Audiobooks The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or The Murder at Road Hill HouseAuthor Kate Summerscale –

It is really good to find a book so extensively and thoroughly researched, so convincing and in the best sense entertaining This true story of the investigation of a Victorian murder is the enthralling in the knowledge that it was an investigation in which none of the forensic facilities we now take so much for granted were available to the investigators Fascinating stuff. Bloomsbury Presents The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher By Kate Summerscale, Read By Jessica Ball An Exquisite New Edition Of The True Crime Classic A Classic John Le Carr Saville S Corpse, Already Stiff, Was Laid On A Table Beneath The Kitchen Window Upstairs The Shape Of His Sleeping Self Was Still Indented On The Sheets And Pillow Of The Cot On A Summer S Morning In , The Kent Family Awakes In Their Elegant Wiltshire Home To A Terrible Discovery Their Youngest Son Has Been Brutally Murdered When Celebrated Detective Jack Whicher Is Summoned From Scotland Yard He Faces The Unenviable Task Of Identifying The Killer When The Grieving Family Are The Suspects The Original Victorian Whodunnit, The Murder And Its Investigation Provoked National Hysteria At The Thought Of What Might Be Festering Behind The Locked Doors Of Respectable Homes Scheming Servants, Rebellious Children, Insanity, Jealousy, Loneliness And Loathing The Suspicions of Mr Whicher details an investigation into a child murder which took place in 1860 at Road Hill House in Wiltshire As the author Kate Summerscale makes clear from the start this was the first highly publicised who dunnit style murder mystery to fascinate the press and the British public This true life case became the original inspiration for every fictional detective novel written since.Where this book is strongest is describing the details of the murder itself, the people involved and the investigation carried out by the detective Jack Whicher It is an interesting case in itself, being a classic locked door mystery where you know that at least one member of the household committed the crime.The background detail on the foundation of the Metropolitan Police detective service is fascinating I especially liked the conflict of Victorian morality that objected to police officers being dressed in plain clothes and poking their noses into the affairs of respectable folk.However, the actual substance of the murder and investigation only accounts for perhaps half of this book The other half seemed to me to be no better than padding False leads, eccentric amateur detectives and unnecessary background about those involved makes the narrative drag in places The last few chapters of the book are especially tiresome as it describes the lives of the surviving family members far beyond any relevance to the murder case.Although Kate Summerscale has obviously painstakingly reseached Victorian detective literature and does a good job of referring to this throughout, I would have preferred to have seen detail about how the case had such an impact on the birth of sensationalist journalism No reference is made to the later Ripper murders which had a similar handling by a press hungry to sell newspapers by dramatising and revelling in the details of particularly gruesome crimes The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is well worth reading, but it does have its flaws It s front cover proclaims it the Richard and Judy number one bestseller as though that was the equivalent of the Pulitzer If you want to know about early Victorian policing and the birth of detective literature though you should find this an interesting and intriguing book which is also easy and enjoyable to read. I know it s each to their own but I do think that some of the negative reviewers here have missed the point I can understand the disappointment somewhat, given the cover now features Paddy Considine from the tv drama of the book, but this book is not fiction It is a factual retelling of a real case, of a family s secrets, a police detective s determination, of Victorian England It is not was never intended to be a fictional drama Perhaps because I approached it with that in mind, I got what I expected to get thoroughly enjoyed it.Like Mr Briggs Hat, this is a fascinating, thorough well researched report into a specific crime the ripples flowing from that crime Underneath that run numerous fascinating undercurrents we gain insight into the beginnings of CID detective investigation generally The book also throws greater light on the class system and the secrets between upstairs downstairs staff We also see the suspicions between the classes between family members, fuelled by the Victorian tendency to keep quiet not bring shame to the family.A brilliant book which deserves far better reviews than it has here, in my opinion. Reading this, I felt that the style and the subject was suited to a shorter magazine article.Sometimes it would be getting to an interesting bit in the story, when it would veer off on a tangent Of course, you were looking forward to the detective arriving at the house to see what he would do, but there were too many diversions onto topics of what life was like in those days it seemed like they needed to pad the book out with something.Of course the story itself is frustratingly lacking in an easy solution, which you might expect from a true story There are some clear pointers about what the author thinks happened, but you are left to draw conclusions about things, which in an age before forensic science and DNA, we will probably never know the answers to.But it is an attempt at something interesting and the story is less well known than other famous crimes of the time e.g the ripper murders , so it does merit telling.