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The Trial of Elizabeth Cree

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,106 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
The year is 1880, the setting London's poor and dangerous Limehouse district, home to immigrants and criminals. A series of brutal murders has occurred, and, as Ackroyd leads us down London's dark streets, the sense of time and place becomes overwhelmingly immediate and real. We experience the sights and sounds of the English music halls, smell the smells of London slums, ...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Nan A. Talese (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,279)
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Feb 29, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for people with some down the drains
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: Peter Ackroyds back catalogue
Cor Blimey, Guvn'r. Well that was a right old to do. Set in Victorian London on the banks of the good old shake and shiver, the narrow field o' wheat and the bawdy houses and music halls this jackanory will have you all in a lather - oh what a palaver. The great wen is all a-quiver for there is a killer on the street. It's not safe for a respectable ocean pearl like m'self to be out after dark, oh no. The Limehouse Golem is abroad and I'm not talking about the Costa.

Murder most horrid is being
Nancy Oakes
Mar 08, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of victorian mysteries; readers of this author
Recommended to Nancy by: amazon
I have to say that this is one of the finer Victorian mysteries I've read and it kept me on the edge of the chair until the end. Once in a while I would get this idea that something is dreadfully wrong here, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. However, the true beauty of this novel is the atmosphere -- London during the Victorian period -- the darkness tends to overwhelm you while you read it. It is quite good (I love Ackroyd's works) and one in which the true mystery aficionado will not be ...more
James Barker
This is my third Ackroyd and really the first one I have got along with. In fact it is one of those books you read where you get so pally with it it is sad to finish. As is customary the author looks back on the murderous history of a part of London but this time he has peopled his re-telling with absorbing characters that are very much flesh and bone. The musical hall scene of the time, the late Victorian age, is a delicious backdrop and the juxtaposition of dull-to-the-death poverty against pr ...more
I thought this was more a tragedy than a mystery until the ending, and then I realized that I knew nothing. Grotesque atmosphere, filled with great portrayals of historical figures, a horrifying murderer, music hall, Karl Marx, George Gissing’s prophetic musings on Babbage’s Difference Engine, illusions, cross dressing, and wonderful and sometimes creepy descriptions of Victorian England, this is a fascinating if sometimes cold book(and dark and difficult). The ending is haunting if not exactly ...more
Peter Ackroyd'u ilk kez okuyorum. İlk yarıda bir miktar hayal kırıklığı hissettiğimi söyleyebilirim; fakat bir yerden sonra merakla, elimden bırakamadan okudum. Mutlaka bir kitabını daha okuyacağım.
Maria (Big City Bookworm)
I just saw the film at the Toronto International Film Festival this past Sunday and now I really want to read the book!
Jonathan Norton
May 04, 2015 Jonathan Norton rated it did not like it
Social historians have long been aware that violent revolution was avoided in Victorian Britain by the huge popularity of music hall, where concepts of gender and class were problematised by transgressive performance artists whose works undermined the assumptions of masculinist industrial socialist trade union discourses. This tradition of subversive speech-acts continued up to the present day in the practices of Kenneth Williams, David Bowie, and Lily Savage. However you only get a small glimps ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Devi rated it it was ok
I feel like some kind of literary heathen considering all the glowing reviews for this book, but in fact I found Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem to be a bit inaccessible as a mystery novel. It was interesting for the most part but emotionally unengaging in general, more an intellectual study on how to work fact into fiction, or perhaps a subtle historical satire, than a book read for entertainment. Not that it didn't have merit; the characters are great and the atmosphere is wholly evocative of ...more
Jun 17, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
I love Peter Ackroyd, I really do.

Books like this are part of the reason why. Making use of the famous figures of Dan Leno (no, not Jay Leno), Gissing, and Marx among others, Ackroyd weaves a mystery unlike very few.

