Friday, 8 January 2010

THE DIARY OF A MURDER BY LEE JACKSON





The Diary of a Murder is the latest Victorian crime novel by the acclaimed author Lee Jackson (see left). Unlike Lee's six previous novels, this story has been published online as an e-book. You can read it by clicking onto this link, and what's more it is absolutely free though if you enjoy it - and the VV is sure that you will - you can, at your own discretion, make a donation via Paypal. Alternatively, and for a nominal fee, Lee will supply an electronic version suitable to be read on Kindles etc. And, if you would still prefer a paper copy, Lee may be producing a small 'on demand' print run. Please see his website for details.

Lee's first novel, London Dust (published in 2003) was nominated for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award. At fantasticfiction the novel is described as 'a powerful evocation of the underbelly of Victorian London, full of flavour, completely convincing and utterly gripping.'

Much the same can be said for The Diary of a Murder. It certainly hooked the VV, keeping her reading well into the night.

Lee Jackson's own summary is as follows -

Jacob Jones is a respectable clerk at the Crystal Palace Company, with a pretty young bride and a delightful new home in Islington. When his wife is murdered, everything points to his guilt, even a handwritten confession.
   

But the police discover Jacob Jones's diary, which tells a different story. They learn of a husband trying to bury his sordid past; a wife afflicted by a deep personal tragedy; an unlikely love affair that leads to a fatal conclusion.
  

Is Jones' diary a confession? An attempt to exonerate himself? A study in madness? Read the police investigation — read the diary itself — and uncover the truth.

The VV is restraining herself from giving a more thorough review - simply because to do so would detract from the mystery that Lee Jackson has woven so skilfully. She will say that Jacob is a complex character - a lowly paid clerk with literary aspirations, and a man who, despite his own pious pretensions, finds the restraints of married life to be increasingly irritating.


A house in Claremont Square, Islington - one of the settings in The Diary of a Murder
There is some wonderful scene setting. The author conveys the nation's shock at the sudden death of Prince Albert. We follow Jacob through bustling streets where shops sell all manner of Christmas gifts. When the family sit around to tell ghost stories, we hear Jacob scoff at the ridiculous notion of a story about a haunted train - a clever and knowing 'Dickensian' touch. We see the newly-built houses on the streets and squares of Islington, as well as a darker, claustrophobic world inhabited by the drunken and prostitutes.

But then, Lee Jackson knows a great deal about Victorian London having compiled his own vast compendium, The Victorian Dictionary. If you haven't already discovered this site, the VV strongly recommends a visit - and for those who prefer to read a hard copy, the dictionary is available in book form - and if that's not enough to whet your appetite, you can also follow Lee's blog which is, rather charmingly, called The Cat's Meat Shop.

And finally, if you do read the book, Lee Jackson welcomes any feedback. Again, you can contact him via his website - or you can leave a comment here.



P.S. This post has been linked to Nicola Morgan's blog which is one year old today. Congratulations to Nicola/ the Crabbit Old Bat who is generous, forthright and helpful in her posts about the world of writing and publication. If you are an aspiring author, whatever the genre or period you've chosen, the VV recommends Nicola's words of common sense advice. 

http://www.helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/ .











24 comments:

  1. Oh, this sort of book makes my fur go out in all directions! Victorian London was definitely a very dangerous place!

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  2. Just found you via Nicola's 'birthday party'. Your blog looks very interesting and that seems like a fascinating book.

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  3. Hiya,
    I LOVE your blog! And I'm sorry I've not visited it properly before - my loss. Great post about Lee - I totally take my hat off to him. And well done you for flagging it up.
    Susiex

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  4. Lovely to find a real specialist's blog that also appeals to novices of the genre / field. There's something increidbly compelling about Victorian London, isn't there? And you've certainly made me want to read that book - the cover is fab, for a start.

    I've written historical fiction for teenagers, though I'm focusing on modern stuff just now, but I'll certainly recommend your blog to any historical writers of that period, or just anyone wanting a good delve.

    See you on twitter!

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  5. Thanks for putting this link on Nicola's site, VV! Just saying hello as I bookmark it for the future.

    Penny Dolan

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  6. Just found you from Nicola's blog.

