Month: April 2017

Ructions At Downing Street

Number Ten Downing Street, Theresa May’s private office.

The Prime Minister sits at her desk, a fretful expression upon her pallid features and a crumpled pile of food wrappers from Greggs strewn before her. Her chin is abundant with flaky pastry and bits of sausage. There is a knock at the door. Hastily sweeping the greasy refuse into her top drawer and wiping her mouth on a tailored sleeve, she bids her visitor to enter.

The Right Honourable Jeremy Heywood pokes a troubled face around the door.

“Ah, Cabinet Secretary, do come in!” May offers him her warmest of smiles, which puts him in mind of a vampire on the verge of attack. “Are you quite alright? You look rather unwell. I suppose it is rather chilly for the time of year. Throw some more socialists on the fire, why don’t you.”

“I shall be sure to do that, Prime Minister,” Heywood replies. “But I fear that even burning socialists will not be enough to assuage the calamity of the news I have just this moment received.”

“Oh, bugger, it’s not bloody Boris again is it?” huffs May. “That’s the absolute limit – we shall have to amputate everything below the waist. It’s the only way.”

“No, Prime Minister, it isn’t Boris. This time.”

“Not Farage? He hasn’t changed his mind about standing in the general election, has he?”

“Thankfully not, Prime Minister.” Heywood takes a deep breath and sits himself down opposite May. “I’m afraid that there is a rather momentous event taking place in June.”

“Well, yes, obviously I know all about that,” May replies with her trademark unearthly cackle. “The general election was my most brilliant idea! I shall increase my stranglehold on the country ten-fold and crush my opponents beneath my eye-wateringly expensive kitten heel. I shall drink the sweet, sweet blood of victory and…”

“I would keep comments about blood drinking to a minimum if I were you, Prime Minister,” Heywood advises. “But the event to which I am referring is more momentous than even the general election. It is, perhaps, the most significant event of 2017 and it threatens to eclipse the endeavours of Parliament completely.”

A wheeze of sharply drawn breath echoes round the room and May lifts a trembling hand to her lips.

“You don’t mean..?”

“I’m afraid so, Prime Minister. Lucy Brazier is releasing her next PorterGirl novel, The Vanishing Lord, in June and there is a very real chance that the people of Great Britain will be so overcome with excitement that they might forget to go out and vote completely, leaving us in a very precarious position. Worse, they might even vote for Brazier instead.”

“This is unprecedented,” croaks May, her voice barely above a whisper. “What can be done?”

“Our only hope is to persuade her to delay the novel’s release until after the general election,” replies Heywood. “It’s our only chance of preventing complete and total anarchy.”

“Then that is what we must do,” nods May, brow knotted and knuckles white. “Do it. Do whatever it takes.”

Heywood rises to his feet, filled with renewed vigour and resolve at this most critical of tasks.

“Yes, Prime Minister.”

Medieval Rumpy-Pumpy… The Video

The chapter from which this excerpt originates is titled ‘Humphrey To The Rescue’, but regular readers will recognise it from previous post, Medieval Rumpy-Pumpy. This isn’t the whole chapter, as I know you are really only interested in the filthy bits. You naughty, naughty readers, you.

PorterGirl – The Vanishing Lord

Humphrey To The Rescue

Wearing a disguise hastily thrown together from the contents of the College lost property box, Deputy Head Porter and sidekick Hugh from the Unlikely Law Association are searching the rival Hawkins College for a suspicious character. Unfortunately, during their endeavours they are mistaken for visiting lecturers and Deputy Head Porter finds herself in the unenviable position of having to give a lecture in medieval French…

PorterGirl – The Vanishing Lord coming June 2017!

The Man Who Would Be Jack

Here at Old College there is little we love more than a bit of grisly murder. Being educated types, we are partial to a bit of history, too, not to mention legend and mystery. With that in mind, there can surely be no finer narrative than that of Jack the Ripper, a much-debated riddle and quite possibly the most famous whodunnit of all time. Over the years I have read numerous books and articles about this most enigmatic of murderers, all of which present compelling evidence as to Jack’s identity, but this one by David Bullock has me finally convinced…

Jack final (1)

This is an updated edition of the 2012 book The Man Who Would Be Jack and is the culmination of 25 years of research and shines a new light on one of history’s most infamous cases.

