Acquired Book By:
I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Inspector of the Dead” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Inspector of the Dead” direct from the publisher Mulholland Books (an imprint of Little, Brown and Company via Hachette Book Group, Inc.), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Whilst I was requesting to be placed on this blog tour, I requested a copy of the first book in the series “Murder as a Fine Art” as I have never read a story by David Morrell; blessedly I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Mulholland Books (an imprint of Little, Brown and Company via Hachette Book Group, Inc.) without being obligated to post a review, as my ruminations on behalf of this novel are for my own edification only.
Intrigued to Read:
I have been quite open about my passion for Cosy Mysteries, Cosy Historical Mysteries, Historical Suspense & Thrillers, inasmuch as a new directional curve to acquire a taste for what I refer to directly as ‘Cosy Horror‘ – an augmented slice of Horror’s original declarative section Psychological Suspense! How keen then, to discover within the opening pages of Murder As A Fine Art the mentioning of how this particular kind of suspense thriller was first spilt onto the page by Wilkie Collins (of whom I have earmarked to read during Horror October and of whom is listed on my tCC List!) You can further view my Story Vault’s classification system for genre-specific stories of which alight within my reading hours giving me the most joy a contented reader can ever hope to discover!
As a 2nd Year Book Blogger, it is quite interesting to realise I’ve started a new conversation about what constitutes ‘Cosy Horror’ and ‘Cosy Historical Mysteries’ as the terms were either under appreciated or not yet in use until I came onto the scene! I would love to claim both of them equally, but only ‘Cosy Horror’ could be linked to my creation as there was quite a heap of controversy surrounding ‘Cosy Historical Mysteries’ until I spent a considerable amount of time referencing what I believe it refers too and what it most decidedly doesn’t include as well.
Crime Fiction is a ready-at-hand section in Literature which whets a healthy thirst of interest because I love being able to step alongside the inspectors, detectives, as much as other curious sorts who dig through crime scenes and evidence to root out the truth of a crime which intellectually gives the reader a heap of sleuthing joy to read. I am not limited to appreciating reading about murder, suspense, and intrigue as I quite happily have become deeply attached to wicked sophisticated serials such as: Foyle’s War, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Sherlock, Rosemary & Thyme, Hetty Wainthroppe Investigates, NCIS, The Mentalist, Castle, Numbers, Murdoch Mysteries, The Pinkertons, Crossing Jordan, Inspector Morse & Lewis (*eager to meet Endeavour), Monk, Hart to Hart, Perry Mason, Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, Ironside, Quincy M.E., McMillan & Wife, Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone and the Thin Man movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy to name a few.
What a treat for me, to realise the harkening reality of where and when the changes in literature occurred to give us such an enriched history of Crime Fiction, Drama, and Suspense! I had a sense Gothic Literature would not be too far behind, and Morrell did not disappoint me, as the writers he was speaking about took their cues from the Gothic stylings of the past eras before them to curate a new level of suspense – sensationalism. The Victorian Era has held my eye of attention for many a moon throughout my reading life (originating in childhood), and it did not surprise me one whit the Victorians took credence of stock of ‘what’ would draw their blood to coil most would be the haunting reality of psychosis over paranormal attributes of the unknown. Most of the topics discussed would fit well within the dialogue and story-lines of Law & Order: SVU and this goes to prove the point, we have not progressed but regressed.
I am not normally one to find myself attached to the grittier tomes of Suspense, much less a story which is parallel to Jack the Ripper as far as character motivations go, yet I found myself drawn to Morrell’s stories all the same. Sometimes it’s the unexpected stories set within a ‘theme of interest’ that tempt us to explore outside our own literary wanderings that will find us either grateful for the experience or merely proving to be a test of our will before jumping back into the familiar territories we knowingly love. We could also find a curious balance where stepping outside our zones of comfort can lend a curious window into an ‘otherworld’ of psychological suspense! Noting to myself, I did get caught up inside a story about Jack the Ripper, and thus, this is my second ‘step’ outside the norm of where my wanderings lead me in Crime.
Curiosity is a bird of it’s own feather which leaves a reader a bit wanton for understanding what causes the curiosity in the first place! Some doors should not be opened nor explored, for what they give to the eyes and mind might be a bit much for the sensitive heart to endeavour to understand. Ah, such pickles we bookish souls entangle ourselves into at times, eh!? The artwork is a work of beauty, how the fog is a character of it’s own kind, and present on both book covers for this series of thrillers.
The history behind how (the real) Thomas De Quincey had the forethought and insight to become Freud’s own ally in the field of psychology is impressive enough, but it’s the level of which he took his journey to understand the under-notes of insanity and subconscious I must agree with Morrell (as viewed in his author’s commentary on behalf of De Quincey at the bottom of this review) he isn’t quite the moral figure to empathsis in most circles, but credit is due to him for understanding the darker side of humanity.
Book Synopsis of Inspector of the Dead:
David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD.
Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater,confronts London’s harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria.
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.
Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.
This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.
Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.
Places to find the book:
Series: The Thomas De Quincey Mysteries,
Published by Mulholland Books
on 24th March, 2015
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge