Ý Read ä Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell » This novel set in Victorian London uses Thomas De Quincey, controversial author of Confessions of an English Opium Easter and On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts as the central character in this novel De Quincey s essay, On Murder dramatised the infamous Ratcliffe Highway killings which terrorised the country in 1811, when the inhabitants of both a shop and a tavern were murdered viciously Now it is 1854 and De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, are staying in London at the request of an unknown benefactor, who has arranged lodging for them However, when there is an apparently motiveless murder of an entire family which mirrors that of the Ratcliffe killings, De Quincey s knowledge of the crimes makes him a suspect There is no such thing as forgetting wrote De Quincey and he must go back in time to discover why his work and reputation are being used against him In many ways this is an excellent novel Detective Inspector Sean Ryan and Constable Becker are great characters, as is De Quincey s daughter However, I do agree strongly with the previous reviewer with the obvious research that has gone into this novel, Americanisms like cookie and sidewalk jar horribly Also, it did sometimes seem that the author was insistent on using every bit of research and side stories, such as that featuring Dr John Snow and the cholera epidemic, did not also fit the storyline Overall, though, this is an exciting read, with past crimes intruding on the present, conspiracy in high places and a fast moving plot.
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at few weeks ago a friend came over for dinner and seeing me sprawled out on our couch, book in hand, astutely asked what I was reading A slow smile crept across my lips as I considered my response I had to be careful I was hanging on every word of the deliciously dark historic thriller, in love with every lurid detail, but how best to explain my enthusiasm for a book on sadistic serial killer left me in a bit of fix The book in question was David Morrell s Murder as a Fine Art.
Now, having finished the piece and struggling to do it justice in a review, I find myself in much in the same position Should I gush over the historic details that placed me square on the gas lit cobbles of nineteenth century England Should I exclaim over his wonderfully dynamic if flawed and morally ambiguous cast Or should I just bow to Morrell s genius as the author of such a titillating, white knuckle opus Quite a quandary, is it not Admittedly, I loved the story, but I can t get over the feel of this piece I have no knowledge of the research that went into its creation, but I m convinced Morrell exerted considerable effort in this regard Cover to cover I merely had to close my eyes and I was there, right there on the dingy streets of Victorian London, trailing the sweet smelling coat tails of Thomas De Quincey I ll grant I have a rather vivid imagination, but even so, I found the period descriptions in this piece a particular treat A palatably rich meditation of evil, plush with historic detail, dark and dangerous as the Victorian slums, Murder as a Fine Art is a brilliantly crafted, fast paced, must read murder mystery.
Londra, Nel Giro Di Alcuni Giorni, Due Famiglie Vengono Trucidate Nelle Loro Case La Popolazione Terrorizzata E Chiede A Gran Voce Alla Polizia Di Chiudere Il Caso Sebbene Le Prove Siano Controverse E Indiziarie, Viene Arrestato Un Certo John Williams, Che S Impicca In Prigione Prima Del Processo Nessuno Scoprir Mai Se Fosse Davvero Lui Il Colpevole Londra, Thomas De Quincey Tornato In Citt Passato Molto Tempo Da Quando, Nei Salotti Dell Aristocrazia E Della Ricca Borghesia, Il Suo Nome Era Sulla Bocca Di Tutti, A Causa Dello Scandaloso Pamphlet L Assassinio Come Una Delle Belle Arti, In Cui Lo Scrittore Aveva Avuto L Ardire Di Lodare La Perizia Omicida Di John Williams Eppure Proprio Quel Libro Provocatorio, Che All Epoca Lo Aveva Reso Una Celebrit , Rischia Adesso Di Costargli Molto Caro Perch Qualcuno Ha Sterminato Un Intera Famiglia, Replicando Fin Nei Minimi Dettagli Gli Omicidi Di Quarantatr Anni Prima Inevitabile Che De Quincey Diventi Subito Il Principale Indiziato, Non Solo Della Polizia, Ma Soprattutto Dell Opinione Pubblica, Ansiosa Di Sfogare La Propria Rabbia Contro Di Lui Aiutato Dalla Giovane Nipote E Da Un Investigatore Di Scotland Yard, De Quincey Ha Un Unica Possibilit Per Dimostrare Di Essere Innocente Scoprire Chi Il Vero Assassino Un Assassino Colto E Raffinato Che Ha Consacrato La Sua Vita All Arte Del Delitto, Un Assassino Sfuggente Come La Nebbia Notturna Che Striscia Lungo Le Strade Della Citt , Un Assassino Che Ha Gi Pianificato Ogni Mossa Per Colpire La Sua Prossima Vittima Thomas De Quincey Kudos need to go to David Morrell for the detailed research he must have done to write this book Not only regarding De Quincy but 1850 s London It s about time some one gave De Quincy a fair podium As far as the re enactment of the multiple murders perpetrated in this story, based on the actual murders that took place, the amount of detail supplied moved the story along at a fine pace.
