While listening to the iconic Clash album of the above noted name, realized that two novels that were recently read dealt with the same location. It was a reminder on how important London has been, and remains, to the English speaking world.
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell ~ for those that care, he has deep Canadian roots. Not only does the story take us back to Victorian London – and answer such questions as why is Scotland Yard in London anyway – but it also takes us back to a series of murders that occurred 40 years prior.
Night watchmen patrolled the streets then instead of ‘bobbies’ or ‘Peelers.’ Details of that nature are interesting to those of us who like history. The details might also get in the way of those looking for James Patterson style adventure – but as the French are continuously spoofed for saying: “You Americans want too much fast food.”
James Patterson teams up with Mark Sullivan in his 2012 bestseller – are not all his books bestsellers – Private Games. This novel was topical as it came out just prior to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
For Patterson he uses different geographic location; different hero; different reason why circumstance on why he is alone – widower with twins about to become three BUT…the same style and narrative to keep the pages turning and the sales streaming off the shelf.
Not sure if using London as the stomping grounds before and during the 2012 Olympics was popular with game officials. They can probably read it now and smile.
The current Olympics are about money, media, national jingoistic glory and money – oh we mentioned money? We, the public, also adore them. So many stories, so much sacrifice, so many ‘beautiful’ people – all cramped in limited space with limited time – it should become reality TV and we would lap if up for the 2 plus weeks 24 hours a day!
The good guys win – mostly. The bad guys lose – mostly. Patterson seems to have another winning series. Why does he not self publish? Why bother?
David Morrell’s Murder as a Fine Art was much more nuanced and full of interesting tidbits. Thomas De Quincey is highlighted. He was infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. He also is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.
Murder as a Fine Art delivers De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history, in a very lively and believable fashion. Fogbound streets, with squishy puddles become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked and interwoven, even if long buried.
The two books contrasted but complemented each other well. And nary a mention of a new heir to the throne this summer…..
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
From The Clash’s London Calling lyrics, songwriters: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon.
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