Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

Author: Kate Summerscale
Stars: 3
Review by: MandyApgar

In 1860 the body of 3 year old Saville Kent was found with bruises, knife wounds, and a throat cut nearly to decapitation in the water closet (outhouse, basically) of his family's residence. A Mr. Whicher was the detective eventually assigned to the case, but not for several days. In the interim Saville's stubborn father did all he could to alienate police and allowed the destruction of evidence and contamination of the crime scene. The case gained wide notoriety in England, and although I think one had to be a total kumquat to not figure out who did it, Whicher still had his problems. He made himself quite notorious and the book basically claims that the case gave rise to establishing the detective genre in fiction, which I very much so disagree with, especially with some of the generalizations she makes. The parts on the Saville case itself are very well done however, although she oddly hedges on one key component. Person A (who did the deed) is talked about very frequently, along with person B especially. Just keep going on and on about the person's life history after without any real mention why. It is generally accepted, and admitted to by certain persons involved, the person B was also complicit but that information is (very oddly enough) never given.

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