Some of my favorite parts of the book were the back story into the life of the antagonist, especially of his years escorting the heroin shipments to China for the British East India Company.
I must admit to a bit of surprise that this book did not get attention at the time of it s publication, perhaps it did and I just missed it.
The book was well worth reading and quite enjoyable I look forward to the next installment of the De Quincy narrative.
I ve been a fan of David Morrell since the first time I read him, which was Double Image Murder as a Fine Art did not disappoint The research into 1854 London and before, specifically the Radcliffe Highway Murders, was excellent What wasn t true to form the author noted in his Afterword The fictional story of real life author Thomas DeQuincey and his daughter, Emily, weaved into this novel was quite good So not only was I entertained by the story and on the edge of my seat for most of it since it is a murder mystery but I learned a great deal of an author I never knew of and Kick your feet up and travel back to foggy, murky, mysterious London of 1854 and try to solve the gruesome crimes that mimick the true Radcliffe Highway murders that haunted London in 1811 You may find yourself googling as you read along From the author who has given the world an iconic hero we all know as Rambo based off the action novel First Blood, we have his latest Murder as a Fine Art David Morrell is an accomplished writer who has a strong following that I am happy to be a member of I haven t read any historical fiction thriller by Morrell before by I think he s done a great job at a genre I hold near and dear to my heart Murder as a Fine Art is the fictional story of Thomas De Quincey who is famous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium Eater Because of his famous essays involving the Ratcliffe Highway Murders forty years prior, he is a suspect in the newest murders that are done in the same fashion The essays he wrote with great insight makes De Quincey a prime suspect in London era when detective work and policing were not as we know it today In an attempt to clear his name De Quincey enlists the help of his daughter Emily, and a pair of intelligent detectives from Scotland Yard.
The tension and suspense never seems to dwindle in this book Morrell has taken an interesting piece of history along with a famous man in history and has brought them to life in a way that makes you question what s real and what isn t The characters are well drawn with depth that I believe readers will enjoy The struggle between De Quincey and his opium addiction have readers sympathetic towards him and eager for his vindication while others will feel strongly about Emily s resilience and enabling All the main characters in this novel are deeply human and personify Victorian London during 1854.
Historical fiction lovers will appreciate that Morrell provides a lot of information about Victorian London, the people, and the attitudes of the times Although some bits of information don t seem fluid such as on the establishment of the police department in 1829, I appreciated it being there I only wish it was cohesive than it appeared in the text Besides the occasional history lecture, this book is compulsively readable Fans of Morrell will find Murder as a Fine Art is a definate read and should be added to their read lists as soon as possible This novel isn t like Morrell s other spy novels, action adventures, or my favorite Creepers It is so much and I can t wait to catch up on the other novels by Morrell I haven t yet read.
