Today's post is on The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley. It is 312 pages long and is published by Pegasus Books. The cover has an English manor with darkening skies behind it. The intended reader is someone who likes true crime, literary history, and where the two intersect. There is foul language, talk of sex, and talk of violence in this book. The history of both the topics is told in many ways from first hand sources like letters and newspapers to interviews with experts. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the dust jacket- Murder -- a dark, shameful deed, the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy. And a very strange, very English obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves? In The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nationwide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria's lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels and plays, prose and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern England, murder entered our national psyche, and it's been a part of us ever since. The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historians.
Review- I had so much with this book. It is similar to The Invention of Murder but with a much narrower time frame. Instead of following the English obsession with murder from very earliest records, instead we are focusing on the 1700's to the mid 1940's. Worsley does not spend much time with the murders that influenced the authors but she does stay with the writers who read everything about the murderers and their crimes. She interviews interesting people about everything from Madam Tussauds's Wax Museum and why she started the Hall of Horror. Then Worsley added in the literary history about how the most famous mystery writer's got started and why. Christie started because she needed to support herself and her child and so many did for the same reason. I recommend the this book if you like true crime and the roots of mystery fiction.
I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.