Customer Review

361 of 386 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of detective fiction and the death of a child, 11 April 2008
This review is from: The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House (Hardcover)
This book is as much a history of Victorian social values and the emerging field of detective fiction in the nineteenth century as it is a book about a hideous country house murder in 1860. Researched using original police papers from the National Archives, books on the crime and many more sources, the book tells the story of the Road Hill House murder of 1860, when a three year old boy was brutally slain by another occupant of his home. The book sets out to detail the case, from the original event to the investigation by Scotland Yard detective Jack Whicher, to the aftermath suffered by the entire family.

It's extremely well written and well researched, and even though there is little to add suspense considering anyone with an Internet connection can discover the identity of the murderer, Summerscale still manages to inject a certain air of tension into proceedings, drawing things out as they must have unfolded at the time. With a peculiar ability to grab your attention and hold it firmly, the book is difficult to put down, and a thoroughly fascinating read for anyone with an interest in detective fiction, real life crime or a historical period that throws up as many questions as it answers.

Highly recommended.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jul 2008 20:58:20 BDT
A. C. Smith says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2008 14:13:39 GMT
C. Wilson says:
Actually A C Smith - I had only very vaguely heard of this murder before and had almost no knowledge of it. I think it was worth re-telling.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2009 14:04:03 GMT
Deephorse says:
I hadn't heard this story before and so I enjoyed reading the book.

Posted on 26 Apr 2009 20:53:34 BDT
More Historical fact than a novel. The description of the era better than that of the characters. Factually correct but story wise it was a let down. 2 out of 5 CJ

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2010 09:25:35 GMT
I had never heard of this murder - despite being an avid reader of true crime - and found it a really good read, well written and absorbing. Although it was really easy to decide "whodunnit" quite early on, I still had to read the book in one sitting and refused to make tea until I'd read the last page. A lovely way to while away a rainy day.
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Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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