The Art of the English Murder

From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock
Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Art
4.3 out of 5 stars (104 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Worsley's vivid account excites as much as its sensational subject matter, and edifies, too, thanks to her learned explications." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Art of the English Murder

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Should Come With a Spoiler Alert

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!

11 people found this helpful

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Why didn't Lucy narrate this?

Wonderful for true crime fancier. Flosnik sounds like she has loose dentures and mouthful of spit.

9 people found this helpful

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Perfect Autumn Listen

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Dreadfully good read!

I listened to the book in two sittings. I'm blind so I love all the little details.

2 people found this helpful

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History interesting, but narrator was not

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.

3 people found this helpful

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Horrible narration

I can't even comment on the content- the narrator is so fake and awful. Don't buy.

3 people found this helpful

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Very Good! But a little jumpy

This book was amazing! Although sometimes it had jumped around to much for my liking. Definitely still recommend the read.

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IF you're a fan of british murder stories.....

This book focuses on the British fascination with murder. Apparently once public hangings and the ability to trounce all over active murder investigation scenes was denied the British public, this morbid need was replaced with murder mysteries. Or at least that’s Worsley’s theory. She then goes through a history of famous murders and talks about how they worked their way into English Literature. Apparently for instance, readers of Dickens’ time would have known Oliver Twist was a crime novel based on the title, as a twist was slang of the time for someone who hung from a noose; and Austen’s Northanger Abbey wasn’t a romance so much as a sendup of the popular horror novels of her age (the heroine is a young girl who’s read too much of them goes to the abbey expecting ghosts and horror — as the world Abbey would be another keyword in a title that would communicate to readers of the time that this would be a horror book, only to discover more realistically disturbing issues, such as how many rich people of Austen’s time owed their wealth to slavery… something the Austen Biography I read just before this had also discussed). …. and she's very interested in the life stories of female murder writers, much more so than the men... and covers the profession of the genre

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Lucy narration please

The biggest disappointment with this book is that Lucy isn’t the narrator. She would make this great.