Murder as a Fine Art

Murder as a Fine Art

by David Morrell
4.6 32


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Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

ALA Reading List Award for Best Mystery


Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.

The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316216784
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 06/10/2014
Series: Thomas and Emily De Quincey Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 121,901
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 12.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Morrell is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become the successful Rambo film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. He has written 28 novels, and his work has been translated into 26 languages. He is also a former professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa and received his PhD from Penn State.

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Murder As a Fine Art 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
thebookwormNJ More than 1 year ago
The first chapter of Murder as a Fine Art is one of the most disturbing I've read, and I like to read my share of horror and thrillers. Author David Morrell is genius as he starts off the novel by taking the reader into the mind of the 'artist', the killer himself. Based on the real Ratcliffe Highway murders that occurred during 1800's London, this novel was a suspenseful mystery that I found hard to put down. Writer Thomas De Quincey, also known as the Opium-Eater finds himself a suspect in a set of vicious murders that seem to mirror the unsolved Ratcliffe Highway murders of forty years past. De Quincey wrote an essay called "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts" where he discussed the Ratcliffe murders in detail and almost as a fan of the detailed work of the murderer. This essay is what makes him a prime suspect. De Quincey, now in his sixties and heavily addicted to Opium, lives with his daughter Emily who helps care for him. De Quincey has arrived in London under mysterious circumstances and soon learns that the killer is the one who lured him back. Detective Inspector Sean Ryan and constable Becker are trying to crack the case. The original Ratcliffe Highway murders were followed by a second set of murders twelve days later and the detectives are afraid the copycat killer will strike again soon. The story takes twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat as Ryan, Becker, the Opium-Eater and Emily try to put the clues together and discover the identity of the killer. Author David Morrell seamlessly takes us from the mind of the killer to the cat and mouse chase of the investigators with his descriptive and fast paced storytelling. I loved how David Morrell breathed life into these characters and made them jump off the pages. I felt bad for the Opium-Eater as his past comes to light and he reveals the pains he has lived through. At the heart of his existence is his addiction to Opium, it rules his every thought. An interesting and terrifying aspect of his addiction is that as things are happening to him, he wonders whether what he is experiencing is real or if he is in an Opium induced nightmare. I felt myself rooting for Emily and Becker, I wanted these two to get together. What an unexpected facet to the storyline their attraction was. Speaking of Emily, she is an interesting character. I liked that she was no-nonsense but caring at the same time. She's a bit of a rebel and refuses to wear the uncomfortable hooped dresses and tight corsets that are in style, preferring instead to wear comfortable bloomers under her skirts. The relationship she has with her father is well fleshed out and I could easily believe their storyline. David Morrell brings the seedy underbelly of 1800's London to life perfectly. The atmosphere of the novel is dark and mysterious throughout and on top of that, he creates a cast of characters that the reader can root for. The author adds historical facts throughout the storyline which just adds to the reading experience. I love it when a writer of historical fiction does their research. This was 5 star read for me, I highly recommend it to fans of historical mysteries and thrilling stories. Victorian London, murder, mystery, suspense and historical facts and fiction are all woven together masterfully to create a novel that grabs the reader and does not let go until the very end.
BookLover1DN More than 1 year ago
A Fabulous Historical Mystery! David Morrell has created a beautifully crafted murder mystery set in London in 1854. It is based around the true Ratcliffe Highway murders that occurred earlier in the century and as the book opens, these murders are being duplicated and worse. The murderer is the "Artist" and the book opens with we, the reader, following him on his acts of horror. What really makes this book excellent is the writing and the character development. Morrell fully shrouds the mystery in foggy, overcrowded, unsanitary London. Scotland Yard is at its beginnings and through the eyes of Detective Inspector Ryan and his newly appointed assistant, Constable Becker, we see early police detective work. English Literature fans will be surprised at the featuring of Thomas DeQuincey ("Confessions of an English Opium Eater") and his forward-thinking daughter, Emily, as detectives themselves. Part of the story is told through Emily's diary entries which are very interesting as they give a woman's point of view.The reveal of who the Artist is was quite stunning. This is a fast-moving mystery that is filled with many unexpected twists and turns. I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonder this book was. Written in the true Victorian sensational style, don't expect a first-person narrative here. Instead, expect a drifting third-person perspective that slowly reveals all the bits and pieces of a good mystery. This book is a trip back to London in the days of closed curtains and opium. And it does all this while incorporating plenty of historical accuracy. Top-notch, enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gripping and extremely well-researched.... one of the best novels I've read in a while. Historical fiction is best when the lines between reality and fiction are blurred; Morrell is a master of that fine art. Wjj
