2015: 10. The Art of English Murder

"In his essay, 'Decline of the English Murder' George Orwell describes for us the most satisfying kind of killer."

The Art of English Murder, Lucy Worsley

The subtitle of this book basically explains it -- "From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock."  The book is an examination of murder - real and fictional in Britain, and it was the companion piece to a BBC series called "A Very British Murder."  If you aren't a mystery/true crime aficianado, I think this book offers a decent overview of the topic, from the first big murder that captured public attention (the Ratcliffe Highway Murders), through others that got people riled up (Constance Kent, Maria Marten, Crippen), and then examines fictional murder too - particularly focusing on the Golden Age writers.  

My problem is that I am a mystery/true crime afficiando, such that I had already read most of the books that Worsely is using as her references here (P.D. James's The Maul and The Pear Tree, Kate Summerscales' The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher; Judith Flanders' The Invention of Murder, just to name a few), and so, there was little new here for me - and what there was was too high level to satisfy.  I liked her brief bios of the 4 great Golden Age writers, Christie, Allingham, Marsh, and my boo, Dorothy Sayers, but I wanted to know more.  I think I would have enjoyed watching the TV series well enough, but for a book, I wanted a bit more.  But if you are interested in the topic, and aren't a fiend for it, I suppose you might find this reasonably entertaining.  (OH, but then go read those other books - at least read The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - it is SOO good.)

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017