    The Victorian Dictionary sounds very cool. I like history, and though I don't focus on any one period in particular, victorian is always fascinating. I just finished reading "Dancers at the End of Time" which is science fiction take from victorian times.

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  7. I, too, have just discovered you via Nicola's blog.

    How have I missed you? I am a virtual Victorian, too.

    I live in a converted chapel (circa 1855) and I just love anything Victorian, the engineering, the people, the architecture, the literature and fashions (which I've studied. I'm pretty hot on the development of the bustle. Show me a bustle and I'll tell you the year!Sad, I know.)

    My historical romance (set between 1838 and 1848) to be published in April, has been described as 'a rich slice of Yorkshire Victoriana.' No bustles, of course, and the crinoline is as yet a twinkle in Mr Worth's eye.

    I am so pleased I've found you. You are now in my Favourites.

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  8. My goodness - so many lovely comments. Thank you, one and all...and thank you to Nicola Morgan - what a wonderful idea to get this blogparty rolling.

    Lost Wanderer - I'll look into that book - I've just finished The Difference Engine which is also a SF take the Victorian era.

    And, Sally - my daughter also lives in a Victorian chapel. I hope to blog about it at some time. Also, congratulations on your soon to be published book. I'm hoping to post more regularly on 'fabrications' as well as the Facts and Fancies - so would love to take a look at that...

    Essie

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  9. As I looked through the blogs of visitors to Nicola's party, your title leapt out. I've just started researching the sequel to a novel of mine which will be published later this year. It's my first historical and it's set in the Aberdeen of 1840. And lo and behold, right away in this posting about Lee's book, there's a link to his Victorian London site as well as lots of others in past postings that I look forward to reading. I'm really glad to have found you.

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  10. Bill - welcome to the site. I hope you'll find some interesting snippets and inspiration for your Victorian novel.

    Essie

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  11. Came here via Nicola M's blog party. Fascinating place you have here. May well drop in again!

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  12. Hi Lee! Thanks for dropping by my blog via Nicola Morgan - I was intrigued by your user name and of course I had to check yours out! It didn't disappoint.

    Can't wait to learn more about your book.

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  13. Hi, I am jumping from Nicola's blog and as an amateur Victorian England lover, I am loving what you have as dedication to the time line. I only wish to expand my knowledge about it, but time is always against such exploration. These novels sound like a delightful read, which offer an amazing look into the atmosphere.

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  14. Just hopping from Nicola's to say hi and what a great blog...becoming a follower so that I can have a proper read through when I've finished all this hopping and jumping from blog to blog!

    Katie x

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  15. Thank you Marsha, Harry and Katie.

    Essie

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  16. Love the look of your blog. I'm like Katie, hopping and jumping from blog to blog and adding myself as a follower to the ones I like so I can keep up later at a slower pace! Look forward to following your blog!

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  17. I'm visiting from Nicola's blog party. What a lovely blog! I'm so glad I came by.

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  18. I like this. I'm bookmarking your blog in my Minis - Victorian folder. I like to do miniatures in addition to writing (found you at Nicola Morgan's blog) and the history stuff is fascinating to me. I'd like to write a book set in Victorian America someday.

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  19. And hello to Karen, Sarah and Elizabeth! Welcoem and I do hope you'll come back again.

    Elizabeth - Victorian America is an amazing 'place'. I would love to write something in that setting and, in fact, am pondering an idea at this very moment though I won't have time to start for a while - nevertheless, there will be some items coming up in the blog with regard to an amazing woman I have come across in my research.

    Essie

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  20. Hello - Just on a belated Nicola's birthday blog tour and I couldn't resist the name of your blog.
    Can't believe it has passed me by for so long. I'll be back to lurk and learn.

    Thank you

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  21. Ooh, your blog is really LOVELY. Beautiful writing and layout and illustrations and just - everything! I am in awe.

    I love the cute New Year card with the - hmm, what is he? A potato? (I see there has been debate on this point already!)

    No time for proper look now but will definitely be back!

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  22. Jane - how kind, and very much appreciated. I do hope you will come back now and then.

    Best wishes.

    Essie

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  23. Just popped by from Nicola's party. Loved your blog, so I intend to follow it properly. Aren't parties fun!!!

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