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Creepers was by far my favorite of Morrell's books, but after reading "Murder as a Fine Art" (very quickly I might add) I'm starting to rethink things. This book is truly outstanding. If you enjoy delving back into the past, times reminiscent of Jack the Ripper and a time when no one felt safe, this book will keep you glued to the pages. The history is wonderful, the story terrifying, with a beautiful father daughter story that holds it all together, this is a read not to be missed.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite Author David Morrell has long been one of my favorite authors. He has a long list of best sellers including Rambo, the Brotherhood of the Rose, and Creepers. He is well known for his high octane action thrillers. His latest book, Murder as a Fine Art, is a bit different from his previous books but still up to his usual high standards. He deftly transports readers back to London, 1854 where he combines fact and fiction to give readers a satisfying thriller. The main character, Thomas De Quincey, actually existed as did the crime referred to as the Ratcliffe Highway murders – a series of mass killings that equaled those of Jack the Ripper for terrifying London and all of England. Thomas De Quincey was obsessed with the Ratcliffe Highway murders and wrote about them in an essay he titled: On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts. He was the first person to write about drug addiction in his essay Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.  In Murder as a Fine Art, we travel along with De Quincey through the streets and prisons of London as he searches for a gifted killer. There seems to be a hidden connection between the murderer and De Quincey. Suspicion falls on De Quincey and he must fight to clear his name. De Quincey’s daughter is a very intelligent and capable character. However, she was a woman in 1854 where women were not encouraged and in fact discouraged from thinking. I also loved Constable Becker. This tale demonstrates the culture of the era. Once again David Morrell has stretched and exercised his great talent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Factual( non-fiction) history in a fictional setting. Very entertaining and readable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horror! Thriller! Mystery! This book does not disappoint. One of the most violent things I have ever read. And still it is a page turner. Brilliantly written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is superb!! I am a huge fan of mysteries set in Victorian England and this one is top notch. THe plot is interesting but I really enjoyed the historical research on the culture of the period that the author incorporated. I've read dozens of books set during this time period and know a lot about it, but Morrell shines a light on Victorian thinking & beliefs that were eye opening for me!! A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Set in Victorian England, this story is an action-packed thriller. Hisrorical references were fascinating and added to the complexity of the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is some tale. Sure is a good one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author's dedicated immersion into his subject matter has gifted us, his readers, with a brilliant story that is both entertaining and educational! Besides an excellent mystery, I feel as if I also received a riveting lesson in both History and in the Humanities. It's even written in a style similar to novels written in the Victorian Era. I don't recommend this book if you're looking for a bit of fluff that can be read while doing 3 or 4 things at once, or that can be read in 1 and 2 minute increments. Save this wonderful book for when you can indulge in some solid reading. I can't wait to start the sequel!
AmandaG31 More than 1 year ago
David Morrell includes hugely interesting facts about 1850's London. If you have interest in early criminology, the monarchy, how London's police force evolved, or pre-Freud psychology this is the book for you. As you read you want to know more about the characters and what motivates them, so I am glad he wrote a sequel! Be warned, the story line can be a bit dark as it does chronicle a series of viscous murders, but you will be pleased with the ending!
Karenina2 More than 1 year ago
This book was a pleasure to read! Intriguing characters, witty dialogue, humor, tight, fast-paced plot, great historical detail... Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I don't think you'll be disappointed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story grabs you early on and keeps you guessing until the end. Very submersive, great environmental detail and a great plot. The author delivers again.
goldieinaz More than 1 year ago
If I could give this book more than five stars I would. A fantastic thriller with great characters. I highly recommend this book.
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RonnaL More than 1 year ago
Based on a real character who wrote numerous things in Victorian England, Thomas DeQuincy, who was sometimes knows by the title of one of his books CONFESSIONS OF AN OPIUM EATER, this tale of horrific murders builds on real murders known as the Ratcliffe Highway Murders. Morrell has definitely done his research in playing "what if" in building a murderous character whose whole life has been one tragedy creating tragedies! The historical times are portrayed wonderfully, describing manners, citizenry, police forces, and the building of the terrors and financial spread of the opium trade throughout the world. DeQuincy and his "modern daughter", Emily, team up with a policeman and a detective to catch a murderer who is fooling everyone in London. I thoroughly enjoyed this imagined murderer in a story that tells so much about real history. 
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