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Download The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock, by Lucy Worsley, Anne Flosnik Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lucy Worsley, Anne Flosnik Narrator: Anne Flosnik Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to the cozy crimes of the golden age, renowned historian Lucy Worsley explores the evolution of the traditional English murder—and reveals why we are so fascinated by this sinister subject.

Murder—a dark, shameful deed—is the last resort of the desperate or a vile tool of the greedy, as well as a very strange, very English obsession. But where did this fixation develop? And what does it tell us about ourselves?

In The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley explores this phenomenon in forensic detail, revisiting notorious crimes like the Ratcliff Highway Murders, which caused a nationwide panic in the early nineteenth century, and the case of Frederick and Maria Manning, the suburban couple who were hanged after killing Maria’s lover and burying him under their kitchen floor. Our fascination with crimes like these became a form of national entertainment, inspiring novels, plays, prose, paintings, poetry, and true-crime journalism. At a point during the birth of modern England, murder entered the national psyche, and it’s been a part of us ever since.

The Art of the English Murder is a unique exploration of the art of crime—and a riveting investigation into the English criminal soul by one of our finest historians.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lucy Worsley’s lively book…traces the growth of this industry through some of the era’s most avidly followed killings. Her goal isn’t to provide a history of crime or crime writing but to show how the British enjoyed and consumed the idea of murder…A bonus of The Art of the English Murder is Worsley’s interest in women writers, partly the grandes dames of the 1920s and ‘30s like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, but also several whose work has been forgotten.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Worsley’s book covers a great deal of ground and provides an excellent overview of how the consumption of crime became a dominant part of our cultural landscape.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Worsley captures this bloody love affair very well.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Worsley retells the stories of famous murderers and legendary criminals in delightfully readable language, with sharp, illuminating comments.”

    Literary Review (London)

  • “This book is a delightful romp through the most iconic staples of Victorian life: Sherlock Holmes, Madame Tussaud’s waxworks, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I recommend reading this at night with a strong cup of tea. Just keep your lights on, and the doors locked.”

    Sun News (Miami)

  • “A brief, absorbing history lesson on how the UK’s obsession with bloody deeds changed not only methods of law enforcement but fertilized the roots of modern popular culture.”


  • “[A] lively, lucid, and wonderfully lurid history…Worsley’s study takes a literary spin as she traces the emergence of detective fiction from its roots in the mid-Victorian ‘sensation’ novel. She dwells at length on the genre’s ‘golden age’…and subsequently shows how detective fiction gave way to the darker American-style thriller of the Cold War era. Worsley’s vivid account excites as much as its sensational subject matter, and edifies, too, thanks to her learned explications.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[A]fascinating account…This riveting cultural history will enthrall fans of British crime novels as well as readers of true crime.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Readers’ initial apprehension that this might be just another list of sensational crimes, trials, and public hangings quickly fades as the author exhibits her exceptional knowledge of social and literary England. Her position as chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, which manages the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and other significant British sites, gives her a broad supply of informative resources. Simply put, murder was the TV of the Victorian era, an escape from everyday woes—of which there were plenty…Worsley ably shows how audiences drove writers, actors, and purveyors of news to satisfy their morbid curiosities.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Anne Flosnik delivers this excellent overview at a distance, standing slightly apart from the sensational crimes she’s recounting. Her dispassionate narration focuses on the Brits’ morbid preoccupation with trials and public executions without exaggerating the melodrama inherent in the theatrical details. An able guide, Flosnik navigates the years from 1800-1946 via gory newspaper items, garish ‘penny dreadfuls’ based on real crimes, and the rise of true-crime journalism. As a bloodthirsty English public clamored for even more, a new genre, mystery/detective fiction, offered opportunities for masters such as Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Arthur Conan Doyle.”


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About the Author

Lucy Worsley, PhD is chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in England.