The story is told though different voices and different prespectives, and the ground always shifts slightly for the reader. And that is the really important thing about Ackroyd, he trusts the reader. He does not treat the reader like an idiot, does not talk down, and inspires curious
Nov 21, 2011 Philip rated it it was amazing
Dan Leno And The Limehouse Golem is quite simply a masterpiece. Every aspect of the novel is remarkable. It’s a whodunit, though it suggests a couple of credible suspects right at the start. It even convicts its central character to death by hanging before we have even got to know her. Clearly things are not going to be obvious. The novel is also a study in character, especially that of its central actor, Lambeth Marsh Lizzie, later Mrs Elizabeth Cree. It’s also an evocation of London in the lat ...more
Laura Bowman
Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem was a dark, twisted tale set back in Victorian London in the wake of the Ratcliffe Highway murders. Peter Ackroyd has done an excellent job in his research to plot his murder mystery around real people and events.

Dan Leno has a strong plot that is well balanced with device and references. Thomas de Quincey’s work is mentioned several times, and notable personalities like Karl Marx, George Gissing, and Dan Leno are integrated into the plot as characters rather tha
بهمن بهمن
«دلقك و هيولا» يا آنگونه كه اسم اصلياش است «دان لنو و گلم لايمهاوس» اولين رماني است كه از پيتر اكرويد نويسنده مشهور و پركار انگليسي به فارسي ترجمه شده است. پيتر اكرويد متولد 1949، رماننويس مشهور انگليسي است كه در حوزههاي شعر، نمايشنامه و زندگينامهنويسي فعاليت داشته و شهرتي براي خودش به هم زده است.
منتقدان ادبي، رمانهاي پيتر اكرويد را بيشتر رمانهايي پستمدرن ميدانند؛ هر چند خود اكرويد چندان اعتقادي به اين موضوع ندارد، آنچنان كه چندان اعتقادي به گونههاي ادبي متفاوت ندارد. خواننده رمانهاي پيتر اكروي
Max Karpovets
Mar 09, 2014 Max Karpovets rated it it was amazing
Для мене це найкращий роман Пітера Акройда. Густа, насичена вікторіанськими мазками проза із прекрасним постмодерним перетворенням класичного юдейського-готичного міфу про голома - так би я назвав цей текст. Окрім того, тут присутні фірмові атрибути ерудиції Акройда: улюблений Лондон, містика, естетизм, врешті домислення історії. Одним словом, це такий вишуканий історичний вікторіанський нуар для обох вагових категорій: для любителів трилерів та Густава Майрінка. До того ж, на сторінках з*являют ...more
Maggie Roessler
Scrumptious! One of the best treatments that I have ever read of the fearful magic involved in acting and overall the theatrical life. - To act is to embody other creatures; one's whole life becomes a 'monypolylogue'. Elizabeth's life in the music halls with Dan Leno were vividly described and I loved all the bits of the old turns we got to read. Also, the Golem theme was fun - technology and abstract thought in general are envisioned as a kind of Golem feeding on the human souls of the city.

Perry Whitford
Oct 05, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Ackroyd has a tried and trusted method, where he researches a subject intimately, be it an epoch of history or a figure that enriched it, writes a factual book from his research, such as a history or a biography, then indulges his imagination by writing a fiction using the same material, only twisting it, conjoining it, making something new.

