Murder is Everywhere- Books of Intrigue and Mystery!

I’ve been on a true crime podcast kick for a while now, but it seems particularly appropriate with Halloween approaching! I don’t know that I am the best person to hear and read about murder; I’m a bit of a chicken, and I still don’t understand how a person could have it in them to take the life of someone else. However, I do find the explanations and theories that are posited and presented to be fascinating. Today’s posts is a few books that look at murder in it’s different forms! I have read one, am in the middle of another, and will be reading the third next- it’s a true crime kind of time, mysteries, death, and murder! 


The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley

I wrote about the The Art of the English Murder back in May, I read it on the way to Banff! Based on Lucy Worsley’s BBC three part series, A Very British Murder, this book looks at the English fascination with murder and the development of methods of murder in England. This is a great read for anyone who doesn’t like to read anything terribly grotesque or bloody (aka, me)! Lucy has a brilliant way with words, and she brings life to everything. She discusses over a dozen different murders, from conspiracies to poisons to affairs gone wrong. I don’t know that the English murder anymore than any other nationality, but it does seem to have a particular place in popular culture and social history. Perhaps because murder stands out from the stereotypical quiet English manner? For whatever reason, pick this up for a gruesome but interesting look at murder!
Massey Murder Charlotte Gray
The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Nation, Charlotte Gray

Now we jump across the pond to Canada, Toronto specifically. This book was released in 2013 and has been a bestseller in Canada, I’m guessing partially because Canadian authors are strongly promoted and partially because murder isn’t that common in Canada. I’m roughly 1/3 of the way in, and it’s quite interesting thus far. I knew from reading reviews that it is less an examination of the murder and more of an overview of life in Toronto in the 1910s- while there isn’t a ton of information about the murder itself, Gray includes the context of the Massey family, the suffragette movement, and middle class society in Toronto. I think that all too often examinations of murder often focus on the grisly details of the murder but not so much on the overall context. My next book post will feature my review!

Pretty Jane Paul Thomas Murphy

Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The Unsolved Murder that Shocked Victorian England, Paul Thomas Murphy

I spotted this book when I was grabbed The Massey Murder from the shelf at the library, and it grabbed my attention. A young woman was brutally beaten in London, fell into a coma and died in less than a week- the identity of the perpetrator is still unknown, but Murphy sets out to make a case. I had never heard of this particular case, and I am excited to give it a try. It’s not overly long, and my quick glances through the chapter listings show that he covers the context and not only the crime. My next book post will also include my review of Pretty Jane!

I’ve only recently started actually reading true crime books, and I’m finding that I’m only really drawn to those a hundred years older or more. I’m going to chalk that up to my historical training and focus. I also like to read those that have a resolution, I will spend far too much time trying to figure out whodunnit if it isn’t solved (which I’m learning from the podcasts I’m listening to). Tomorrow’s post will be looking at podcasts and television shows of the same theme, if you are not as much of a reader.

Please share any historical true crime recommendations that you might have, I’m open to trying to anything that isn’t overly bloody!


Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

4 thoughts on “Murder is Everywhere- Books of Intrigue and Mystery!

  1. Charlotte Graham October 10, 2016 / 10:57 am

    I’m with you — I detest blood and guts, and it is unfathomable to me how anyone could take someone else’s life. That said, these reads sound pretty fascinating! Especially the first one. Thanks for the recommendations!


  2. georgie259 October 10, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about an unresolved murder mystery, I need the closure!

    If you’re not into blood and guts, I’ve recently got into psychological thrillers (still involving a murder mystery) although there’s probably less of those that are over 100 years old with enough detail to be truthful. The only thing that springs to mind is ‘The Interpretation of Murder’, have you read that?


    • anhistorianabouttown October 11, 2016 / 10:12 pm

      I haven’t, but it looks brilliant!! My only knowledge of Freud is from a first year Psych class and Jung is from AP English- I’m intrigued to read of them in a thriller!! Thank you for the recommendation 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Janice Wald October 10, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    I met you in the Community Pool. I often write about how to get traffic from Pinterest. I have a group board I’d be happy to invite you to. It’s a perk for my blog followers. If you could take just a moment to sign up, I’d be happy to send you the invitation and the information about how you can access Pinterest group boards.


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