Early in the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed.
The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, but behind it was another story, a work of fiction, and a fierce debate about censorship and morality. Several of the key literary figures of the day, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed.
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 expectations at all! I don’t want it to go exactly as I imagined or hope it will turn out! I want for it to surprise me, to excite me, to change my perspective and to give me new, better and broader scenery to add to my imagination. In a few words, I want a book that does exactly what Murder by the book did to me this past couple of days.
I never thought I would approach the non fiction nor true crime scene anytime soon; They are usually two genres that results too grown up and dry to me. I enjoy the idea of them and I will like them in time, but I have the feeling that I’m not quite there yet. So, how did I ended up requesting a non fiction crime novel? Well, the cover captured my eye, the synopsis had me hooked and I just had to have it. I realised only after I hit request what I had done and, let me tell you, it was one the best mistake of 2018!
The plot looks right out of an Agatha Christie Cover, the book feels like a warm night in your grandparents arm eating chocolate and listening to old stories. It’s a hit, it’s a classic, I love it.
C o n c l u s i o n s:
With this book Claire Harman manages not only to tell us about a murder and the consequent investigation but to outline perfectly the feelings of an era of changes. This book will suck you in since the very first page, and it will bring you with it in a journey of discoveries between testimonies and facts, where you will meet and/or hear from known and unknown personalities, and where you will feel changes of morality and temperature in the room that was London in the Victorian era.
Harman’s writing is smooth and the tone is familiar, it reads like an old friend, it feels like a warm bath and it intrigues you like a prohibited fruit. It’s the power of a literary genre that in its wake changes and disrupt society, creating a grey area that was never delineated before and in that grey area you can find this author, with a map in its hand ready to guide you through every nook and cranny. It’s simply brilliant, I want more.
– 6 / 5 ★ LOVED IT. –
Murder By the book is out today! What are you waiting for?
Your 2018 can’t be completed without this in your bookshelf!
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