Reviewed by Meresa Bergin
The Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 were the most notorious mass killings in their day. Never fully explained, they brought London and all of England to the verge of panic.
Forty-three years later, the equally notorious ‘opium eater’ Thomas De Quincey returns to London. Along with his Confessions, he is known for a scandalous essay about the killings: ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’.
Days after his arrival, a family is killed in the same horrific way as the earlier murders. It seems someone is using the essay as an inspiration – and a blueprint. And De Quincey himself is the obvious suspect. Aided by his daughter Emily and two determined Scotland Yard detectives, he must uncover the truth before more blood is shed… and London itself falls prey to attack.
In MURDER AS A FINE ART, gaslit London becomes a battleground between a literary star and a demented murderer – whose lives are linked by secrets long buried, but never forgotten.
As a fan of crime books I was very much looking forward to Murder as a Fine Art, I knew nothing about the murders or the book that had been written about them.
Murder as a fine art is a very interesting and captivating story that blends reality with fiction, you are offered much more than you would expect from the book with its insight into the murders that were committed in 1811 and into Thomas De Quincey’s own personal life and problems that he struggled with which opens your eyes to how the world used to be and how much people suffered unknowingly.
The book is very detailing in the acts of murder and could be difficulty for some readers to bear witness to but the story is so interesting I was soon able to see past the gore and sadness to be taken in by the people we follow as it goes on. It leaves you on edge never quite knowing what is happening, it encourages you to feel sympathy one moment and have it ripped from you the next, taking every fear you have ever had and all sense of what is right and wrong, it leaves a mark on you.
Reading the book has left me very interested in Thomas De Quincey and his work, I have just ordered Confessions of an English Opium-Eater so I can read first-hand his struggles.
David Morell is a credit to the writing world his style of writing and ability to look past the norms is refreshing, he allows you to be free to think and develop the story in your own way whilst never leaving you without a clue or something to seek.
A fantastic read.
Available to buy from Amazon here.