His commonest subjects are London and the Victorian era, both of which form the wellspring for Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, embellished by more es
Jul 18, 2014 Durdles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Ackroyd mines his encyclopaedic knowledge of the seedier side of Victorian London to combine genuine characters of the music halls, a series of gruesome murders and Karl Marx, as well as the birth of Charlie Chaplin. It's hard to tell where the genuine events end and the novel begins. Was George Gissing married to an alcoholic prostitute? Did Dan Leno unwittingly save Charlie Chaplin's mother's life? The notorious Red Barn and Marr family murders, which were perhaps the first "famous" murd ...more
Horia Ursu
Apr 09, 2016 Horia Ursu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too dark (and maybe a little too over-dramatic) for my taste, this was still a fascinating read, probably because of its excellent portrayal of Victorian London. As a reader, you don't get too attached to any of the characters and the whole plot is rather thin. But the period details are compellingly rendered and, if what you are looking for is immersion in the fictional world, this book definitely provides that.
Jun 15, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Number 1 of the Best Historical Fiction finished! This was about the Limehouse Murders in London in 1880. It reminded me of The Chicago World's fair book I read where a bunch of murders were committed, both by a "gentleman" whom no one suspected!
May 25, 2008 Diane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: British history/Victoriana, entertainment, social reform, murder mysteries
This book is awesome. I've read many of Ackroyd's works and they can be uneven, but the incredible cross-sections of Victorian England (as seen through the metaphor of those studying in the British Library reading room) with the world of music hall entertainment and a good old fashioned murder mystery (not to mention a fantastic use of nonlinear, "multimedia" storytelling) works beautifully. This is one of those books where saying just the wrong thing reveals it all, so I'll leave this spoiler-f ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-noir, london
Oh the misogyny, and there was no golem...
Jul 31, 2016 Gozde rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okudugum en edebi cinayet romaniydi :)
Ms Smith
Mar 28, 2016 Ms Smith rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable mixture of fact and fiction set in Victorian London in all its lurid, seedy glory. Quick read, kept my attention until the very end and a rather satisfying mystery story even if I had a bit of an inkling about the twist before it happened. Definitely a to-read if you enjoy fiction where historical characters crop up within historical events.
Mar 28, 2016 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, thriller, fiction
This is a fictitious story based on two real events, The Ratcliff Highway murders of 1811 and the trial of Florence Maybrick, convicted of murdering her husband in 1889. Intricately woven into the fabric of these two tales is a hodgepodge of some of the most literary minds of the times, including Karl Marx, George Gissing, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Dickens, as well as one of the most celebrated entertainers of the era, Dan Leno, who inspired Charlie Chaplin. The story centers around one Elizabeth ...more
Dan Pierce
Slightly overwritten (use of 10 words when 2 will do) but a very good story. Very atmospheric. Especially interesting to me for it's depiction of Victorian era Limehouse because it's where I live now.
Graham Powell
Feb 28, 2015 Graham Powell rated it really liked it
An unusual murder mystery, though up until the very end there doesn't seem to be much of a mystery about it. Ackroyd weaves together many strands in this portrait of 1880s England: the diary of a Ripper-like killer stalking the Limehouse district; the first-person narrative of a young woman who becomes a star performer in London's music halls; transcripts of that same woman's trial for poisoning her husband; and a third-person story following many historical figures of the day - author George Gi ...more
Caroline Selwyn-jones
Apr 18, 2014 Caroline Selwyn-jones rated it really liked it
l always find Peter Ackroyd worth reading, and this one is both typical and surprising. It's set in London in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and mixes a few historical figures with fictional characters. It can be read as crime fiction, but the setting is another source of enjoyment, and the shifting narrative perspective - first person, diary, court report - adds a "smoke and mirrors" appearance of reality in keeping with the world of music hall it presents. The denouement may come a ...more
Mar 11, 2008 Sharon marked it as to-read
Recommended by Ed.
Dec 27, 2014 Paulien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Victorian mystery. A very special mood cloaked this novel and makes it a very distinct read.

The author uses different narrative styles, different voices, yet each one is unique. A change in point of view or time is not announced, and it's not necessary either. I figured out the mystery pretty quickly, but that didn't take away any of the joy of reading.

I hope to read more of Peter Ackroyd soon. This book was truly, as the jacket says, unputdownable.

Nov 11, 2013 Jemma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Set in London in the 1880s, the novel starts with Elizabeth Cree being hanged for the murder of her husband. Throughout the story, we learn what tragic events led towards the demise of Elizabeth and Mr. Cree. One main piece of evidence is that a journal is found, written by John Cree, saying "It was a fine bright morning and I could feel a murder coming on".

We are shown how Elizabeth - or Lizzie of Lambeth Marsh as she was known when she was younger - is dragged up from poverty through fame, to
Dec 05, 2012 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. It reminded me that I do enjoy Ackroyd as an author, and thought that the writing style of this was much more accessible than the previous ones of his I've read. However, it also remined me why I don't read many mystery novels as I found the twist of this one rather obvious from half way through and as such was neither surprised nor shocked by the ending. It also reminded me the trouble with modern authors writing about the Victorian period, as they all seem to ...more
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Peter Ackroyd CBE is an English novelist and biographer with a particular interest in the history and culture of London.

Peter Ackroyd's mother worked in the personnel department of an engineering firm, his father having left the family home when Ackroyd was a baby. He was reading newspapers by the age of 5 and, at 9, wrote a play about Guy Fawkes. Reputedly, he first realized he was gay at the age
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