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Monday, April 3, 2017

Murder In Plain English by

Murder in Plain English: From Manifestos to Memes--Looking at Murder through the Words of Killers

Murder In Plain English
by Michael Arntfield and Marcel Danesi

ISBN 13: 9781633882539
335 Pages

Prometheus Publishing


Based on the synopsis of "Murder In Plain English" I thought, WOW - I'm gonna love this! Sadly, I did not. The authors call the study of crimes through language literary criminology. If that's what they are explaining in this book, I call it a literary mess. There's a little bit of information about a lot of killers and cases. From Jack the Ripper and Zodiac to OJ and JonBenet and lots of others in between. There are just too many cases in this short 274-page book to give each the time necessary to explain the literary connection. There are a lot of lists. I don't mind lists - IF there's more to it than reading definitions. Photos of some of the writings are included, To me, it seems the professors are trying to give literary weight to the ramblings of madmen. Poe was a literary genius. Even those who do not personally like his work can acknowledge the genius in his writings. The professors seem unable to see semiotic forensics through the eyes of others. Most authors make an effort to hide or at least minimize their bias. Not the professors. I expected to read the "writing," followed by an analysis that dissected the writing, followed by an understandable wrap-up connecting all the dots...Instead Murder in Plain English is littered with run-on sentences, frustratingly disjointed academic narrative told from a strongly biased perspective. It was a difficult read and hard to finish. The few writings I found interesting were not worth the effort. I am sorry to say I cannot in good conscience recommend this book.

It's rare for me to say "pass" - but, this didn't appeal to me. However, that certainly doesn't mean there isn't an audience for it. If you've read it and enjoyed it, leave a comment, share your perspective. All points of view are welcome.

Happy Reading,


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