Friday, June 27, 2008

Review: Thunderstruck, by Erik Larson

Having read Devil in the White City, I was eager to read Thunderstruck. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. Like its predecessor, Thunderstruck follows the stories of two men: Marconi, a young and hotheaded inventor, and Crippen, an unassuming middle-aged man who murdered his wife Belle and took off with his mistress, Ethel, to escape detection by the police. She clearly had no knowledge of the murder and regarded their flight aboard the ship Montrose (with her dressed as a boy) as a great adventure. Using the Marconi wireless system, the ship's captain was able to notify the police of their presence on board his ship.

As with his previous book, Larson writes this one as though it's fiction, deftly interweaving the two stories together. I found the murder mystery to be especially intriguing. However, I thought Larson could have toned down all the scientific stuff in the parts about Marconi. And there could have been less focus on him and more on the Crippen case. It only so happened that Marconi's invention occurred around the same time that this case did, and it only so happened that the ship he and Ethel were on had the Marconi wireless system.

But in all I thought this book was well-written and, as evidenced by the Notes section in the back of the book, well-researched. Also, I thought it was interesting that Alfred Hitchcock used elements of the Crippen case in Rear Window.

Also reviewed by: Trish's Reading Nook, Bell Literary Reflections

1 comment:

Laura said...

This one sounds just as interesting as The Devil in the White City. I think I could force myself to pick up another non-fiction book if I knew it was going to be good! I'm happy to hear this one reads like fiction as well!

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