Tuesday, 15 October 2013

FACTUAL CRIME NOVEL: A Very British Murder: The Story of a National Obsession - Lucy Worsley

Release Date: 12/09/13
Publisher:  BBC Books


Murder - a dark, shameful deed, the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy. And a very strange, very British obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves? In A Very British Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nation-wide 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, puppet shows and paintings, poetry and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern Britain, murder entered our national psyche, and it's been a part of us ever since. A Very British Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime, and a riveting investigation into the British soul by one of our finest historians.


To be honest this was a book I ordered as I’ve always been fascinated with the British love of a murder story. Whilst I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, throughout our history, since Jack the Ripper, we’ve always been fascinated to read about the real macabre events in real life trying to find out who has the not only the latest news but also to see what details have been revealed within.

This title by Lucy, whilst Ok, feels a little short changes as she keeps referring to a title by Judith Flanders called The Invention of Murder. For me, if you’re going to keep doing that, perhaps you’d be better off not writing a book but point people towards that title to start off with.

Add to this a book that really isn’t that linear and has the reader jumping forward and backwards in time as well as focusing on perhaps the most well known murders (or rather the ones with the most details available) which all round leave the reader feeling a little cheated with nothing really startling revealed. All round I was a little disappointed with the title and whilst it was there to accompany the TV show of the same name it’s one that I feel that would be better borrorwed from a library rather than purchased with your hard earned cash.

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