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 19th 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. The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime - and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul.
©2014 Lucy Worsley (P)2014 Tantor
"Worsley's vivid account excites as much as its sensational subject matter, and edifies, too, thanks to her learned explications." (Publishers Weekly)
The narrator is not very good. There are lots of mispronunciations and her overall tone is kind of awkward in general. I think that my biggest gripe with this piece however, is that it reveals the endings to several books. If you haven't read Bleak House, The Woman in White, The Moonstone, Death at the Priory or The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher I highly suggest you do so BEFORE listing to this particular book, otherwise, Spoiler Alert!, the endings will be ruined for you. Three of the books, whose plots and conclusions are spelled out, are still in my library, "unread". The latter of the five I finished long ago, and I must say that if I had listened to this book before those two I'd be pretty disappointed with the spoiled endings!
This is a fun book if you're a fan of British history or literature. I enjoyed it very much and it made for a nice companion while reading Sarah Water's Fingersmith in print. It also brought back memories of reading Murder As a Fine Art by David Morrell.
Narrator Anne Flosnik was the perfect choice to voice this book. I just wanted to keep listening to her read this book. Her reading made it clear that she was enjoying the The Art of English Murder just as much as I was.
One note of warning: The complete plot of some classic novels is revealed within this book. As just one example, if you've not read Oliver Twist, this book will contain spoilers.
Tthe beginning and end of this book were good describing the history elements that influenced murder mysteries, and descriptions of the lives of particular authors. The middle part of the book describing some of the early stories in the 1860s was tedious. And the narrator's voice detracted from the book, I will not listen to any of Lucy Worsley's books using this same narrator.
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