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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detectiveby Kate Summerscale
Synopses & Reviews
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 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 Sergeant 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 author Kate Summerscale has fashioned a brilliant, multilayered narrative that is as cleverly constructed as it is beautifully written.
"Simon Vance does a fine job reading this unusually detailed and thoughtful true crime investigation into a notorious child murder case in 1860 London. At the time, there were only eight detectives working in England. Scotland Yardâ€™s top man was Insp. Jonathan Whicher, and he headed the investigation. Intertwined with the tale of detection in its infancy is a fascinating examination of the role played by this case and its inspector in the creation of the detective novel genre by the likes of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Occasionally, the large number of characters that listeners must sort through can become confusing. HighBridge helpfully provides a printed whoâ€™s who inside the CD box. Vanceâ€™s perfect diction and agile acting skills are always a pleasure for listeners, and Summerscaleâ€™s achievement is a must for anyone who loves detective stories, but this audio requires exceptional concentration. A Walker hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 11, 2007). (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
KATE SUMMERSCALE is the former literary editor for the Daily Telegraph and author of The Queen of Whale Cay, which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. Summerscale lives in London.
SIMON VANCE is a prolific and popular audiobook narrator and actor with several hundred audiobooks to his credit. An Audie® Award-winner, Vance was recently named "The Voice of Choice" by Booklist magazine.
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History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime