Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.
Today’s opening paragraph comes from Murder by the Book by Claire Harman which will be published later this month by Penguin Books UK and with a historical true crime with a literary twist, one that is highly anticipated by yours truly.
Early in the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-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 gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, but behind it was another story, a work of fiction, and a fierce debate about censorship and morality. Several of the key literary figures of the day, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, and when Lord William’s murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season’s most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed.
Bringing together much previously unpublished material from a wide range of sources, Claire Harman reveals the story of the notorious Russell murder case and its fascinating connections with the writers and literary culture of the day. Gripping and eye-opening, Murder by the Book is the untold true story of a surprisingly literary crime. Amazon
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First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro
1. A Last Walk
At six o’clock on the evening of 5 May 1840, a spare old gentleman of medium height and distinguished but unshowy appearance could have been walking a large white dog along Norfolk Street in Mayfair, just a few yards away from Hyde Park’s northeast corner. He didn’t go very far, nor proceed very fast. Lord William Russell was asthmatic and suffered from a hernia that made walking difficult. He was heading towards a house just off Grosvenor Square, to combine a message for an upholsterer, Mr Barry, with his routine airing before dinner.
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Well this starts well I think, a good setting of the scene with the soon to be murder victim taking his routine airing… It’s nice to meet him ‘before’ as I’ve found most in this genre seem to greet us with the corpse.
What do you think? Would you keep reading