An essay written about past crimes may have created a copycat beast I am not going to point fingers here but one of you wrote a really awesome review for a book that truly sucks a big fat one Your top notch review writing skills led me to believe this read was worth my time and it was most certainly not I want to be mad at you but can t because let s be honest, you are amazeballs You wrote a review that became its own story and that was the book I wanted and expected to read My ass is beyond jealous right now I wish you would pass along a little bit of that talent to us lesser reviewers who are struggling to build coherent sentences from the muddled mess between our ears.
I originally thought this was going to be a murder mystery I didn t realize it was an overly detailed book about a specific time in history using characters as props Good on you for doing your research but bad on you for giving up the mystery in the first half of the book The only reason I stuck it out to the finish was because I was hoping there would be a plot twist or a secondary mystery that would justify that amazing damn review Nope Instead I spent the back half of the read with over the top characters and a story that would just not quit.
Two stars to a book that was lucky enough to be liked by a five star reviewer.

I could not put this amazing book down I read it over a few hours, still reading it at 3am unable to put it away Full review to come.
A dark, ruby red liquid that seeps into the mind and into the soul.
Laudanum Although the constraints of Victorian society discouraged anyone from confessing to what was considered a failing of fortitude Thomas De Quincey, author of Confessions of an English Opium Eater , made no secret of his dependency on what was contained in that little blue bottle to subdue the pains of the head and the face But no one would be able to subdue the panic and out of control fear that escalates after a shopkeeper and his family are found murdered one night in London.
Although it is 1854, the murders reflect the exactness of those committed forty three years earlier Has the deviousness crept back, once again, into their lives Whose demented mind would commit such heinous acts And what plan of action would bring peace to those dark, winding streets in the underbelly of Victorian London David Morrell surrounds you deeply in this atmospheric novel of the screeching sounds, the fetid wafting smells, and the dimly lit streets filled with various personages from the highest on scale to the lowest Morrell knows how to tell a haunting and stay with you tale Period.
Now here s the thing I fell into this trilogy with arms wide open like the divers off the high cliffs of Acapulco I started with the third in the series, Ruler of the Night Murder as a Fine Art is the first and Inspector of the Dead is second Seems like I m doin quite the tap dance here Obviously, this is the one to start with and should be read in order to which one gets a feel for the characters.
Morrell layers his story well with historical references to burial practices, resurrectionists, medical practices, the slums of London, the British East India Company, and police procedures of the time period You ll come to find how Thomas De Quincy and his daughter Emily a young woman well ahead of her time and two of Scotland Yard s finest, Ryan and Becker, fit into the cohesiveness of this stellar story.
This is a dark, dark journey along London s precarious streets But a chill up the spine does wonders in the wee hours, now doesn t it 1854 London, Lord Palmerston in charge, under the cover of fog with a gas light as aid to see in the streets and the Hansom Cab as means of transport, a macabre scene of death unfolds David Morrell has created a story in a bygone time, a historical mystery that has truths meet together, facts in fiction This is Edgar Allen Poe visits Dickens London kind of mystery.
Cholera was not the only insidious nature to visit the people but a wave of murders struck without reason A past crime, the Ratcliffe Highway killings, may or may not have a connection, could a serial killer be emerging from the fog The English Opium Eater in London, De Quincy Opium and the alcoholic solution Laudanum, made from Opium, plays an important roll in the lives of the cast of characters including De Quincy who was a real character from history he wrote extensively on this topic and Murder as a Fine Art in particular So when you are done reading this you may chase up on De Quincy and read about this era, about the Opium trade, the poor of London, and the Ratcliffe Highway killings There was a great sense of place, time and intrigue in this story.
