Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas De Quincey, #1)” as Want to Read:
Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas De Quincey, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Murder as a Fine Art (Thomas De Quincey #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,752 Ratings  ·  733 Reviews
Gaslit London is brought to its knees in David Morrell's brilliant historical thriller.

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 Consi
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Mulholland Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Murder as a Fine Art, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Murder as a Fine Art

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil GaimanThe Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerLife After Life by Kate AtkinsonA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth OzekiThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Interesting Books of 2013
57th out of 326 books — 986 voters
Silent in the Grave by Deanna RaybournWhat Angels Fear by C.S. HarrisThe Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingThe Yard by Alex Grecian
Victorian and Regency Mystery Novels
44th out of 189 books — 105 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jeffrey Keeten
May 04, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing
Shelves: victorian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing
Basic RGB
1854 London, Lord Palmerston in charge, under the cover of fog with a gas light as aid to see in the streets and the Hansom Cab as means of transport, a macabre scene of death unfolds. David Morrell has created a story in a bygone time, a historical mystery that has truths meet together, facts in fiction. This is Edgar Allen Poe visits Dickens London kind of mystery.

Cholera was not the only insidious nature to visit the people but a wave of murders struck without reason. A past crime, the Ratcl
May 18, 2013 Erin rated it it was amazing
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

A few weeks ago a friend came over for dinner and seeing me sprawled out on our couch, book in hand, astutely asked what I was reading. A slow smile crept across my lips as I considered my response. I had to be careful. I was hanging on every word of the deliciously dark historic thriller, in love with every lurid detail, but how best to explain my enthusiasm for a book on sadistic serial killer left
Patrice Hoffman
May 06, 2013 Patrice Hoffman rated it really liked it
From the author who has given the world an iconic hero we all know as Rambo based off the action novel First Blood, we have his latest Murder As a Fine Art. David Morrell is an accomplished writer who has a strong following that I am happy to be a member of. I haven't read any historical fiction thriller by Morrell before by I think he's done a great job at a genre I hold near and dear to my heart.

Murder As a Fine Art is the fictional story of Thomas De Quincey who is famous for his memoir Conf
Janette Fleming
Nov 15, 2013 Janette Fleming rated it it was amazing

Thomas & Emily de Quincey
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 A
Aug 15, 2013 Crotusman rated it did not like it
Wow, this was a truly frustrating read for me. On the one hand, I was immediately drawn into the story after the first chapter. I thought it was superbly written and hit on all the notes that one would expect of a Victorian England set murder mystery. Combine that with a very intriguing premise and I was all in. Unfortunately, it was, save for a few action sequences, mostly downhill from there IMO.

First the good – as I mentioned above, this started off with a bang and I flew through the opening
May 11, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel set in Victorian London uses Thomas De Quincey, controversial author of "Confessions of an English Opium-Easter" and "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts" as the central character in this novel. De Quincey's essay, "On Murder..." dramatised the infamous Ratcliffe Highway killings which terrorised the country in 1811, when the inhabitants of both a shop and a tavern were murdered viciously. Now it is 1854 and De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, are staying in London at the req ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Karl rated it really liked it
Kudos need to go to David Morrell for the detailed research he must have done to write this book. Not only regarding De Quincy but 1850's London. It's about time some one gave De Quincy a fair podium.

As far as the re-enactment of the multiple murders perpetrated in this story, based on the actual murders that took place, the amount of detail supplied moved the story along at a fine pace.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were the back story into the life of the antagonist, especially of his
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
2.5 stars.

Features nuanced portrait of Thomas de Quincey, the "English Opium-Eater," but also non-fiction intermingled with the novel (I guess that's one way of preventing "As you know, Bob," syndrome - but it's disconcerting for the reader), and a nascent love triangle.

For a further review: .
Bishop Harber
May 29, 2013 Bishop Harber rated it really liked it
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Murder as a Fine Art. I don't normally find historical fiction to be all that interesting. Indeed, some of the complaints I have about the novel are in the execution of the historical details.

But I find myself—having started this book nearly 10 hours ago—captivated by the story. I fear that I have neglected those who rely on me at work for having spent the entire day reading in-between moments of busyness. I'm thankful for a partner who made dinn
Heather Fineisen
May 21, 2013 Heather Fineisen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2013-bought
The historical references and the journal of Emily De Quincey were well done. Morrell would please many readers by bringing these well written characters back to the page for more crime solving adventures. A gruesome yet fun romp through Victorian London through the eyes of "The Opium Eater" and his plucky daughter. If they return, I will be along for the ride...
May 05, 2014 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review first published on BookLikes:

I love the cover of this book! Murder as a Fine Art has been on my "currently reading" shelf for months just so I could admire the cover art.

