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review 2016-10-30 06:38
Book Review: The Invention of Murder
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders

Book: The Invention of Murder

 

Author: Judith Flanders

 

Genre: Nonfiction/Mystery/History of Murder/Victorian England

 

Summary: Murder in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, with cold-blooded killings transformed into novels, broadsides, ballads, opera, and melodrama - even into puppet shows and performing dog acts. Detective fiction and the new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other - the founders of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens’s Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell. In this meticulously researched and engrossing book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder, both famous and obscure: from Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fiancee around town by omnibus, to Burke and Hare’s body-snatching business in Edinburgh; from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedy of the murdered Marr family in London’s East End. Through these stories of murder - from the brutal to the pathetic - Flanders builds a rich and multifaceted portrait of Victorian society. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad, and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable. - St. Martin’s Press

 

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review 2016-10-30 05:50
Book Review: Careless People
Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby - Sarah Churchwell

Book: Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby

 

Author: Sarah Churchwell

 

Genre: Non-Fiction/Literary Criticism/F.Scott Fitzgerald/Biography

 

Summary: “May one offer in exhibit the year 1922!” exclaimed F. Scott Fitzgerald. “That was the peak of the younger generation, for though the Jazz Age continued, it became less and less an affair of youth.” A hinge point for the carefree American born out of the devastation of the First World War, 1922 was also a year that altered the direction of Fitzgerald’s own life - and the year in which he chose to set his masterwork, The Great Gatsby. The autumn of 1922 found the young novelist at the height of his fame, just twenty-six years old and publishing his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for the nation’s pleasure-hungry youth, Fitzgerald made his home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York - a city dizzyingly defiant of Prohibition, bursting with the nation’s expanding economy and growing ambitions. Those final incredible months of 1922 were full of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drinking and partying and quarreling at a frantic pace, all against the backdrop of financial crises, literary milestones, car crashes, and media scandals in the Jazz Age metropolis. That same autumn, a horrific crime engulfed the city and commanded the nation’s attention: a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, compounded by a preposterous police investigation and an array of celebrity-hungry suspects. Proclaimed the “crime of the decade”, the Hall-Mills murder case was never definitively resolved and has been almost wholly forgotten today. Yet the enormous impact of this bizarre crime reverberates through The Great Gatsby - a novel that Fitzgerald began planning in the autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year. Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a thrilling double narrative that reconstructs the farcical inquiry into a gruesome crime, as well as a passionate, scrupulous search for the roots of America’s best-loved novel. Overturning much of the received wisdom of the period, Careless People blends biography and history with lost newspaper accounts, letters, and newly discovered materials. With great wit and insight, acclaimed scholar of American literature Sarah Churchwell constructs a different framework for the novel we know so well, revealing new ways of thinking about the moment and the world that defined Scott Fitzgerald’s most consummate work. Most important, Churchwell offers fresh perspectives on the infamous relationship of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, providing for the first time a detailed account of their life at the end of 1922, when the couple’s legendary existence began to splinter, even as Fitzgerald’s marvelous novel began to emerge. Interweaving the biographical story of the Fitzgeralds with the unfolding investigation into the Hall-Mills case, Careless People is a thrilling combination of literary history and murder mystery, a mesmerizing journey into the dark heart of Jazz Age America. - The Penguin Press, 2013.

 

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review 2016-10-30 05:41
Book Review: The Invention of Murder
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders

Book: The Invention of Murder

 

Author: Judith Flanders

 

Genre: Nonfiction/Mystery/History of Murder/Victorian England

 

Summary: Murder in the nineteenth century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous, with cold-blooded killings transformed into novels, broadsides, ballads, opera, and melodrama - even into puppet shows and performing dog acts. Detective fiction and the new police force developed in parallel, each imitating the other - the founders of Scotland Yard gave rise to Dickens’s Inspector Bucket, the first fictional police detective, who in turn influenced Sherlock Holmes and, ultimately, even P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell. In this meticulously researched and engrossing book, Judith Flanders retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder, both famous and obscure: from Greenacre, who transported his dismembered fiancee around town by omnibus, to Burke and Hare’s body-snatching business in Edinburgh; from the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, to the tragedy of the murdered Marr family in London’s East End. Through these stories of murder - from the brutal to the pathetic - Flanders builds a rich and multifaceted portrait of Victorian society. With an irresistible cast of swindlers, forgers, and poisoners, the mad, the bad, and the utterly dangerous, The Invention of Murder is both a mesmerizing tale of crime and punishment, and history at its most readable. - St. Martin’s Press

 

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review 2014-11-09 01:28
Mr. W. Collins says to read it.
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders

This is one of those books that you read that gives you lists of more books to read.

 

                Flanders’ book is an analysis of how Victorian Society viewed murdered, as mostly seen in the literature (both high and low) of the time as well as in the media. She traces not only the rimes but the impact.

 

                It’s a pretty compelling read not only for the information it contains about the books of the time. Among other things she traces the development of infanticide as a crime, linking the change in law to the changing view of women. She raises some interesting points about class and gender as well as the purpose of confession.

 

                It’s the type of book where you keep taking notes.

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review 2013-08-30 00:00
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime - Judith Flanders Very dry. I tried to read the first 30 pages and got bored. I tried to skim the next 50 pages and got even more bored. I was excited to read this book but it was big let-down. Other books that are similar (but better) are The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower, and The Suspicions of Mr. Which by Kate Summerscale.
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