A very well-written historical fiction murder mystery! What makes this so well done is how much information you gain about Victorian England as you read, without it seeming as if you are having a history lesson. Morrell provides specific details that effortlessly fit in context and situation, making them a part of the story rather than a sidestep.
In 1854, Thomas de Quincey's last installment of "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts" was published, providing a shockingly gory account of the notorious East End murders, which occurred in the early 1800's. So when some similar murders begin taking place and because of his other scandalous essay "Confessions of an Opium Eater", de Quincey is a natural suspect. Fortunately for him, de Quincey has on his side London's Inspector Ryan and his own equally outstanding daughter, Emily.
In this novel, de Quincey delves into the mind of a serial killer and explains Murder as a Fine Art. While trying to outsmart the "artist" he is constantly battling the haunting effects of his opium addiction. His brilliant daughter provides support, but is also a swashbuckler in her own right. She is a smart, sassy, daring character, if not a bit rebellious. Inspector Ryan and Constable Becker add some level-headedness to the mix and all bases are covered to solve the mystery.
If you liked The Pale Blue Eye and The Alienist, then read this one too!