"Since Whicher was sure that the murderer was an inmate of the house, all his suspects were still at the scene. This was the original country-house murder mystery, a case in which the investigator had to find not a person but a person's hidden self. It was pure whodunnit, a contest of intelligence and nerve between the detective and the killer. Here were the twelve. One was the victim. Which was the traitor?"
--from The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale
Author: Kate Summerscale
Publisher/Publisher Date: Bloomsbury
Library/Bookstore: Amazon Kindle Store
Date Borrowed/Bought/Read: January 2012
What It's About (Summary from Good Reads):
The dramatic story of the real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction.
In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land.
At the time, the detective was a relatively new invention; there were only eight detectives in all of England and rarely were they called out of London, but this crime was so shocking, as Kate Summerscale relates in her scintillating new book, that Scotland Yard sent its best man to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher.
Why I Chose to Read It: I had heard about this horrific crime on Deadly Women (LOVE this show). It was also a Kindle daily deal!
Notes About the Book:
- I really liked how the author talked about the evolution of the detective mystery novel throughout the book. I'm going to have to check out The Moonstone, The Woman in White, and Bleak House sometime in the future. Apparently, Whicher was the inspiration behind many famous literary detectives (Inspector Bucket and Sergeant Cuff).
- I still can't believe that the police were dumb enough to get themselves locked inside the kitchen by the main suspect during their investigation.
- William Saville-Kent grew up to become a famous marine biologist. He also conducted the first experiments to create cultured pearls in Australia.
- I loved how the floorplans for the Kent house were included in the book.
Do I Recommend It? Yes. I thought it was really interesting, especially the trial part. Some parts are kind of dry, but overall, I really enjoyed it. It definitely makes me want to read more detective fiction.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher trailer--Paddy Considine plays Mr. Whicher.