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A Treasury of Victorian Murder

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Professor Wilson was the one who taught me Victorian Literature. He was quite good at it too.

Of course, you had to get used to the fact that he would take a 3 1/2 hour class, talk for three hours without a break, then send you home a half hour early. Once you learned not to drink a lot of liquids before his class, and that all his questions were rhetorical, you could settle in and start to enjoy his very dry humor and somewhat bashful retelling of victorian scandal.

He knew his stuff, and when you learned to listen, you learned a lot. I remember he told us a story of one victorian figure (can’t recall who) that had a fetish for women with strong arms. He left his wife and became involved with this cleaning woman who had very well developed muscles in her arm. However, the gentleman did not actually become intimate with this cleaning woman, much to her frustration.

I don’t remember exactly, but I have the impression it ended in some sort of murder. I do remember exactly how Professor Wilson would tell the sordid details with excruciating delicacy and yet with absolute relish and scandalized delight.

When I ran across the graphic novel A Treasury of Victorian Murder by Rick Geary, the idea fit in very well with my concept of Victorian times. The artwork was a wonderful combination of cute and sinister, perfect for the subject. Geary shows all the nice little details of dress and furnishings that gladden the hearts of Victorians, but he shows the terrifying evil faces of the murders that would satisfy the judgemental souls.

The book is not very long, but it is only one in a series. Geary tells the stories in a journalistic, factual way. He lets his pictures build the drama.

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