Although it treads the well-trodden ground of the Ripper case it is in fact a unique story which focuses on an incredible search for truth, led by an Inspector and two journalists, who in 1893 set about unmasking the Ripper once and for all.

Bullock’s research into this story led to many brand-new discoveries which not only change what we know about the Ripper case but also provides the identity of the number one suspect, Thomas Hayne Cutbush.

Thomas Cutbush

Thomas Hayne Cutbush

Cutbush was from a middle-class family in Kennington and lived in the attic room of a house occupied by his mother and aunt. He was a strange young man who held a fascination with medicine and surgery and associated with prostitutes. Prior to the Ripper killings, Cutbush believed that he had contracted syphilis from a prostitute who he brutally assaulted. He sought help from a doctor who offered treatment, although he diagnosed that Cutbush was not in fact suffering from the ‘constitutional disease’. Cutbush, though, ignored the doctor’s advice and over-medicated which led to disfigurement.

 His family later confirmed that from this period onwards Cutbush’s personality changed. He gave up work and began spending his days reading medical books and his nights walking the streets of London, returning in the early hours with his ‘face twisted’ and covered in mud and blood. When his attic room was later searched by police officers, bloodstained clothing was found hidden in his chimney and covered in turpentine in preparation to be burnt. On the bare floor boards were found crude drawings, made by Cutbush, of mutilated women resembling how the Ripper’s victims were discovered.

By 1891 Cutbush had attacked a servant in the family home and had attempted to kill his mother. He had also threatened to murder his doctor and had attacked a work colleague. Such were the concerns for the safety of his mother and aunt that they decided to turn him over to the local authorities, with Cutbush being sent to Lambeth Infirmary. Within hours he escaped and while on the run he committed knife attacks on two young females.

While at large Cutbush admitted to two strangers that the police were after him because they believed he was the Ripper. Cutbush claimed that he was a doctor (he was actually a clerk in a tea trade and a canvasser for a business directory) and in his own twisted words he stated that he had been “cutting up girls and laying them out”. He was eventually arrested on 9 March 1891 and would be sent to Broadmoor Asylum until his death in 1903. Interestingly after his arrest the Ripper murders immediately stopped.

What is remarkable about the Cutbush story is that the investigation into his involvement in the Ripper case only began after his removal to Broadmoor. His arresting officer, Inspector William Race, believed that there was more to Cutbush than originally thought and when his superiors wouldn’t take up the investigation into Cutbush being a Ripper suspect, Race turned over his evidence to The Sun newspaper.

 The press investigation that followed proved to be one of the biggest scoops of the time and found that Cutbush was a man who not only physically resembled eye witness descriptions of the Ripper but who had both the opportunity and motivation to commit the crimes. The evidence that came out of the investigation was overwhelming but it did little to change the mind of the Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police who believed that the Ripper case was closed.

The Chief Constable, in his defiance against the probing of the press as well as that of one of his own Inspectors, made a sensational admission, that Thomas Cutbush was in fact the nephew of an Executive Superintendent at Scotland Yard and a man who had actively worked on the Ripper case himself.

 The Thomas Cutbush story is simply astonishing and through this research Bullock has managed to gain a unique insight into his life and crimes as well as the damming evidence against him.

meee

David Bullock

Since publishing his first book Bullock has collaborated on The Little Book of Jack the Ripper published in 2014 and has become a contributor to a historical journal. He is also a regular speaker on the subject of the Ripper and historical crime and in 2013 appeared on the Channel 5 documentary Inside Broadmoor. Bullock is currently writing a new book which tells the incredible true story of an Edwardian murder mystery which was considered the greatest of its time, with twists a plenty and the most shocking of endings.

The Man Who Would Be Jack – available now CLICK HERE

Follow David on Twitter – @davidnbullock

Published by @thistlebooks