What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper

Paula Marantz Cohen

Professor of English
Department of English & Philosophy

Under Certain Circumstances, No One Is More Suited to Solving a Crime than a Woman Confined to Her Bed

An invalid for most her life, Alice James is quite used to people underestimating her. And she generally doesn't mind. But this time she is not about to let things alone. Yes, her brother Henry may be a famous author, and her other brother William a rising star in the new field of psychology. But when they all find themselves quite unusually involved in the chase for a most vile new murderer-one who goes by the chilling name of Jack the Ripper-Alice is certain of two things:

No one could be more suited to gather evidence about the nature of the killer than her brothers. But if anyone is going to correctly examine the evidence and solve the case, it will have to be up to her.

About Dr. Cohen

Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English, received her BA in English and French from Yale University and her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. She is the author of six books and numerous essays on literature, film, and culture. Her scholarly books are The Daughter as Reader, The Daughter's Dilemma, Alfred Hitchcock: the Legacy of Victorianism, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth; her novels are Jane Austen in Boca; Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan; and Jane Austen in Scarsdale or Love, Death, and the SATs. Her most recent academic book, Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth (Oxford UP), was selected as a Choice Outstanding Book for 2003.

Her first novel, Jane Austen in Boca (St. Martin's Press), was a Literary Guild/Book of the Month Club Featured Alternate and a Page-Turner of the Week in People Magazine. She has articles and stories in many journals, including Yale Review, Boulevard, Iowa Review, Raritan, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review. She is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Modern Literature and a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. She is the recipient of the Lindback Teaching Award.

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