[EPUB] ✰ The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective Author Kate Summerscale – Publitags.co

The Dramatic Story Of The Real Life Murder That Inspired The Birth Of Modern Detective Fiction In June OfThree 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 LandAt 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 Whicher Quickly Believed The Unbelievable That Someone Within The Family Was Responsible For The Murder Of Young Saville Kent Without Sufficient Evidence Or A Confession, Though, His Case Was Circumstantial And He Returned To London A Broken Man Though He Would Be Vindicated Five Years Later, The Real Legacy Of Jonathan Whicher Lives On In Fiction The Tough, Quirky, Knowing, And All Seeing Detective That We Know And Love Today From The Cryptic Sgt Cuff In Wilkie Collins S The Moonstone To Dashiell Hammett S Sam Spade The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher Is A Provocative Work Of Nonfiction That Reads Like A Victorian Thriller, And In It Kate Summerscale Has Fashioned A Brilliant, Multilayered Narrative That Is As Cleverly Constructed As It Is Beautifully Written


10 thoughts on “The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

  1. says:

    So disappointing I was hoping for another Devil in the White City but, what I got was Devil in the over researched, meandering, dull city Poor Mr Whicher From the beginning we are promised a story about this interesting man and the case that brought him down This was a man who influenced all the famous literary detectives from Sherlock Holmes to Philip Marlowe But, we never got to know him He never had a voice And frankly, the guy on the page would have a hard time influencing anything Actually, none of the characters came to life Too much time was spent quoting the novels that were influenced by this case and very little on presenting the actual story in a readable fashion This read like a dry, overly ambitious thesis paper I applaud the research that went into this book, I just wish that at least half of that energy went into writing the book instead of just organizing the findings into chapters I love nonfiction of all styles I think this suffers from misleading marketing It s not a non fiction book that reads like fiction , like the above mentioned Devil Poor, poor Mr Whicher I guess his story will remain being told in The Woman in White and other mystery novels.


  2. says:

    SuspicionThis is a version of the true murder investigation, which occurred in Road Hill House on 30th June 1860 in Rode in Wiltshire The death of 3 year old Francis Savill Kent became a national outrage and a widespread public condemnation towards the middle class lifestyles and values What went on behind closed doors What can money and social class cover up What was fact, was that behind locked doors the murder occurred and the murderer was one of the household staff or family Mr Jonathan Whicher was a confident, self assured detective that was assigned to the case A case that became recognised as the first to generate national public attention The case was brought to the masses through newspaper coverage and generated probing debates between those that felt the lives of respectable families shouldn t be exposed to the public, and those that questioned what went on in middle class houses that seemed to have immunity from the law.The detail in the investigation was very methodically presented, and of course, it was very difficult to prove who the killer was, however, the suspicions of Jonathan Whicher are well outlined It certainly had a long term effect on the household staff and family, who were under considerable strain with the level of suspicion and rumours that circulated There was a confession in the end but that may have been only half the guilty party The book proceeds in a documentary style but very well linked and flows seamlessly.What is also interesting beyond the case itself, is that Jonathan Whicher was a marketable detective that met with Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, and probably inspired many detective characters in novels that followed, including Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.I would recommend reading this book.


  3. says:

    It s a bit hard to understand all the acclaim The Suspicions of Mr Whicher has received A recounting of the murder of a three year old English boy in 1860 as well as an exploration of the killing s impact on detective work both real and fictional, the book certainly isn t terrible but does suffer from being something of a data dump for the author.It seems Kate Summerscale felt a need to give us every niggling detail she was able to dig up about the murder, its coverage by the press at the time, and the family history of each of the case s principles She also not only ties in every famous piece of literature loosely connected to the case the Sherlock Holmes stories, Wilkie Collins s The Moonstone, Henry James s The Turn of the Screw, and Charles Dickens s The Mystery of Edwin Drood among them but also gives readers the etymology of myriad detective terms, from clue and red herring to sleuth and hunch None of this is bad in and of itself Summerscale clearly intends to use the investigation of Saville Kent s murder as a starting point to discuss the rise of the modern detective and the development of the mystery novel The problem is that her analysis of the subject is relatively shallow There s almost nothing here that someone with a rudimentary knowledge of the history of detective fiction and police work would be surprised by One comes away with the feeling that Summerscale really wanted to write about only the Kent case itself, found herself with too little material, and ended up padding the story with anything tenuously connected to the crime.Another problem with the book is the title character, Jonathan Whicher himself So little is known about the detective beyond his involvement in the Kent investigation it s not clear whether or not he had a son, for instance, and Summerscale is left guessing what earlier cases he might have worked on that it seems a miscalculation to put the weight of the book on his shoulders The crime, too, is not quite enough to carry the book Sure, the murder of a three year old would always be shocking, and was probably even so in its day But the victim, being a three year old, is by definition a less than fascinating character Don t the best murder mysteries and Summerscale herself says at the outset that she s hoping to recreate a murder mystery with this book have the most intriguing victims All criticisms aside, and I realize I ve heaped a lot on The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, the book is obviously thoroughly researched arguably too well researched and Summerscale s prose is clear, straightforward and free of unnecessary ornamentation The book doesn t invite loathing, certainly, but is quite a slog to get through And the reader isn t left feeling it was much worth the effort.