Truth in fiction handled so well with a Gothic mystery feel that has you captivated and kept reading from the first page The color of Laudanum ruby It is a liquid that consists of 90 percent alcohol and 10 percent opium Its taste is bitter A Swiss German alchemist invented it in the 1500s when he discovered that opium dissolved effectively in alcohol than in water His version included crushed pearls and gold leaves In the 1660s, an English physician refined the formula, removed impurities such as the crushed pearls and the gold leaves, and prescribed it as a medicine for headaches as well as stomach, bowel, and nervous disorders By the Victorian era, laudanum was so widely used as a pain reducer that virtually every household owned a bottle Considering that opium s derivatives include morphine and heroin, laudanum s reputation as a pain reducer was well founded Toothache, gout, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and cancer were only some of the ailments that laudanum manufacturers such as Batley s Sedative Solution, Mc Munn s Elixir, and Mother Bailey s Quieting Syrup claimed to alleviate Women used laudanum to relieve menstrual cramps Colicky babies were given it In an interview I had with David Morrell I asked about this novel and we talked about writing, Gatsby and First Blood read full interview Pendergrast Welcome and congratulations on your new novel out now Murder as a Fine Art What was the inspiration behind this new novel, when was seed planted for this, how long did it take to complete writing it David Morrell The idea for Murder as a Fine Art came to me in 2009 when I watched a movie Creation about Charles Darwin s nervous breakdown His favorite daughter had died His wife, a devote Christian, felt that he was damning his soul by writing On the Origin of Species Grief and guilt made him physically ill, but the medical world of the time wasn t capable of seeing the connection Near the end of the film, a character comes to Darwin and says, Charles, people such as De Quincey are saying that we can be influenced by thoughts and emotions that we don t know we have That sure sounded like Freud, but the film is set in 1855, and Freud published in the 1890s I wondered if the reference was to Thomas De Quincey, an author I studied in a long ago literature course about the 1800s So I started reading De Quincey, and he did indeed anticipate Freud by a half century He invented the word subconscious He wrote several essays about the interpretation of dreams, again anticipating Freud He inspired Edgar Allan Poe who in turn inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes I fell into what I call a Victorian rabbit hole and decided to write a mystery thriller about De Quincey, placing him at the start of the detective tradition Lou Pendergrast Tell me why do you choose to use the character De Quincey in your story David Morrell In addition to being an innovator in theories about psychology, De Quincey was also an expert in murder He was obsessed by a double set of mass murders that occurred in London s east end in 1811 There were probably mass murders before then, but the lack of widespread communication meant that no one was aware of them In 1811, though, the mail coach system meant that London s 52 newspapers could be carried throughout England in two days The result was a national, paralyzing terror De Quincey invented the true crime genre in what s called his Postscript to a sensational essay On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts For fifty harrowing pages, he portrayed the Ratcliffe Highway killer and his victims, building almost unendurable suspense That installment of the essay was published in 1854, and my novel Murder as a Fine Art proposes that someone begins using the essay as a blueprint to recreate the original murders Because of De Quincey s obsession with the murders and because he was the first person to write about drug addiction in his notorious book, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, the police see him as the logical suspect Thus he becomes both the hunted and the hunter as he sets out to find whoever is perverting his work.
Lou Pendergrast Is there any truths in this historical fiction story, how much research did it take David Morrell My goal was to make readers believe that they are in 1854 London, so the research was considerable, lasting two years Going to that era is like going to Mars I kept finding all sorts of strange details that Victorians took for granted but that we find weird For example, how much did a middle or upper class woman s clothes weigh An astonishing 37 pounds, because they wore metal hoops under their dresses and those hoops needed to be covered by ten yards of ruffled satin Lou Pendergrast Writing in the language of the olde English tongue how hard was it to write with this and about an environment away from your surroundings, how did you go about doing this David Morrell The Victorian era didn t use olde English Their method of speaking, as evidenced in Dickens, was very much like ours, except that their constructions were perhaps formal It s true that they used a lot of words that we no longer understand dollymop, dipper, and dustman, for example, which referred to a prostitute, a pickpocket, and the man who came to houses and collected fireplace ashes for resale to brick factories I read as many 1850s novels as I could find, and I amassed several shelves of books about Victorian culture Lou Pendergrast Will you delve into bygone eras again in future works David Morrell The reaction to Murder as a Fine Art has been so enthusiastic that my publisher asked me to writer another novel about Thomas De Quincey, so for a while longer, I m going to be in 1850s London.