I also love the premise of Thomas De Quincey (the author best known for Confessions of an English Opium Eater) investigating a murder in Victorian London.

A premise like this just screams "fun read", I thought. And then I got stuck just 23% into the book.


1. Even though the idea
Joyce Lagow
Set in 1854 London and based on the real life of Thomas De Quincy, the author of Confessions of an Opium Eater, of one of the most notorious books of the Victorian era, Murder As A Fine Art is a well-researched, interesting book that doesn’t quite come off as a police procedural. It’s just not that well written. Is there reason to read it? Yes, if you’re intrigued by arcane information about burial procedures, how Picadilly got its name (from a tailor who made a fashionable collar known as a pic ...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
Feb 22, 2013 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mallory Heart Reviews by: NetGalley
Review of Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
5 stars

“Murder as a Fine Art” is a compelling and engrossing mystery, a suspenseful thriller as only author David Morrell can deliver. I truly felt as if I was an active observer in the events, living in this era, as mid-19th century London is so vividly detailed and brought to vivid life through art. In 1854 in London, a series of murders commences, and the unknown murder (in whose mind we walk) considers himself an artist. Indeed, he constantly pl
Dec 26, 2013 J.R. rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
Atmospheric. Dark. Gripping.

Morrell transports the reader to Victorian London in a manner worthy of Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

Thomas DeQuincey, notorious for his confession as an opium eater, is the prime suspect when murders repeat his depiction of crimes 40 years in the past. But his powers of deduction (and his shockingly modern daughter) soon impress Ryan and Becker, the chief investigators, and it is through his influence the killer is finally revealed.

The character I most wanted to smack
Jan 05, 2015 LemonLinda rated it really liked it
This book delivered beyond my expectation. It was a great combination of real people and events, historical facts and literary license combined with fictional characters and embellishments coming together for an intensely entertaining historical murder mystery. I listened to the audio and was completely immersed in the unfolding drama as well as figuring out at first "whodunit" and once I learned the identity of the criminal mastermind trying to uncover just how the final details would play out ...more
Mike (the Paladin) I've said before, interesting book. The author will explain after the book what and why he was led to write this novel with Thomas De Quincey as a main character. Basing his tale on some actual murders (possibly the first recorded serial murders?) he throws us into a situation where another set of murders eerily and frighteningly like those first murders.

On the factual side of our novel are the writings of Thomas De Quincey who became rather infamous in his time when he wrote Confessio
Thomas de Quincey is sixty-nine years old, finally enjoying some success as a writer, he's in London promoting his latest book with his daughter, Emily, when he becomes the main suspect in a series of gruesome murders that replicate the Ratcliff Highway killings which happened forty-three years ago. The murders in 1811 are the topic of the book de Quincey's promoting, his detailed knowledge of the crimes, his debilitating dependence on laudanum and his presence in London at the time of the curre ...more
Jun 05, 2013 B.reader rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting--De Quincey embroiled in a murder mystery that was inspired by his essay Murder as a Fine Art. However, the execution of the story was pretty much terrible.

One of the most annoying things about the book was the each chapter began as a history lesson. There are ways of weaving historical research into a novel's story rather than dropping in on the reader like a rock. It didn't seem like the history really propelled the story forward a
David Lamb
Aug 01, 2013 David Lamb rated it it was ok
The overall story and premise of this book is intriguing to say the least. A brutal murder that took place in 1811 is being recreated in 1854 in London, causing the new police force to scramble, and all of London in a panic. However, the author does not deliver on an overly hyped novel. The mystery part is easily solved well before it is revealed who the murderer is. There are only so many characters after all. On top of that, the murderer is revealed with at least another 150 pages to go. There ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Shelli rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. I really liked the combination of history and mystery. The historical information was accurate and brutally descriptive. The fictional story kept me invested. I also really enjoyed the author's note about his research and what gave him the idea for the book. Reading about this real life murder made me do some research on my own. The book had those details down exactly. I also learned a lot about Thomas De Quincey and his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. This audio wa ...more
Jonathan Janz
Sep 10, 2015 Jonathan Janz rated it really liked it
Meticulously-researched, richly-described, and not-as-hyphenated-as-this-short-review, MURDER AS A FINE ART is a worthy entry into the diverse canon of one of our most reliable writers. David Morrell's historical murder mystery is definitely worth your time. Also, check out THE TOTEM and FIRST BLOOD, which are both outstanding.
Dec 11, 2013 Wanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: nookbooks, 2013
11 DEC 2013 - great book!
Amy Lignor
Jul 08, 2013 Amy Lignor rated it it was amazing
Murder may be a fine art, but this author has also proven that writing is the finest art of all - and he is the master of it.