  4. says:

    If you like 19th century British novelsIf you like detective novelsIf you are interested in the development of the novelIf you have any interest in the development of the science of forensicsIf you like true crimeIf you enjoy good factual writingIf you like a good story then this book has it all It s like the author asked me to write a list of all the things I like to read most, shook them up in a shaker and came out with the perfect book.I drove my husband nuts while I was reading this, constantly interrupting my reading to tell him how I really LOVE this book It s not a genre he would like so he wasn t interested, but if you see yourself in the list above, go for it.


  5. says:

    There don t seem to be many glowing reviews of this book on Goodreads, which I can totally understand Yes, Summerscale gives us way, way too much extra background information on everything, her attempt to connect Detective Whicher to every single literary detective that has ever been is weak at the best of times, and the book s content doesn t pack quite the sensational punch its title promises Those are the book s flaws I acknowledge their existence, and will now proceed to completely disregard them as I gush over this story So, in brief the book is a nonfiction account of a murder that took place in 1860 and inspired this crazy obsession with detectives and detective fiction in England The circumstances of the case and the detective Mr Whicher who investigated it would become staples of the mystery and detective genres for decades to come The case itself is hella creepy and so unreal it s hard to believe this story isn t fiction One morning in Road Hill House, a small country manor of a well off family in England, three year old Saville Kent was discovered missing from his crib After a frenzied search by family and servants, the child s body was discovered in the privy, wrapped in the blanket from his crib His throat had been cut so far that he was almost decapitated, and he had also been stabbed in the chest After the local police made absolutely zero progress figuring out who could have done the murder, they called in a London detective to solve the crime Summerscale documents the investigation, the trial that followed, and Whicher s tireless efforts to discover the killer As I said, there s a lot of information in this book Yes, some of it is useless and obviously padding, but I thought most of it was awesome For instance Random Stuff You Will Learn From This Book Details of every case Jack Whicher ever worked I think it s interesting, anyway At the time of the Road Hill House murder, the London police force had only had actual detectives for about seven years Police officers uniforms included a thick leather collar, to protect them from getting their throats cut If someone was being put on trial, they were not allowed to testify in court on their own behalf The police employed women so that female suspects could be searched without any impropriety oh you fussy Victorians, never change Lots and lots of slang, most of it criminal related Origins of the words clue , sleuth , and red herring At the time, policemen were unable to tell if bloodstains on a lady s nightgown were menstrual blood or not, and would usually start behaving like bashful schoolgirls if they had to speculate on this for than thirty seconds Kate Summerscale is doing than just telling us about a murder investigation She s giving us an introduction to detective fiction as a genre, and using the Road Hill House murder to illustrate all its different aspects the brilliant and meddling detective, the closed house murder mystery, the one odd clue that leads to a solution, the suspects and their secrets, the motives and capacity for murder You will either find this all fascinating or tedious, depending on your attention level and how much of a crime thriller you re expecting to get Results may vary A Victorian detective was a secular substitute for a prophet or a priest In a newly uncertain world, he offered science, conviction, stories that could organise chaos He turned brutal crimes the vestiges of the beast in man into intellectual puzzles But after the investigation at Road Hill House the image of the detective darkened He exposed the corruptions within the household sexual transgressions, emotional cruelty, scheming servants, wayward children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing His conclusions helped to create an era of voyeurism and suspicion, in which the detective was a shadowy figure, a demon as well as a demi god Read for Social Forces in the Detective Novel


  6. says:

    I absolutely loved this a fascinating, gripping read, so full of detail and intrigue, and so well written A real new favourite non fiction I would highly recommend.


  7. says:

    To me this book reads like somebody s master s thesis that was expanded for publication the style is very dry, there s a compulsive need to share every single random detail of research, and a particular obsession with how much everyone paid for everything but it s an interestingly idiosyncratic prism through which to look at the various hang ups of Victorian society, in particular the glorification of Home and Family, and their terror of the increasing social mobility among the classes It focuses on the high profile 1860 murder of a child at Road Hill House in Wiltshire, and specifically on the investigation that followed, the first important one conducted by Scotland Yard s newly formed eight man squad of detective investigators Jack Whicher, the lead investigator on the case, found himself dealing not only with the challenge of the crime itself, and the pressure of heightened public scrutiny resulting from the relatively recent power of the newspapers and the telegraph, but also with the family s resistance to the role he was there to play especially as it began to seem that the crime had been committed by someone inside the house and not by a stranger The DIs were generally from working class backgrounds, and there was a very strong feeling that not only were they violating the much vaunted sanctity of the Englishman s Home with their blunt questions and dirty fingers, but that there was a fundamental impropriety in their determination to dig into and pass judgment on the private business of their social betters Along the way we also find out the origins of a lot of detective vocabulary we take for granted clue, for instance, and sleuth , and as an English Lit major I was intrigued by the influence the crime and its aftermath had on 19th century Brit Lit this is where we have the genesis of the Country House Murder novel, and of the detective as a compelling literary figure Elements of the Road Hill case found their way into Wilkie Collins The Moonstone and Dickens unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood, while Jack Whicher himself provided inspiration for Collins eccentric, rose loving Inspector Cuff and Dickens somewhat less savory Mr Bucket in Bleak House I also think it s interesting that the apotheosis of English literary detectives, Sherlock Holmes, who made his first appearance several years after Road Hill, was neither working class nor a sanctioned professional, but a gentlemanly amateur with impeccable manners and social credentials a detective Victorian society could clasp to its class conscious breast with impunity.


