The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

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Raincoast Books, 2008 - Detectives - 360 pages
5 Reviews
t's 1860. Saville Kent, age three, is murdered in an outdoor privy. The crime horrifies England. It leads to a national obsession that turns the masses into amateur sleuths. Inspector Jonathan Whicher is Britain's best. He realizes right away that the murder was an inside job-and he sees who did it. But Victorians refuse to believe that one family member can kill another. Unable to prove his circumstantial case, Whicher returns discredited to London. Only five years later, he turns out to have been right. But Whicher's real legacy lives on in fiction. He becomes the model for the tough, intuitive detectives that we've loved ever since: the cryptic Sgt. Cuff in Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, the heroes of Law and Order and CSI. Now Kate Summerscale tells the story of the case that inspired the rise of the British mystery novel. This provocative true-crime story reads like a Victorian thriller.

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A great history lesson

User Review  - John K. - Borders

This is the perfect kind of non-fiction. It reads like a crime novel, but is full of well researched facts. Summerscale does a fantastic job of explain the context of the murder in both a historical ... Read full review

An enthralling look at a Victorian murder

User Review  - Chris Y., Asst Buyer - Borders

Inspector Jonathan Whicher of Scotland Yard was, at one time, one of the most fascinating men in England. One of the founders of Scotland Yard, he quickly became the most recognizable of their ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

KATE SUMMERSCALE (London) is former literary editor for the Daily Telegraph. Her book The Queen of Whale Cay was a London Times bestseller, won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Award for Biography.

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