Monday, February 10, 2014

Literary Murderers

Expect a surprisingly large body count from Dickens, Dumas, Kipling, even Thackeray, and, of course, Doyle. Follow the link to the entire article:
In a very good sensational story which we read in manuscript a few weeks ago we found some things which we believe to be absolutely new in picturesque assassination in fiction. In this story the man murdered is so surrounded by friends and apparently so completely shut off from any danger that the most ingenious reader will be utterly at a loss to guess how the assassin could possibly have reached him. Yet the explanation is comparatively simple, and probably without a parallel in fiction.
It would be unfair to the author of the book, which will probably be published some time this year, to say anything more than this; but thinking of it calls attention to the variety of devices to which novelists resort to put their characters out of the way when such suppression is necessary.
When it is a case of assassination for dramatic effect, the more outre and ghastly the method used, the keener the reader's sensations; so the clever thrill-maker usually avoids commonplace means of slaying and is careful to bespatter the scene freely with blood, or else to introduce something uncanny, like a subtle poison or some venomous reptile. . . . — "Chronicle and Commentary: Some Assassins of Fiction," THE BOOKMAN (April 1903)

Categories: Detective fiction, Literature

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