Murder as a Fine Art

Murder as a Fine Art - David Morrell London has had its share of serial killers over the centuries, but in 1854 someone has decided to recreate one of the most ghastly crime scenes in history – The 1911 Ratcliffe Highway murders. Fingers begin to point at Thomas De Quincy (Confessions of an English Opium-Eater). De Quincy published an essay titled On Murder as One of the Fine Arts seemingly giving details that only the murderer could know, and now, despite his advanced age, poor health and ongoing opium addiction, he must work with the police to try and clear his name.

David Morrell can rightly lay claim to the title “Rambo’s dad”. He penned First Blood, the original Rambo book. Known for writing in various genres he is best known to me as an action/thriller writer. This book is a little different from what I am used to. Don’t get me wrong; this book has more than its share of action and thrills, but it is a well-researched taste of life in 1850’s London. He gives his reader a glimpse into police procedure at the time, women’s issues, poverty, class distinction and yes, murder. All of that in a well written fast paced narrative with interesting characters (Emily De Quincy being one of the best female characters I’ve read in a long while) and, some sharp, witty dialogue. There is even a hint of a love story thrown in just to round it out completely.

Historical fiction has become more demanding over the past few years. It no longer means simply a piece of writing set in some long ago time with a few accurate tidbits thrown in to provide a setting for the fictional story. Savvy readers now expect the historical facts in the book to be accurate and for authors to do their research. Mr. Morrell has indeed done his homework. I have read a number of historical fiction books that I thought were wonderful, but sometimes I found myself becoming more interested in the historical details than the story itself. This did not happen in this book. Yes the book is rich with the history of the time, but the story still stands strong. Mr. Morrell does not disappoint.