No matter how suspense unfolds in the future, the time of ‘Jack the Ripper’ - mid-Victorian England - will always be a true favorite of readers everywhere. And in this new novel that same blend of deep, haunting emotions combined with odd police work and a level of the supernatural comes to life and literally jumps off the page.

One of the most notorious mass killings was
Jun 07, 2013 Bookworm rated it it was amazing
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 se
For the first half of the book, I was very confused. Is this non-fiction? It's written almost like a biography. But it's not. But it doesn't read like fiction. At all. What am I reading??

Needless to say, while this was a fantastically written novel and I was very drawn into the story of the Opium Eater and his daughter, I was also very keenly aware that, while this is supposed to be historical fiction, the lines between fiction and history were very tenuous, indeed. And maybe it's because of the
JoAnne Pulcino

David Morrell

It has taken me a very long time to try to figure out how to write this review. I’ll start with the fact that I have been a Morrell fan since ASSUMED IDENTITY. He previously wrote the RAMBO (Yes, Sylvester Stallone) novels which held no attraction for me.

He changed his writing style after RAMBO, and now I have to say he has again changed his style for a meticulously crafted historical detective story.

Thomas De Quincy is a character from real life in the 1800’s
Rarely have I been so entranced by a book from the introduction to the end. There was not a moment's break in the action and mystery of this novel. Thrilling and suspenseful, dark and blood-curdling, this is a book that will live in my mind for years to come. David Morrell is an author of pure genius. I wonder if he couldn't become one of the world's best detectives himself.

The character who drives the novel, Thomas De Quincey, is brilliant in this role, as well as being a bit frightening, himse
May 15, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, david-morrell
I was pleased to win an ARC of this novel from the publisher, and even more pleased after reading it! David Morrell does a marvelous job of capturing the milieu of 1854 London as the setting for the terrifying copycat (seemingly) mass murders of apparently random victims. In a society where mayhem was common but even individual murders relatively less so the populace of the City still talk in hushed tones of the 1811 Ratcliffe Highway multiple murders. Forty three years later the unidentified "a ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Stacey rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
This was just an average read for me - it may have been the right time for this book for me or the fact that I listened to the audio version. I didn't love the narrator, which I find is usually a key factor in whether or not I enjoy an audiobook. I found my mind wandering off during certain types of passages and did have to check out the physical book from the library just so I could go back if I missed something. The story itself was good, a bit different from others in its genre. I didn't like ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Black Hand (Barker & Llewelyn, #5)
  • The Black Country (Scotland Yard's Murder Squad, #2)
  • Island of Bones (Crowther and Westerman, #3)
  • The Bedlam Detective (Sebastian Becker, #2)
  • Seven for a Secret (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #2)
  • Mayhem
  • India Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madam of Espionage, #2)
  • The Solitary House
  • A Study in Revenge
  • Fear in the Sunlight (Josephine Tey, #4)
  • A Dissection of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
  • The Harlot's Tale (Midwife Mysteries, #2)
David Morrell is a Canadian novelist from Kitchener, Ontario, who has been living in the United States for a number of years. He is best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become a successful film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. More recently, he has been writing the Captain America comic books limited-series The Chosen.
More about David Morrell...

Other Books in the Series

Thomas De Quincey (4 books)
  • The Opium-Eater (Thomas De Quincey, #1.5)
  • Inspector of the Dead (Thomas De Quincey, #2)
  • Ruler of the Night (Thomas De Quincey #3)

Share This Book

“We act upon assumptions that control our view of reality, even though reality might be quite different... By definition, what is unthinkable isn't part of our reality... your assumptions about what is possible prevent you from accurately seeing the reality before you.” 3 likes
More quotes…