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Death of a Murderer

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  420 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Robert Thomson—“a true master,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle—now gives us his most powerful work yet: the story of a woman who, even after her death, inflames an entire nation, and of the man who comes under her spell.

Having spent decades in prison for crimes gruesomely familiar to everyone in England, this murderer has finally died of natural causes but is no
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2007)
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My introduction to Rupert Thomson was The Insult, which is really a quite brilliant book - compelling, unique and memorable, unlike anything else that I have read before. I've been wanting to read another book by him for quite a while - he's one of the few writers from whom I'd like to read their whole body of work.

Death of a Murderer is set in Suffolk in 2002, and focuses on one November night in the life of Billy Tyler, a policeman and an every-man whom none of us would be able to single out f
I had to push myself to read the first half of this book, and then I was finally 'in' enough to glide on to the conclusion. The main character is more intelligent, more reflective than I would expect a man who settles into 'a policeman's lot,' but that is what makes the book compelling. Who do you love, and how?
Ok, so this book intrigues me. The premise: a woman jailed for torturing and murdering children dies, and a police officer has to guard her body for 12 hours. The entire book takes place during this time period, with his wife freaking out about his assignment and his general exhaustion with her making him accept. The plot: during his stint at the morgue, he revisits a life of love and pain (some of which is highly troubling). The author draws vivid portraits, and I wish I could revisit the main ...more
Ulf Kastner
Oct 25, 2007 Ulf Kastner rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of fog
Rupert Thomson probably felt the need for a change of pace and scope in his writing and as a result produced a tauter and more elegant tale than I've come across in any of his previously published novels.

The police constable protagonist appears to have reached a perpetual crossroads in his life which, in characteristically male fashion, he finds himself ill-equipped and ultimately unable to traverse. The situation that serves as the backdrop for his reflection on his own life provides a heighten
Lauren (Northern Plunder)
This review was first posted on Northern Plunder, if you want to see more reviews please click here.

What started off as a book that had a bit of promise, turned into a drab story of any ordinary man who's marriage is going down the drain a little.
I couldn't finish this book as it was boring and couldn't keep my attention but I have skimmed through everything after reading half of it hoping something would stand out and make an impression on me, unfortunately nothing did and my life would have be
British author Rupert Thomson's seventh book, Divided Kingdom, was an inventive imagining of a dystopian Britain where, in a bid to reduce social conflict, citizens are relocated into four zones based on Hippocrates' four temperements: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.

His eight and latest novel, Death of a Murderer, has a much more prosaic setting: modern-day United Kingdem (November 2002, to be exact). Yet, Thomson still manages to unsettle and chill as he unpeels the mundane to

It's not the normal sort of book I would pick up to read, but I decided to give it a chance.

While there is no specific mention of the name of the person / murder who has died, it can be guessed pretty quickly who is being referred to.

For such a small book which ordinarily wouldn't/shouldn't take long to read, I often found my attention drifted towards other books which I finished before this one.

The book centres around one character PC Billy Tyler, he has been brought in to watch over
A book about an ordinary person finding his way. I thought there might be some more profound secret to be revealed but was not disappointed that there was not one. This is how life is really.
Roger Wood
We all know who the murderer is. There's a photo of her on the cover. That photo. It's November 2002 and she's died in prison. Unlucky career constable Billy Tyler draws what is literally the graveyard shift, guarding the body in the hospital morgue, protecting the infamous woman from the press, souvenir hunters, the kind of vulnerable people who get worked up into a lather over crimes committed forty years ago. Billy's wife Sue, who's going through a difficult time, doesn't want him to do it. B ...more
A police constable assigned to morgue duty to watch over the body of a woman who was convicted of torture and murder of children spends the night contemplating his lost youth, lost love, crumbling marriage, his daughter with Down's Syndrome, his own transgressions: in short, he re-lives most of his life.

This is one of those British novels where there is no story involved; rather, the novel uses its 'a day in the life of' scenario to throw open the most intimate moments and thoughts of the prota
David Pattison
This story, of a fictitious cop who is given the task of guarding Moors Murderer Myra Hindley's body in the immediate aftermath of her death, is a brave effort which manages to hold the attention well for most of its 250-page span. I'm not sure that it totally comes off, however.

