Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason

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The Mad Hatter Has Departed


mad hatter

After two years of research, frustration,delays, deaths, life and other assorted detours The Mad Hatter has finally left the building so to speak. For those of you who are lovers of The Ripper, The Mad Hatter is right up your alley. Without giving too much of the story away, let me just say, 1888 in the East End of London was a busy year. This book is fiction but has a lot of historical facts in it.
This book is close to my heart as I have studied the Ripper for years.
So, while all of my little twisted minded children gleefully await the release, let me leave you with a teaser. Now you must ask yourself this, Was the Ripper and the Mad Hatter the same person? I leave it for yo to decide after you read the rest of the story!

Chapter One

1888, the year of living dangerously, as least that was what Johnathon Rhoades surmised as he gazed out of window of his newly purchased carriage as it slowly wound its way among the streets of the East End of London. The East End was comprised of several Burroughs, among them were the cities of Algate, Mile End, Poplar and Bethel in the Green, which stopped at the London Docks waterfront.
The heartbeat of the East End were the small parishes of Whitechapel, Spitafields and St. George’s, these were connected by the main highway of Whitechapel and Commercial Roads. It was on this highway that Johnathon Rhoades traveled and observed the over population of the poverty ridden who lived in dirt and degradation. Sadly, their housing was shabby, rotten and vermin infested which only added to their plight. These pitiful excuses for dwellings were located on crumbling dark streets and alleys which were connected by even darker courts and passage rich with crime of every imaginable sort.
As Johnathon’s carriage rumbled across the cobblestone road and passed through Spitafields he heard the hawkers of fresh vegetables, fresh fish and meat peddling their wares. The smell of blood from the animals as they were slaughtered on the spot by butchers for their customers assailed Johnathon’s nostrils as his carriage rolled through the street known as Algate or “Butcher’s Row and Blood Alley. The wheels of the carriage slung blood up on the undercarriage staining it as it quickly dried. Johnathon inhaled deeply of the aromatic, metallic smell. There was nothing like it. He smiled.
Johnathon’s carriage continued toward Whitechapel which was located on outside of the walled city of Algate. As his driver carefully maneuvered his way around the sea of humans making their way to the main coaching inns and workhouses, he paid particular attention to the poor and uneducated, especially the women who had turned to prostitution as a means of survival.
It was an environment in which the very rich strolled side by side with the destitute, while the criminal element lurked in dimly lit streets and in alleys that were darker than the darkest night. The streets were filled with all manner of garbage from the droppings of the horses, to the waste from the bodies of men, women and children and the combined everyday trash from leftover food scraps to whatever else was tossed to the side of the road including bodies of humans whose lives had been snuffed out for any number of reasons, from gambling to prostitution, to drinking to accidents to murder.
It was the perfect place for the perfect storm.
The population consisted of 286 people per acre of land with entire streets of tenement houses that were rented as common lodgings by the most unscrupulous landlords. There were single, two-up and two- down houses on Dorset Street and at any given time between fifty and sixty people took turns by day and night sleeping in the same beds covered in unwashed bed clothes and lice and vermin infested mattresses.
Defective water supplies, lack of washing facilities and almost non-existent sanitation only added to the misery of those who dwelled there. Disease and epidemics periodically swept across the great city, while healers and physicians died what they could to stem the tide of squalor, hopelessness and death.
There were two groups of people who lived and tried to eek a living out of the East End, those who tried to survive by making an honest living and those who did not.

The honest ones, including the children, worked twelve to sixteen hours a day in sweatshops creating slave like conditions while try to earn a living. Female matchbox makers earned two pence farthing and bootmakers earned three to five shillings for making six pairs of boots. By the time men were forty years old, if they lived that long, they were completely burnt out wrecks just waiting to die. The East End was the perfect breeding ground for every form of the criminal element from pickpockets to rape and murder. Crime became one of many accepted ways of life if one wanted to survive.
In spite of the hardships of high unemployment, poor wages and even poorer living conditions, the residents of the East End found ways to entertain themselves. On just about every corner of every main street one could find public houses better known as pubs. They also visited the music halls where dancing and singing could be found.
One of the biggest and most widely accepted forms of crime was prostitution, and the East End widely known for its brothels and it prostitutes.
There were over 12,000 prostitutes in all of London and 1,200 of those lived and worked in Whitechapel. The deprivation of the East End was so bad that many women were forced onto the streets to earn the four pence they needed just to pay for a bed for the night. While their mothers sold their bodies to eek out a living, their children were turned out into the streets to fend for themselves.
The largest contingent of those women lived and worked on Dorset Street, a short narrow street 400 feet long and 24 feet wide. Dorset Street ran parallel to Brushfield Street to the north, with an Alley called Paternoster Row which connected the two streets. White’s Row was to the south and connected to Crispin Street to the west and Commercial Street to the east. Dorset Street had the reputation as one vast Brothel, so filled with miscreants and crime that the police had to walk their beat in pairs and were still subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
A murdered known in most circles as Jack the Ripper was wreaking terror and mayhem in Whitechapel while leading Scotland Yard on a merry chase. The industrial age was making its way into the lives of the people of London. The poor were scratching a living out of the workhouses as the women of the night worked the street corners to feed themselves and their children. The influx of immigrants created a housing nightmare and crime became the norm.
Between the influx of immigrants and the lack of proper work the environment was ripe for murder, mayhem and madness. It was to this environment that the Rhoades Family brought their Hat Factory, filling it with some of the same pitiful human souls that lived, loved and died in Whitechapel.
Johnathon Rhoades thought of all of this as he absently looked down at the unread paper in his lap. The page was turned to the latest escapades of the Ripper. Johnathon smiled to himself as his carriage hurried through the cobblestone laden streets. “Ah,Jack. What tortured souls we are.” Johnathon mused as he watched the city through the window.

September 12, 2015 - Posted by | New Releases | , , , , , , ,

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