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Lead book review

Ireland’s most notorious murderer still casts a disturbing spell

After months of conversations with Ireland’s most notorious murderer, Mark O’Connell got both more and less than he bargained for, says Frances Wilson

8 July 2023

9:00 AM

8 July 2023

9:00 AM

A Thread of Violence: A Story of Truth, Invention and Murder Mark O’Connell

Granta, pp.304, 16.99

Mark O’Connell was three years old when Malcolm Macarthur – a silken-tongued toff in a bow tie – went on his killing rampage in 1982, and 33 when he was released from prison in 2012. Eight years later, when he began this book, O’Connell describes stalking Macarthur around Dublin in the hope of securing the kind of interview that would cause Ireland’s most famous murderer to ‘tremble in terror and awe at the moral magnitude of his iniquity.

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