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
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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User Review  - wisewoman - LibraryThing

Couldn't finish this. I borrowed the audiobook version from the library and while Kate Summerscale's writing is smooth and crisp, presented in an excellent narration by Simon Vance, I couldn't get ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CandaceVan - LibraryThing

An extremely well-researched account of an infamous crime, it's denouement, and the secrets that may yet have remained to be unravelled. This is not just a true-crime story -- it is the story of the ... 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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