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A Very British Murder by [Worsley, Lucy]
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A Very British Murder Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"Worsley's book covers a great deal of ground...it provides an excellent overview of how the consumption of crime became a dominant part of our cultural landscape" (The Sunday Times)

"Worsley captures this bloody love affair very well" (The Independent)

"Worsley retells the stories of famous murderers and legendary criminals in delightfully readable language, with the occasional sharp, illuminating comment" (Literary Review)

Book Description

From Jack the Ripper to the cosy crimes of the Golden Age, renowned historian Lucy Worsley explores the evolution of the typical British murder, to accompany a new BBC series.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6641 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Digital (12 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F2K7O4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has been written to accompany a television series of the same name and does, as a consequence jump around a little in subject matter. The book begins and ends with discussion of an essay - the first being, "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts" by Thomas De Quincey and finishes with an appraisal of "The Decline of the English Murder" by George Orwell. This is not really about crime, as such, although many crimes are discussed - it is about how, especially since the nineteenth century, the British began to "enjoy and consume the idea of a murder."

De Quincey's essay uses the 1811 Ratcliffe Highway Murders as it's theme. Lucy Worsley takes us through the way crime was dealt with and the importance of the Ratcliffe Murders as a faceless, urban murder, which caused shockwaves throughout the country. In this book she looks at how murder became entertainment; involving sensational journalism, the theatre, tourism and detective fiction. The founding of an organised police force is discussed, the use of detectives, notorious crimes, 'Penny Bloods' (the forerunner of crime fiction) and forensic science. She also looks at crime fiction, from Dickens, to Sherlock Holmes and through the Golden Age of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers.

It is fair to say that this work does have some limitations; it is a little unfocused and tends to rely on the notorious and shocking, in a way which will probably have more impact on the screen than on the page. However, if you have an interest in true crime or crime fiction, then you will surely enjoy this. Lucy Worsley is an excellent writer and her enthusiasm for history and personal charm is enough to make this a worthwhile, fascinating and, keeping with her theme of an enjoyment in murder, an entertaining read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reasonably entertaining, I felt that A Very British Murder relied too heavily on Judith Flanders' earlier work to feel original; Worsley's book also feels a tad repetitive and disjointed, and is very obviously written as a television tie-in.

For all that, there is plenty to get your teeth into here, particularly in the earlier chapters (although as a fan of dark Victorian goings on, I may be a little biased). The later chapters focus a little too heavily on crime fiction for my tastes - I much preferred the sections of the book which dealt with crimes themselves, and the public appetite for them. These read like lively social history, thoroughly fascinating.

Worsley's enthusiasm for her subject is infectious, and she is an engaging author. However, this book is not one of her best, nor one of the best on this topic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very disappointed to find this is the same book as "the art of the english murder" with.a different title and cover.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic insight.. easy to read ..
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book
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By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was apparently written to accompany a BBC television series which I haven’t seen – I didn’t feel that this impaired my understanding or enjoyment of the book at all.

In this book the author attempts to describe for the reader the historical development in Britain of the idea of murder as entertainment. She discusses the growth in interest in headline grabbing murders from the late 18th century onwards. Following on from this she shows how the interesting real-life crime feeds into the development of crime fiction up until the so-called Golden Age before the Second World War.

This book is remarkably easy to read and fascinating in the material that it considers. I had never really thought before about how murder has become entertainment in this country but the author shows that particular aspect of the British character and culture. This is not a particularly deep book and should the reader wish to consider any of the points raised in-depth then they may need to look elsewhere for more details but as an overview this is a fascinating book written in an easy to read way.

The link between real-life crime and fictional crime was not obvious to me before I read this book but now it seems self-evident. The author considers a large number of real-life crimes although most of these are very well known and if you have any interest in the subject you will probably have read about them elsewhere. She is not looking at the actual crime or its investigation but how it is betrayed in the media and how ordinary people react to it - none of this is particularly edifying but nor is it surprising for those who read British tabloids.

The crime fiction considered here really concentrates on all that written before the Second World War.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great read for anyone like me who loves crimes, history and books as Lucy Worsley traces the history of our interest in murder over the last two hundred years. Prior to that she states that everyone was far more concerned with the everyday battles to feed and clothe themselves but with the rise in literacy levels amongst the population murder became a source of entertainment.

In researching the national obsession with murder the author gives some interesting facts and figures, who would have thought two and a half million people bought the `authentic' memoirs of murderess Maria Manning in 1849? Charles Dickens went on to fictionalise Maria in his novel Bleak House where she appeared as the murderous maid Hortense after he was part of a crowd of an estimated thirty thousand spectators to her hanging.

This book which starts by covering real murders which were written up into broadsheets to be sold by peddlers at fairs and executions, to covering those crimes used to inspire fiction and then, following the introduction of the first detectives their fictional counterparts began to flourish. The author explains the introduction of forensics in bringing the criminals to justice in a straightforward way although Silent Witnesses is essential reading to understand the history behind forensics. Maybe because it was originally written TV series the narrative does jump backwards and forwards a little at times but I still found it easy to follow the point the author was attempting to make in each of the twenty-four chapters.

The book looks at the lives of the authors who were part of the `Golden Age' of crime fiction including Dorothy L.
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