The third series of ITV's excellent Whitechapel begins next Monday at 9pm. There are six episodes comprising three two-part investigations which are inspired by three real-life crimes/criminals: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders, The Whitehall Mystery and The Zodiac Killer.
As far as I know, the Ratcliffe Highway Murders, unlike Jack the Ripper, haven't featured in much crime fiction. There is of course the non-fiction account, The Maul and The Pear Tree by P D James and T A Critchley which was reissued in 2010 and there will be Lloyd Shepherd's debut novel, The English Murder which is to be published 1 March.
Blurb: London, 1811. The twisting streets of riverside Wapping hold many an untold sin. Bounded by the Ratcliffe Highway to the north and the modern wonders of the Dock to the south, shameful secrets are largely hidden by the noise and glory of Trade. But two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and a terrified populace calls for justice. John Harriott, magistrate of the new Thames River Police Office, must deliver revenge up to them and his only hope of doing so is Charles Horton, Harriot's senior officer. Harriott only recently came up with a word to describe what it is that Horton does. It is detection.
Plymouth, 1564. Young Billy Ablass arrives from Oxford armed only with a Letter of Introduction to Captain John Hawkyns, and the burning desire of all young men; the getting and keeping of money. For Hawkyns is about to set sail in a ship owned by Queen Elizabeth herself, and Billy sees the promise of a better life with a crew intent on gain and glory. The kidnap and sale of hundreds of human beings is not the only cursed event to occur on England's first officially-sanctioned slaving voyage. On a sun-blasted islet in the Florida Cays, Billy too is to be enslaved for the rest of his accursed days.
Based on the real-life story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster takes us on a voyage across centuries, through the Age of Discovery, and throws us up, part of the human jetsam, onto the streets of Regency Wapping, policed only by Officer Horton.