Lucy Worsley: A Very British Murder



Ed our national psyche and it s been a part of us ever since The Art of the English Murder is a uniue exploration of the art of crime and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historiansAlthough this sent me off researching fuller versions of incidents mentioned the worth of The Art of the English Murder itself had ittle allure From melodrama to noirLucy Worsley has set out to trace the roots of the British obsession with murder as consumers rather than participants She makes the case that the fascination with murder corresponded to the increasing urbanisation of Britain during the nineteenth century which because neighbours no Billy Bragg longer knew each other as they had done in a rural age meant that murders could be much harder to detect And what could be thrilling than knowing that a murderer might be on theoose Combine that with the rise of affordable printed material such as the Penny Dreadfuls that became available during the Victorian era and suddenly the commercial potential of murder real or fictional was huge The book is Polly Prices Totally Secret Diary light in tone and an easy enjoyable read Worsley also presented a companion TV series which I didn t watch and the book is written in an episodic format presumably to tie in with that Much of the material will be familiar to anyone with an interest in crime fiction or true crime but the format draws interesting parallels between the society of a given time and how that influenced the type of crime fiction that was being written She takes us through the major realife cases of the Victorian age such as the Road Hill House murder or the Maria Manning case and shows how these were reflected both in stage melodrama and in the early crime fiction of Dickens Wilkie Collins et al We see how the rise of the detective in real ife began to be mirrored in some fiction while the early failures of the police to solve crimes eft the door open for the rise of the fictional amateur sleuth Of course Worsley talks about Holmes and Watson in this context but she also casts her net widely to discuss sensation writers such as Mary Elizabeth Braddon and early fictional female sleuths and how they reflected and to some degree challenged the Victorian view of women in generalAs she moves into the twentieth century Worsley argely pulls away from true crime to concentrate on the fictional She discusses the Golden Age authors in some depth giving almost mini biographies of some of them particularly Dorothy L Sayers She argues as others have done that the Golden Age puzzle with its fairly defined rules developed as a response to the horrors of WW1 and fed into a society that wanted something a bit cosier than the blood curdling melodramas of the past She discusses how class and gender were represented in these novels but keeps the tone ight though it s clearly well researched this book never reads Miss Shumway Waves a Wand like an academic study After the Golden Age Worsley rushes through hard boiled fiction and today s appetite for the noir and the serial killer but thisast chapter is really just a post script Her position seems to be that the mystery novel declined as a form after the Second World War to be replaced by the violent thriller genre true to an extent but the huge market for cosies suggests to me that there s a bigger appetite for traditional murder mysteries still than I felt Worsley acknowledged And there are still plenty of police procedurals that at heart are the descendants of the Golden Age where clues and character are still important than blood soaked scenes of violence and torture Thank goodnessAn interesting and enjoyable read which I would suggest would be an ideal entry The Touch level book for anyoneooking to find out about the history of crime fiction and its inks with society NB This book was provided for review by the publisher Random House Eburywwwfictionfanblogwordpresscom. British Murder is Lucy Worsley's captivating account of this curious national obsession It is a tale of dark deeds and guilty pleasures a riveting investigation into the British soul by one of our finest historia.

