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Murder by the book: the crime that shocked Dickens's London

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"Enthralling . . . A page-turner that can hold its own with any one of the many murder-minded podcasts out there." --Jezebel From the acclaimed biographer--the fascinating, little-known story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: Can a novel kill? In May 1840, Lord William Russell, well known in London's highest social circles, was found with his throat cut. The brutal murder had the whole city talking. The police suspected Russell's valet, Courvoisier, but the evidence was weak. The missing clue, it turned out, lay in the unlikeliest place: what Courvoisier had been reading. In the years just before the murder, new printing methods had made books cheap and abundant, the novel form was on the rise, and suddenly everyone was reading. The best-selling titles were the most sensational true-crime stories. Even Dickens and Thackeray, both at the beginning of their careers, fell under the spell of these tales--Dickens publicly admiring them, Thackeray rejecting them. One such phenomenon was William Harrison Ainsworth's Jack Sheppard , the story of an unrepentant criminal who escaped the gallows time and again. When Lord William's murderer finally confessed his guilt, he would cite this novel in his defense. Murder By the Book combines this thrilling true-crime story with an illuminating account of the rise of the novel form and the battle for its early soul among the most famous writers of the time. It is superbly researched, vividly written, and captivating from first to last.
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ISBN:
9780525520399
9780525520405
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work IDbe73a088-b97c-b9a3-5603-046871ead5b7
Grouping Titlemurder by the book the crime that shocked dickenss london
Grouping Authorclaire harman
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2020-09-27 04:16:50AM
Last Indexed2020-09-27 04:25:27AM
Novelist Primary ISBNnone

Solr Details

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Santa Fe Public Library On Order
display_description"From award-winning biographer Claire Harman, [this book] is the fascinating story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: Can a novel kill? Early in the morning of May 6, 1840, on a highly respectable Mayfair street, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed. The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was soon gripped by the crime's gory details -- and panicked by its significance. For behind the Russell murder was another story, the part played in the crime by the season's most sensational novel, Jack Sheppard, the saga of an unrepentant thief who escaped from justice time and again. The book, by William Harrison Ainsworth, had already sparked a crime wave in the capital, and when Lord William's murderer claimed to have been corrupted by the tale, it ignited a fierce debate about writers and morality that drew Dickens and Thackeray, both at the beginning of their careers, into the fray. Harman combines a riveting whodunit with a literary scandal that involved the most famous writers of the day. Impeccably researched and beautifully crafted, Murder by the Book is an utterly beguiling read that sheds new light on a notorious historical mystery and the enigmatic path from virtue to the gallows."--Dust jacket. "From the prize-winning biographer -- the fascinating, little-known story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: can a novel kill? In May 1840, Lord William Russell, well known in London's highest social circles, was found with his throat cut. The brutal murder had the whole city talking. The police suspected Russell's valet, Courvoisier, but the evidence was weak. And the missing clue lay in the unlikeliest place: what Courvoisier had been reading. In the years just before the murder, new printing methods had made books cheap and abundant, the novel form was on the rise, and suddenly everyone was reading. The best-selling titles were the most sensational true-crime stories. Even Dickens and Thackeray, both at the beginning of their careers, fell under the spell of these tales--Dickens publicly admiring them, Thackeray rejecting them. One such phenomenon was William Harrison Ainsworth's Jack Sheppard, the story of an unrepentant criminal who escaped the gallows time and again. When Courvoisier finally confessed his guilt, he would cite this novel in his defense. Murder By the Book combines the thrilling true-crime story with a illuminating account of the rise of the novel form and the battle for its early soul between the most famous writers of the time. It is a superbly researched, vividly written, fascinating read from first to last"--
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publishDate2019
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ils:.b15223413BookBooksFirst American edition.EnglishAlfred A. Knopf, [2019]252 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 22 cm.
overdrive:d381e2e1-2fc0-445b-be78-6c61f19a715eeBookeBookEnglishKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group2019
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subject_facetAinsworth, William Harrison, -- 1805-1882. -- Jack Sheppard
Courvoisier, François Benjamin, -- -1840 -- Trials, litigation, etc
Homicide
Murder -- England -- London
Murder in literature
Russell, William, -- Lord, -- 1767-1840
True crime stories
title_displayMurder by the book : the crime that shocked Dickens's London
title_fullMurder by the Book The Crime That Shocked Dickens's London
Murder by the book : the crime that shocked Dickens's London / Claire Harman
title_shortMurder by the book
title_subthe crime that shocked Dickens's London
topic_facetAinsworth, William Harrison
Biography & Autobiography
Courvoisier, François Benjamin
History
Homicide
Murder
Murder in literature
Nonfiction
Russell, William
Trials, litigation, etc
True Crime