The Art of Murder by Michael White

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The Art of Murder by Michael White

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A murderer in modern day Whitechapel seems to be a disciple of Jack the Ripper. Can Jack Pendragon find the killer before the bodies pile too high?
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0099551447

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Detective Chief Inspector Jack Pendragon has had a lot of experience of murder but he's never experienced anything like the one he was called to on a wintery January morning in Whitechapel. The man is horribly mutilated but he's held up in a chair and the scene has been set as a nod to the surrealist painter, Magritte. This is art as murder.

Back in Whitechapel in the 1880s the man who was probably the most famous murderer of them all. He's planned the murder of four local prostitutes with the bodies being horribly mutilated. Four, he feels, is a satisfyingly balanced number. This is murder as art.

The Magritte murder was just the first in a baffling series of modern art murders which would stretch Jack Pendragon and his team to the limit and whilst the twenty-first century murders were not directed exclusively at women there were some uncanny similarities in the mind-set of the perpetrators. Pendragon knows that he's facing a brilliant killer – and one that must be brought to book as soon as possible. As he immerses himself in the world of struggling and would-be artists, dealers with criminal connections and art journalists he realises that there are a lot of secrets to be uncovered and not all are relevant to the case.

To begin with I wasn't certain that the connection with Jack the Ripper was going to work for me but as time went on and same sadistically cruel traits became apparent Jack the Ripper's story, told in his own words in a letter became eerily compelling with some wonderful comparisons between Whitechapel then and now.

The plot is good, although I did work out who the murderer was quite early on. It's clever though, with plenty of clues and red herrings. The characters are engaging but nicely pitched so as to be a part of the story rather than to overwhelm it. It was an enjoyable read, although perhaps not one that I would want to read again.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We also have a review of The Kennedy Conspiracy by Michael White.

For more 'murder as art' have a look at Cut Her Dead by Iain McDowall. For more artistic killings, try The Art of Death by David Fennell.

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Buy The Art of Murder by Michael White at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Art of Murder by Michael White at


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