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This book has been written to accompany a television series of the same name and does as a conseuence jump around a ittle in subject matter The book begins and ends with discussion of an essay the first being On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De uincey and finishes with an appraisal of The Decline of the English Murder by George Orwell This is not really about crime as such although many crimes are discussed it is about how especially since the nineteenth century the British began to enjoy and consume the idea of a murderDe uincey s essay uses the 1811 Ratcliffe Highway Murders as it s theme Lucy Worsley takes us through the way crime was dealt with and the importance of the Ratcliffe Murders as a faceless urban murder which caused shockwaves throughout the country In this book she Different Class looks at how murder became entertainment involving sensational journalism the theatre tourism and detective fiction The founding of an organised police force is discussed the use of detectives notorious crimes Penny Bloods the forerunner of crime fiction and forensic science She alsoooks at crime fiction from Dickens to Sherlock Holmes and through the Golden Age of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L SayersIt is fair to say that this work does have some The Essential Good Food Guide limitations it is aittle unfocused and tends to rely on the notorious and shocking in a way which will probably have impact on the screen than on the page However if you have an interest in true crime or crime fiction then you will surely enjoy this Lucy Worsley is an excellent writer and her enthusiasm for history and personal charm is enough to make this a worthwhile fascinating and keeping with her theme of an enjoyment in murder an entertaining read An excellent Textbook of Wisdom look at the English attitude to murder both real and fictionalSomeovely background on the Detection ClubLearned some very interesting In Defence of Dogs little pieces of triviaike the fact that E W Hornung the creator of the gentleman thief Raffles was the brother in aw of Sir Arthur Conan DoyleWell worth a read by anyone interested in crime and the golden age of detective fiction How did we come to a place where crime is entertainment It s a really good uestion Short answer as the odds of certain risks murder go down fascination with it goes up Well Worsley wrote a whole book explaining it better that that and a very entertaining book it is tracing the rise of newspapers fictional detectives the golden age of crime writing I particularly enjoy the history of policing and detection but it s all goodLibrary copy Parts One and Two of Lucy Worsley s book How to Enjoy a Murder and Enter the Detective cover much of the same material I do when teaching my graduate courses The Gothic Tradition and Sherlock Science and Ratiocination While the information presented wasn t new to me I appreciated the excellent organization and thoroughness of Worsley s investigation About the time I would think for example Next up should be the Road Hill House Murder and its influence on novels ike The Moonstone there the expected chapter would bePart Three The Golden Age was eually well thought out and Worsley s analysis gave me some welcome new insights about the dead end of the interwar detective novel before British genre authors followed their US counterparts into the hard boiled noir style of storytelling On a personal note Worsley s balanced and insightful analysis helped me finally to articulate why I can read Wilkie Collins or Arthur Conan Doyle all day The City in Mind long over and over again with relish while the works of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayerseave me coldI especially admired Worsley s elegant use of two essays Thomas De uincey s On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts 1827 and George Orwell s Decline of the English Murder 1946 as the framing works between which her intellectual history unfoldsBeautifully done This book This is the story of a national obsessionEver since the Ratcliffe Highway Murders caused a nation wide panic in Regency England the British have taken an almost ghoulish pleasure in 'a good murder' This fascinati.

Ormed the basis of a short TV series presented by Lucy on the history of the British crime novel Lucy Worsley is one of my favourite historians she is always so enthusiastic and engaging with a wonderful sense of humour and great insight The book traces the development of the British crime novel from its beginnings in the Georgian Sensation novels and fascination with real ife crimes through the Victorian crime novels Wilkie Collins Arthur Conan Doyle and into the Golden Age of classic detective novels in the 1920s and 30s Agatha Christie Dorothy L Sayers et al Lucy concludes that we can earn a No One Wants You lot about contemporary society from the crime books we read The cosy crimes of the interwar years were a reaction against the horrors of the Great War for example This was a fascinating read about the history of my favourite book genre This is a print companion to a TV series which was shown in the US on PBS I will watch read anything from Lucy Worsley The title is a bit misleading because the author actually beginsong before Jack walked the streets of Whitechapel We get a bit of history of policing punishment and the horrific Regency murders Ratcliff Highway murders is uiet interesting to read about the evolution of the mystery novel and the Penny Dreadful This is a book that doesn t reuire you to read from cover to cover but can dip in and out of at your convenience 35While this was meticulously researched the book really didn t pull through ike I wanted I think the author should have kept out the From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock part of the title Why Because Jack the Ripper was mentioned in passing Sherlock Holmes got maybe 10 minutes of material and Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock were after mentionsReally this was about murder and the Victorian times How it evolved from the impoverished to the middle class the morbid fascination with it and how iterature changed to reflect the times So that s what it was about Post war was glossed over and the focus was really on Victorian times with Worsley citing things Penguins Poems for Life like papers and the public hangings or side shows or Madame Tussaud s instead of focusing oniterature as we think about it today Literature was again of a side note She really focused on Wilkie Collins So if you haven t read his major works DO NOT READ THIS BOOK Worsley spoils the plot ine for three of his most famous books and I had only read one of them while planning to read the other two A uick entertaining history of English murder as popular entertainment The author Lucy Worsley takes as the beginning of the presentation of murder packaged for public consumption the essay of Thomas De uincey On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts 1827 She traces the popular appreciation of murder from here on through Madame Tussaud s Waxworks the Penny Blood booklet Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins the Ballad and puppet show of Maria Marten the cases of Dr William Palmer Madeleine Smith Florence Bravo and others as newspaper drama Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack t Description Murder a dark shameful deed the ast 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 ike 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 over and burying him under their kitchen floor Our fascination with crimes ike 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 enter. On helped create a whole new world of entertainment inspiring novels plays and films puppet shows paintings and true crime journalism as well as an army of fictional detectives who still enthrall us today A Very.

I was born in Reading not great but it could have been Slough studied Ancient and Modern History at New College Oxford and I've got a PhD in art history from the University of SussexMy first job after leaving college was at a crazy but wonderful historic house called Milton Manor in Oxfordshire Here I would give guided tours occasionally feed the llamas and look for important pieces of p