Reading Roundup: Mystery Book Club Enjoys Murder As A Fine Art
Known for his commitment to research, “Murder as a Fine Art” was well written and accurate for London in 1854. This fictional historical thriller has a plot that includes actual historic events intertwined with a new story line. It revolves around an English writer, Thomas DeQuincey (1785-1859) who is best known for his work “Confessions of an English Opium Eater“ published in 1821. De Quincey is the likely suspect for a series of murders which occur shortly after his arrival to London. These horrific murders are the same as the notorious Ratcliffe Highway Murders of 1811, which were left unsolved. Two Scotland Yard detectives, however believe that De Quincey could not have committed such murders, and his daughter Emily stands by her father’s side to help establish his innocence. De Quincy seems a likely suspect, because of his open use of opium, which he doesn’t try to hide. Learn more about Thomas De Quincey using our Biography in Context resource on our resources page.
What we thought
The first in a trilogy featuring Thomas De Quincey, his daughter, Emily and the two Scotland Yard detectives was well liked by our mystery readers. Several of them, noted it was “their top pick of the year so far.” Our readers agreed once you get past the brutal opening scene of the book, the depiction of the Victorian Era was interesting. The mystery readers also appreciated the omniscient point of view, told through Emily’s diary. We don’t normally enjoy this type of back and forth writing, and we don’t always trust what the reader is sharing, but in the case of Emily, it was interesting to follow the story line with her thoughts and descriptions as the investigation unfolded. Several in our group have already read the second in the trilogy “Inspector of the Dead“ and gave it high marks. We eagerly await the third installment of this Victorian mystery/thriller, “Ruler of the Night” which is due out this fall.
* Fun fact: David Morrell is the author of the Rambo series; including First Blood, Rambo and Rambo II. For a listing of the library’s holdings of David Morrell visit our library catalog.
Join us on Thursday, July 21 at noon, for The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe. The Mystery Book Club (Warrenton) meets at the John Barton Payne Bldg. We’ll discuss and have an Q & A session with the author via Skype.