  8. says:

    Superb historical documentary of police detectivesThis is an amazing book Rarely have I read a book which has been so meticulously researched There is an unbelievable amount of detail about the origins of official police detective work, the personalities involved, the journalism of the mid nineteenth century, the Kent family of Road, the famous and not so famous people of that time, and the continuing history of the characters involved into the twentieth century.So, if I think that this book s so wonderful, why did I only give it three stars The answer to that question is that it is not at all what I was expecting having read the blurb on the cover and the fly leaf This true story has all the hallmarks of a classic murder mystery A body, a detective, a country house steeped in secrets and a whole family of suspects it is the original Victorian whodunnit I thought that I d be reading a description of the crime, the initial investigation, the brilliant interventions of Mr Whicher when he eventually arrived on the scene, the resolution of the crime and, perhaps, the trial of the killer.Most of this was there, however, so were details of most of the other British crimes of the nineteenth century including the way that the police, press and politicians handled them There was way too much detail.If the cover comments had led me to believe that I was about to read a detailed and brilliantly researched documentary of Victorian crime, then I would have been than satisfied, and would have easily awarded this book a well deserved five stars.As it was, I was very disappointed But I have to say that I found the content to be very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it.Comment added on 26th April 2013A TV series based upon this book is about to be screened in UK The trailers lead me to believe that this is much like an action packed drama around the events and investigation of this crime I shall watch in hope


  9. says:

    Four year old Saville Kent is murdered in his own home Although originally placed in the hands of local police, the matter is turned over to Jack Whicher who almost immediately suspects daughter Constance of the crime However, charges do not stick Whicher is discredited The crime is confessed a few years later The crime is interesting because of its influence on the new detective genre of fiction Both Wilkie Collins in The Moonstone and Charles Dickens in his unfinished work The Mystery of Edwin Drood used the real case in the village of Road, Wiltshire, now Rode, Somerset, as a starting point in their works The author informs readers of the future lives of the major characters in the case While it is interesting, the writing is not flawless I dislike the hidden endnotes employed in this work Publishers need to quit using them Give credit where credit is due, and let the reader know credit is being given.


  10. says:

    What a fascinating book this was I expected to read about the true story of one of the most shocking crimes in 19th century England but I hadn t bargained for also getting a fantastically written and hugely interesting social commentary of Victorian times and attitudes and behaviours with regards to the emergence of Police Detectives in this country.Mr Whicher, the Detective called in to this particular case, was one of the first ever Scotland Yard Detectives which came with its own share of suspicion and mistrust The case in question was of the murder of a 3 year old boy, one of several children of a well to do family in a country house in Wiltshire In June 1860, the young boy was found to be missing from his cot in the morning and later that day his body was discovered with his throat slit and a stab wound to his chest down the servants toilet outside in the grounds It soon became apparant that the purportrator was one of the people inside the house on that night which consisted of the boys family, the nursemaid and housemaid Whicher was called in to find out which one of the family murdered the three year old while the whole of England became obsessed with the drama, writing into the newspapers in their thousands offering their opinion on who committed the crime.While I found the unravelling of this story fascinating in itself, I was also delighted to see so many references to some great Victorian authors inclduing Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon 1860 was also the year that the first victorian sensational novel was published and this appeared to feed the frenzy of the public This particular case has also been reported to have been the basis for subsequent rather famous novels such as Dickens The Mystery of Edwin Drood , Collins The Moonstone and Braddon s Lady Audley s Secret all of which contain themes from this particular story Dickens who was also an aquaintance of Mr Whicher even wrote letters to Collins offering his theory on what took place that night.This book is completely non ficiton to point that only recorded conversations and facts are included which seems to be the reason there are alot of negative reviews about it perhaps it seemed too dry for some And while this is of a why dunnit than a who dunnit , there are still a few surprises along the way that caught me off guard I thoroughtly enjoyed this book infact I could barely put it down Summerscale stuck to the facts without trying to sensationalise the story any than it already was by putting words in peoples mouths and the result was a hugely enjoyable novel about a shocking crime and its repercussions in Victorian society Highly recommended.