Books: The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley

It probably requires someone who both likes history and literature—particularly detective stories—to really appreciate this book, but as I am such a person . . . I really enjoyed it.

Worsley works her way through the literary history of crime stories from the kinds of pamphlets and broadsides that came out with news of murders and hangings, on through Gothic literature, the "Golden Age" of detective stories (i.e., Agatha Christie), and finally touching on the decline of same in favor of the rise in thrillers. At the same time, Worsley parallels all this with true crime stories that inspired the kinds of writings that were popular at any given time. She reflects on the draw of Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors and the general psychology behind why we love death (and the more gruesome the better).

Engagingly written and filled with interesting tidbits, I sailed through this book, often choosing to read rather than get any of my own work done. Now I'm only sorry that I've finished it and so don't have an excuse to procrastinate any longer.

No comments: