*Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2019*
'A fascinating portrait of Victorian London' Observer
'I devoured it in one sitting' Alison Weir
'Excellent' Dan Snow
Early on the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street, the elderly Lord William Russell was discovered in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed.
When Lord William's assassin claimed to having been inspired by a recent sensational novel, it sent shock waves through literary London, and drew both Dickens and Thackeray into the fray. The crime, the investigation, the city's fevered fixation and the mores of the Victorian age are all brilliantly evoked and scrutinized in Claire Harman's spellbinding account of a surprisingly literary crime.
'A scandalous Victorian mystery' Guardian
'Fascinating, entertaining. Harman's tale is never less than rip-roaring' Daily Telegraph
'Vivid and punchy' Spectator A brilliant piece of literary detective work * Evening Standard * [A] scandalous Victorian mystery... Harman tells the story with clarity and vigour * Guardian Book of the Day * Vivid and punchy * Spectator * [Harman] is a storyteller, with a sense of pace and timing, relish for a good scene and a wry sense of humour * Economist * [A] riveting investigation into a transgression that scandalised the literati of Victorian London in 1840. An engrossing fireside festive treat * The Bookseller * This beautifully produced and impressively researched historical account of a celebrated Victorian murder with a literary twist reads like a thriller. I devoured it in one sitting, and was at once enthralled and chilled. Highly recommended! -- Alison Weir A fascinating portrait of Victorian London amid the rising popularity of the novel * The Observer * A riveting investigation into a true and vicious murder that shocked Victorian London * Woman & Home * A fascinating account.... As Harman skilfully reveals, the real story behind the famous murder is the complex one about the harmful influence of fiction on the mind of the reader. * The Times * The book's heft lies in its rich detail...characters and settings are so vivid that Murder By The Book will surely soon be snatched up by television producers seeking their next Victorian crime drama * Daily Mail * Harman resists sensationalising the murder... Instead, she offers a long view of the circular relationship between crime and literature * New Statesman * There is enough ambiguity in the story of Russell's end to satisfy even the most ardent lovers
Murder by the Book