 20 year old hit a cross court winner to take victory  3-6 7-5 6-3. It’s not even as if Kim didn’t have her fair share of luck during the match. One of the Belgian’s shots hit the net, hit the net post and then gently did a short lob back into her opponent’s side of the court for a winner.

The thrills, spills and upsets continued on Friday. Women’s 2010 runner up Sam Stosur had made it through to the 3rd round, only to be unceremoniously dumped out by the unseeded Argentine Gisela Dulko.  On the same day, world #1 Caroline Wozniacki’s 3rd round was also going badly. Her opponent Daniela Hantuchova hit down-the-line winner after down-the-line winner and Caro made error after error with the net result being that the Slovak player caused a major upset by beating the Danish 20 year old, not just comfortably, but spectacularly—6-1 6-3. As match commentator Andrew Castle said of Wozniacki’s error ridden match, “That was one of the most inept performances that I’ve ever seen from a top seed in a grand slam”.

With both Wozniacki and Clijsters going out so early, it’s the first time in the Open era that the top two women’s seeds have exited a tournament before the 4th round.

Novak Djokovic has looked scarily determined all week and extended his flabbergasting unbeaten run to six months by playing tennis that was as authoritative as it was impressive in his 1st and 2nd rounds. In the 3rd round came the much anticipated match-up with the resurgent former U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro. In fact, we all had to anticipate it a little longer than expected, as for some reason the tournament schedulers put it as the last match of the day on Philippe Chartier court. Of course, the match before—Tsonga vs Wawrinka—went the full five sets, so Djoko vs Delpo was eventually moved to the Suzanne Lenglen court. Cue some big hitting and massive Del Potro forehands in the fading light. Djokovic took the first set, but then the big Argentine took the second. With no hope of completing a further 2 or 3 sets before the light ran out, the match was suspended until the following day, Saturday. The next day brought less drama, as the Serbian player saved 2 break points in the 3rd set and went on to break Del Potro, eventually taking the set 6-3. The next proved even easier for Djokovic. He won it 6-2, and so his winning run was extended.

Brits Abroad

Monday saw the great British-Russian showdown between Anne Keothavong and Vesna Dolonts. Out on the hinterlands of Court 7, there was little shade and nowhere to hide as Anne broke Dolonts in the 1st set, eventually winning the set 6-3. The Russian however, fought back in the 2nd set, breaking for 4-3, despite Anne having had 2 opportunities to take a 3-0 lead. But then Anne broke back to put the set back on serve. She sadly squandered a match point in this topsy-turvy set and was then broken again, with Volonts taking the 2nd set 7-5. In the decider,  Volonts broke Anne for a  3rd time and won the match 3-6 7-6 6-4. The match lasted a massive 3 hours and 20 minutes and proved to be battle more than worthy of both Britain and Russia.

Much later on the same day, Heather Watson’s opponent, experienced Frenchwoman Stephanie Foretz Gacon, broke her in the 1st set and was serving for the match at 5-4 but got tight and got broken back. However, she broke again for 6-5 and then once again failed to serve it out, leading to a tie-break, which gutsy Watson won 8-6 to take the 1st set 7-6. She’d saved 4 set points in total. After that,  Foretz Gacon just fell apart, as did her forehand. Here we were in the 2nd set with Heather leading 5-0. Was a British girl actually going to get a bagel at Roland Garros? Unfortunately not, as Heather failed to grab the match point on her serve and Steph won her 1st game of the set to take it to 5-1. Heather, however, didn’t waste any more time and broke the world #140 in the next game to win the match. Heather herself has moved into the top 100 on the back of that victory.

On Tuesday Elena Baltacha and Andy Murray played their 1st round matches. Andy Murray won 6-4 6-1 6-3 but was seemingly unhappy with the way he played. There were quite a few unforced errors and he did get broken twice during the course of the match. Andy loves a drop shot, but sometimes they don’t love him back. Baltacha beat American qualifier and Twitter addict Sloane Stephens 7-5 6-2.

In the 2nd round, Muzza, Bally and Watso all played on the same day. Playing against Simone Bolelli, Murray saved 5 break points in his 1st two service games, but the 6th break point–the 4th of his 2nd service game—was one too many and the Brit got broken. He broke back towards the end of the set. He got another break and had 2 set points at 6-5. Bolelli saved  them and it went to a tie-break. For the most part, Simone made error after error, leading to Murray winning the tie-break and the set with a beautiful passing shot. Murray won the 2nd set 6-4, but got broken once so had to break twice. Andy got broken yet again in the 3rd set and all of a sudden Bolelli was 5-3 up—like in the 1st set, he would serve for the set. But would he choke it away this time? Yes. Yes, he would again fail to serve it out. Murray was again out of jail and on the loose. He eventually won the match by taking the set 7-5. Andy really needs to improve his serve before the potential match-up with Rafa in the semi-finals.

