Reviewed by Jilles
Based on real-life murders in London in 1851, David Morrell, the father of the action thriller (he has written some of the best thrillers around like First Blood, The Fraternity of Stone, and The Brotherhood of the Rose) has re-invented himself with Murder as a Fine Art.
The story is set in the foggy and dirty London of 1854, where a new set of horrific murders are committed that seem to be a copy of the murders committed in 1851. Visiting London at the same time with his daughter is ‘opium eater’ Thomas De Quincey, famous author of the 1827 satirical essay ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’. De Quincey is not a figment of Morrell’s imagination but a real person, and his famous essay is real, too. Morrell uses these elements as part of the plot and rolls it all into this exceptional historical mystery that reads like an action thriller. He also structures the book like Collie Wilkins or Charles Dickens did at the time, where every chapter begins with a block of information that creates the setting of the following chapter. Learning about London and how people really lived in those times makes reading this novel so much more interesting.
This is a must-read for everybody who loves a great thriller, because they don’t come much better than from the computer of David Morrell. A couple of months ago a follow-up was published, Inspector of the Dead, where de Quincey and his daughter are off on another bloody adventure in grimy London.
More staff reviews can be found here.
An ebook of Murder as a Fine Art can be found here.