Not that Hindley is ever mentioned by name: the author always seems to find a way of avoiding having to name her. Not that she needs to be named: the biographical details provided in the course of the novel couldn't very
The school librarian recommended this to me and although I was reading another book at the time I couldn’t resist starting it. It about a policeman who is sent to guard the body of Myra Hindley in the morgue although cleverly the writer never mentions her name once in the book. It was a compelling and creepy book, had to finish it. Not my usual type of book but I enjoyed it and it was very well written.
A policeman is assigned to guard the body of Myra Hindley, after she has died in jail. The long quiet hours in the morgue force him to take a critical look at his own life and his failing marriage.
Beautiful book of flashbacks to his youth and the beginning of his marriage, when the world was still his oyster. A problematic friendship with a boy in his childhood and his choice to stay on the right side of the law despite the temptation to do otherwise.
The structure of the book lets you find o
read half of it what started as a cold and gripping narrative become a ramble through the life of an utterly uninteresting man. compared to Thomson's previous works like The Insult and Dreams of Leaving this is not worth the time or the money
Cath Murphy
The Moors Murders have a grip on the UK imagination which will probably never loosen. Thomson takes the character of Myra Hindley and gives her a fictional voice. Well balanced and executed exploration of the nature of evil and justice.
Sam Pryce
A bleak, chilling and unflinching exploration of the sickening depths of human nature. Not exactly cheery but unsettlingly truthful in its examination of the darkness within us all. Personally, the whole central concept of the novel - the ghost of Myra Hindley - would've worked better on its own as a short story as the surrounding scenes are exasperatingly banal and largely unnecessary. On the contrary, perhaps my fascination with the blonde-haired battle-axe probably says more about me than it ...more
Mick Leach
A murderer dies, which reawakens the strong public feeling and interest that surrounded the original trial, and so the police guard the body. A constable is assigned the long night watch in the mortuary where the body is being kept. Whilst sitting there he thinks about his own life, his past thoughts and actions, and those of people he was involved with or knew. And he thinks of the crimes of the murderer, and what is in the public realm of their life, and what may have been but is not known. Wo ...more
Creepy. In a good way. There's a crime to be solved and I really couldn't figure it out until the end. I like that.
This is about a police officer on 12-hour graveyard shift whose job it is to watch over a body in the morgue. The body is that of Myra Hindley, although the book never uses her name. If you are not familiar with The Moors Murders, this book will not give you much information except to convey the deep hatred for this woman in England. She and her boyfriend murdered children and she was absolutely despised.

But the actual story here is about this man. He spends the shift thinking about his life, a
The storyline of this novel is very simple. A female murderer and child molester has died after spending many years in jail. She is still much hated by the public so the police has to guard her body to make sure nothing happens. Billy is one of the officers doing this and he spend an entire night alone in the mortuary. This of course, will do something to you and besides spending the night reflecting on his life and marriage, he starts to feel that the murderer is actually present in the room wi ...more
20th January 2010

Misleading and boring! This could have been the a memoir of any man in a tired marriage and with a hum drum life. He could have been trapped in a lift or for that matter in a toilet cubicle but the author chooses to put the face of a famous serial killer on the cover of the book and have his protagonist guarding the body of one of the most evil women in history. The fact that the plot has little or nothing to do with this killer seems to be irrelevant the jacket maybe sold a few
Rupert Thomson is a master of writing. You're never really aware of what he's doing, but you get to the end of one of his books and realise you've had an intense, unique experience. This book circles brilliantly around themes of guilt, crime and secrets, and burrows into the question of how ordinary people can be capable of doing evil.
Meg Ulmes
This novel is a life experience in a few pages. Every vice and every virtue that is part of human life is explored in this compact little book. I not only enjoyed it but the characters are unforgettable, frightening, and unique all at once. I recommend this one.
Everyone in the UK is familiar with the Moors murders, especially with Myra Hindley, who together with her boyfriend tortured and murdered a number of children before burying them on the moors. In this novel, Hidley has just died and constable Billy Tyler is assigned to guard the body at the morgue. In the early hours of the morning, Tyler's thoughts wander and the question of the possible horrors we might all be capable of emerges as the novel's main theme. This novel reminded my of Graham Swif ...more
Ah, I thought this book was promising when I read the first few pages, and it proved to be intriguing and even a little spooky at the beginning. But it lost it's flavour a quarter through the story and turns out that all the story's about is a cop's countless memories. Nothing particular exhilarating about reading it. I trudged through the whole book and was utterly disappointed with the ending.

It was like going through a bad day with a drink in mind but having found out the bar burned down. Al
Shonna Froebel
This novel is an introspective one. Billy Tyler, a middle-aged police constable, is assigned a 12-hour-night shift to guard the body of a mass murderer of children in a hospital mortuary.
His wife doesn't want him to work the shift and he isn't terribly happy about it himself. As he works the shift he thinks about both the woman whose body he is guarding and about the evil in himself and in others. His thoughts cover events from his childhood through the present. As the night passes, he thinks ab
Jaq Flip
All RT books are different. This is even more dffirrent (?!!) it took me a while to get into and it really is a compelling read.
This is the first book I've read by Rupert Thomson but most probably it's not going to be the last. Most likely he has experienced something similar to this - guarding or watching over a dead person in a morgue during the night. It's unlikely that anybody could describe the experience so vividly unless he has actually undergone it. The smell that permeates the room, the faint noises that is amplified by the silence of the night, one's imagination running riot until you never quite know what is r ...more
Well.....if you like to read about a middle age guy who sit in to guard a dead body, reminiscing his life, yeah this is the book.
I got this at BBW sales at low price, hence i'm not gonna give out my rage here. i saw it in a pile of different genre book, looking at the title & the synopsis at the back of the book, i thought why somebody leave the book there? it look interesting to, i probably know the reason. gah, i finished 2 books while reading this book. one thing i got out of the
This was a quick read, albeit an inappropriate choice for Christmas Day. It's about a police officer who spends 12 hours guarding the body of notorious British murderess Myra Hindley. It's contemplative and very low on action. It was quiet and well-drawn and raised a lot of good questions about the human concept of evil and about how easily anyone could cross the line. I felt that the ending was a bit of a let-down, although it's probably much more realistic for the character to go home without ...more
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