Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens's London
In May 1840, Lord William Russell, well known in London's highest social circles, was found with his throat cut. The brutal murder had the whole city talk ...more
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The working class in London was becoming more literate. The latest novels, often sensational works of fiction "...glamorized v ...more
This book is set in 1840’s London and starts out discussing the murder of Lord William Russell in his Norfolk Street home after he retires to bed for the night to do some reading. He is found the next morning by his servant with his head gaping open from the blow of an ax which has been left nearby. There is evidence of coins and a watch taken, among other things. Lord William had previously complained of a locket with his late wife’s pi ...more
There is much detail uncovered here as an aristocratic master is murdered and his Swiss valet arrested, but it feels staid rather than gripping, and even the trial scenes somehow fail to be rendere ...more
“Who would want to butcher in his sleep this unobtrusive minor aristocrat, with his afternoons at Brooks’s and his restrained widower habits?”I’m not overfond of airports or aeroplanes – in fact, I would describe myself as having mild aviophobia – so tend, when flying, to struggle concentrating on a book for any length of time. I therefore take care always to slip something moderately light (in a literary sense) into my bag before leaving home in hope of distracting myself from squealing child ...more
This is the true crime revision of the death of the British aristocrat Lord William Russell. He was killed in his bed, in London in 1840. The book goes on to solve the crime. However, in the interim, the author goes on to illustrate the beginnings of the 'Newgate novels', which was the birth of the fiction crime novel. The ...more
It's a short book so I think there is scope to really dig deeper into this element. There were a lot of characters in this book which I found hard to follow. It's not a bad book but I think just not one for me.
I'm going to read it again, to make sure I haven't missed anything, but as of now, meh.
Early in the morning of Wednesday, 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street one block to the east of Park Lane, a footman called Daniel Young answered the door to a panic-stricken young woman, Sarah Mancer, the maid of the house opposite. Fetch a surgeon, fetch a constable, she cried: her master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut.
Murder by the Book has such an interesting premise: A burglary that ended with the gruesome murder of an upper-class gent in his ow ...more
While the book itself does indeed broach the subject of how novels at the time contributed to the murder of Lord William Russell, the only contemporary writer directly related to the crime was W. H. Ainsworth. Then again his name isn't as prevalent as the likes of Dickens or Thackeray so I do see why they were included in the blurb as tantalisers.
Then again the fact that Ainsworth has largely been forgotten to history and due to the infamy of his Newgate Novel ' ...more
Check out this review on my blog: https://ivoryowlreviews.blogspot.com/...
Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime by Clare Harman is historical true crime at its absolute best. Author Claire Harman transports readers to 1840 London and the sensational murder Lord William Russell. Russell was found on a May morning by his maid, with his throat slit so severe ...more
I was prepared to love everything about Murder by the Book: true crime, Victorian England, and the rise of the novel.
Unfortunately, I found my attention wandering as I worked my way through the book. The various elements never came together in a cohesive way for me.
I appreciate the rigorous research undertaken by the author, and think that many people will find Murder by the Book is their cup of te ...more
Though Dickens is mentioned prominently in the subtitle, he merely makes a few contributions to the historical record here, and perhaps the most important development is that an execution is documented in his contemporary novel, Barnaby Rudge. However, this is a good read for the case, which reads like something out of Downton Abbey, and the very plausible "real story" th ...more
The crime itself was shocking enough and kept those who followed the subsequent investigation duly scandalised, and to be fair, frightened. If a cri ...more
A couple of weeks ago I was complaining with a friend about a book (I can’t even remember which one) and she told me ” You need to read and review a book for what it is, not for what you want it to be; you shouldn’t fault it because it didn’t meet your expectation, you should be impartial. ” She was right, of course, I shouldn’t do it and, fairly, I wouldn’t. What at that time I couldn’t find the words to explain was that I don’t want a book to meet my exp ...more
The Victorian ton was shocked by the gruesome murder of elderly Lord William Russel, found with his throat slit in his own bed in a ritzy part of London. While the mattress was soaked with blo ...more
Honestly it is an interesting book, and I learned a fair bit - not just about the murder in question, but about Dickens, Thackeray, Ainsworth, Poe, British culture in the early-to-mid 1800s, police investigations at the time, and even tidbits about fingerprinting. I'm glad I read it and pushed through to the end, because, well, I like learning things. I think the book itself is a solid 3 stars, but the information contained within is at least 4 ...more
Her first book, a biography of the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner, was published in 1989 and won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for ‘a writer of growing stature’ under the age of 35. She has since published biographies of Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson and ed ...more