Cover image for The art of the English murder
Title:
The art of the English murder
Author:
Worsley, Lucy, author.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Very British murder
Edition:
First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pegasus Crim, 2014.
Physical Description:
312 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), color facsimiles, portraits (some color) ; 24 cm
General Note:
"From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock"--Jacket.

"As seen on the BBC as A very British murder"--Jacket.
Language:
English
Contents:
Part one. How to enjoy a murder. 1. A connoisseur in murder -- 2. The highway -- 3. The watchmen -- 4. The murder circuit -- 5. House of wax -- 6. True crime -- 7. Charles Dickens, crime writer -- 8. The ballads of Maria Marten -- 9. Stage fright -- 10. The Bermondsey Horror -- Part two. Enter the detective. 11. Middle-class murders and medical gentlemen -- 12. The good wife -- 13. Detective fever -- 14. A new sensation -- 15. "It is worse than a crime, Violet..." -- 16. Monsters and men -- 17. The adventure of the forensic scientist -- 18. Revelations of a lady detective -- Part three. The golden age. 19. The women between the wars -- 20. The duchess of death -- 21. A life less ordinary -- 22. The great game -- 23. Snobbery with violence -- 24. The dangerous edge of things -- Postscript: The decline of English murder.
Added Uniform Title:
Very British murder (Television program)
ISBN:
9781605986340
Format :
Book

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HV6535.G4 W67 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

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 nineteenth 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. At a point during the birth of modern England, murder entered our national psyche, and it's been a part of us ever since.The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime--and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historians.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This lively, lucid, and wonderfully lurid history from Worsley (If Walls Could Talk) examines the fascination with murder in British popular culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The book opens with an account of the Ratcliffe Highway murders-two separate attacks that left seven people dead. These murders established the link between sensational crime reporting and robust newspaper sales, a gruesome correlation that shaped pop culture in the U.K. in the ensuing decades. Worsley's study takes a literary spin as she traces the emergence of detective fiction from its roots in the mid-Victorian "sensation" novel. She dwells at length on the genre's "golden age"-the interwar period, which saw the rise of female writers (e.g., Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers)-and subsequently shows how detective fiction gave way to the darker American-style thriller of the Cold War era. Worsley's vivid account excites as much as its sensational subject matter, and edifies, too, thanks to her learned explications. Agent: Felicity Bryant, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. The popularity of murder as a form of entertainment isn't new-crime stories both real and fictional have been highly popular and profitable for centuries. In this fascinating account, cultural historian and curator Worsley looks at the British public's love affair with murder most foul. Spanning the years 1800-1946, the author covers the notorious crimes of the times and the ways the public followed them, including through broadsides, puppet plays, "penny dreadfuls," (which took their inspiration from real crimes) and "sensation novels" that drew on the public's fascination with villainy among the rich and poor. The relatively new profession of detective was created during this period as well, and detective stories became a staple of literature. Despite the blood and gore, the true crime genre was essentially a morality play, with good triumphing over evil to the benefit of society. Such stories led to the postwar "cozy" mystery, which eventually gave way to the "thriller" genre, in which cruelty and amorality even among the heroes radically changed the tone of crime drama. VERDICT This riveting cultural history will enthrall fans of British crime novels as well as readers of true crime.-Deirdre Bray, Middletown P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Part 1 How to Enjoy a Murder
1 A Connoisseur in Murderp. 9
2 The Highwayp. 19
3 The Watchmenp. 31
4 The Murder Circuitp. 43
5 House of Waxp. 53
6 True Crimep. 63
7 Charles Dickens, Crime Writerp. 79
8 The Ballad of Maria Martenp. 91
9 Stage Frightp. 103
10 The Bermondsey Horrorp. 113
Part 2 Enter the Detective
11 Middle-Class Murderers and Medical Gentlemenp. 127
12 The Good Wifep. 139
13 Detective Feverp. 151
14 A New Sensationp. 163
15 'It is worse than a crime, Violet...'p. 179
16 Monsters and Menp. 187
17 The Adventure of the Forensic Scientistp. 197
18 Revelations of a Lady Detectivep. 211
Part 3 The Golden Age
19 The Women Between the Warsp. 223
20 The Duchess of Deathp. 235
21 A Life Less Ordinaryp. 245
22 The Great Gamep. 257
23 Snobbery with Violencep. 267
24 The Dangerous Edge of Thingsp. 279
Postscript: 'The Decline of English Murder'p. 289
Acknowledgementsp. 295
Sourcesp. 297
Indexp. 307