Murder as a Fine Art

Murder as a Fine Art

by David Morrell

Ricki Brodie (03/31/14): While this is a crime fiction set in 1854, it reflects historical events that occurred 43 years earlier. In 1811, there were two serial killing sprees that were written about in detail by author Thomas De Quincey in his essays On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts. De Quincey, a proliferate writer authored the book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater in which de Quincy he describes his descent into his addiction to laudanum.

Morrell took the sensational killings of 1811 and used them as the basis for his novel. There is a new heinous group murder in 1843, that is staged to replicate the 1811 murder, down to the weapons, positioning, etc. These murders cause riots as they had before. Enter London Detective Inspector Ryan and an eager constable to solve the murder. They meet up with de Quincey who has been duped into coming to London from Scotland to witness and possibly be framed for the murders. He and his daughter Emily and a cast of beggars and prostitutes work to stop the real killer.

The book takes you into the highest strata of government, the British India Tea Company and the opium trade in China and India. It moves at a fast clip and keeps you involved. I really enjoyed learning about de Quincey who talked about subconscious long before Freud, his sarcasm and his take on life. 4
Rating: ****

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