Carol edited the summary of Murder as a Fine Art Thursday, July 25, 2013.
Crime fiction. Historical fiction. Thriller. Police procedural. All can describe Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell, author of at least twenty-nine novels and six non-fiction books, including First Blood and Rambo. Despite his success as an author, Murder As A Fine Art is my first experience with Morrell.The book, set in 1854 London, was inspired by the works of author Thomas De Quincy, who is most well known for a series of essays Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which was later published as a book. The essays are autobiographical, and tell the story of a life lived mostly while addicted to opiates. At the time, in Victorian England, a book so open about addiction and life's hardships was very rare. However, it was the essay entitled On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts, in which De Quincy satirically detailed a series of murders in 1811, that inspired Mr. Morrell's novel.Mixing the De Quincy's account in On Murder with De Quincy's experiences described in Confessions, Mr. Morrell wove an intricate web of fact and fiction to produce Murder As A Fine Art. In it, there is a murder of a shop-keeper and his family that appear to be copies of the 1811 murders. Coincidentally, the murders occur as De Quincy, who normally lives in Edinburgh, is in London promoting his work. London Detective Inspector Ryan suspects De Quincy after learning that the crime scenes are so similar to the book written by him, particularly because of the passion, knowledge, and lightheartedness in which On Murder is written. However, Det. Inspector Ryan quickly comes to believe differently and works hard with De Quincy, his daughter Emily, and ambitious London Constable Becker to find and stop the real killer.