Baltacha was broken in her 1st game against her opponent Vania King, but got it back on serve, broke Vania again and won the set 6-4. But then Vania won the 2nd set 6-1. Elena lost 6-4 in the final set. Heather was beaten by a respectable scoreline of 6-1 6-3 by #16 seed Kaia Kanepi, although it took the Estonian two match points to finish the Guernsey girl off.

So by the 3rd round, Murray was the last Brit standing. He played the German surprise package Michael Berrer. With the Brit winning the first set, things seemed to be going to plan until, 2-1 up in the 2nd set,  Murray turned his ankle and collapsed whilst hitting a forehand winner. After treatment, he was able to carry on and somehow won the match due to a combination of Berrer not quite knowing how to play an injured player and Murray himself knowing exactly what to do to win points quickly and get himself out of there.

Homeboys and Homegirls

And what of the home crowd’s French heroes and heroines?

As we also predicted,  the Aravane Rezai/Irina-Camelia Begu match was interesting—so interesting that the breakthrough Romanian did indeed defeat the French crowd’s struggling home favourite, 6-3 6-3.

Another home favourite looked to be in trouble later on the same day, as Gael Monfils, the world no. 9, lost his first set of the tournament to veteran German and world no #145 and Bjorn Phau. The Monf bit back in the 2nd set, taking it 6-3. The third set also went the Frenchman’s way, 7-5. By the 4th set, Monfils had had enough of this nonsense and bagelled his opponent to take the victory 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-0. Not content with one fourth-setter, Monfils then went on to drop a set in his 2nd round match as well, against compatriot Guillaume Rufin. Again the top ten player managed to pull off a victory, winning  6-3 1-6 6-1 6-3. Monfils’ 3rd round match was at last a straightforward one as he beat Belgian Steve Darcis in straight sets.

The surprise Frenchman of the Week Award goes to Stephane Robert. World no. 6 Tomas Berdych took a two sets lead against the home underdog, but then lost the 3rd set and lost the 4th as well. The long fifth and deciding set drew the match out to 3 hours and 23 minutes in total, with the marathon eventually being won by Robert 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-2 9-7. When the score was shown on Chartier,  a cheer of appreciation rippled around the home crowd like the delicate waves on the Seine. It was the 31year old world #140‘s greatest victory—his first on the clay of Roland Garros. He was promptly beaten in the next round by Italian Fabio Fognini, winning only 3 games in the entire match.

Any other business

It seemed like Thursday was the day of upsets, because as well as Kim losing to Rus and Nadal and Maria looking shaky, top 30 player Marcos Baghdatis was beaten by world no. 217 Leonardo Mayer and the 28th seed, the Russian Nikolay Davydenko, was beaten by the aforementioned Veic.

The still popular but still erratic Ana Ivanovic lost in the 1st round. It’s hard to remember she’s a former world no. 1 and the 2008 French Open Champion, as since injury in 2009 her results have been just short of woeful for long stretches at a time. The recurrence of a January abdominal injury during a Fed Cup match last month probably didn’t help the Serb’s preparation for this slam.

On Saturday, Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder retired from the sport. This was hardly surprising as every now and then, for the past 5 years, I’ll look at the draw for a women’s tournament, see her name and think, ‘Is she still playing??’  Never again will I have that experience. Never again.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Jack the Ripper—Not Prince Albert Victor?

18/05/2011 at 8:47 pm (Books, Current Affairs, Great Britain, History, Royalty) (, , , , , , )


The story of ‘Jack’ the Ripper is one of the most simultaneously gripping and chilling of all time. A serial killer who was never caught, this individual brutally murdered a number of prostitutes in Whitechapel, London during 1888. Ever since then, rumours, suppositions and theories have claimed that the mysterious Ripper was a surgeon, a woman, even a member of the Royal Family—that member namely being Prince Albert Victor, the tragic grandson of Queen Victoria. In The Ruthless Court, the Prince fakes his own death and flees to Russia in order to win the heart of his beloved Alix of Hesse, known by that time as Alexandra Feodorovna—the last Tsarina. Our ripping yarn of course addresses the Ripper theories about the Prince, but not in the way you might expect.

So imagine how our interest  was piqued by the news that Ripperologist Trevor Marriott believes he now knows who ‘Jack’ was— it’s not Albert, but merchant seaman Carl Feigenbaum. Marriott has already written two books on the Ripper—Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation and The Evil Within—and now wants to develop and write about his latest theory. Hence his attempts to have Scotland Yard Special Branch (now known as Counter Terrorism) release hitherto top-secret documents on the original investigation into the murders. The Yard is so far refusing to make public the ledgers, as the files contain the names of informants and supergrasses—which is of course confidential information and understandably so but, as Marriott points out, five generations have passed since the killings and everyone involved in the investigation is long gone.

However, if the Ripper actually was Prince Albert Victor, that would of course explain the authorities’ reluctance to reveal what they’ve known all this time…

Marriott took his request for access to the ledgers to a tribunal, the outcome of which is expected in three weeks’ time. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or subscribe to this blog to keep updated on this fascinating story.

Who do you believe Jack the Ripper was? Let us know in the comments below!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »