Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

I recently finished reading The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale. It's a nonfiction piece written in the style of a detective story. It's a thoroughly researched true crime story about the Road Hill Murder of 1860. The career of the professional detective was just starting as were fictional detective stories and the book gives interesting descriptions of the beginnings of these fields. What is also interesting is the parallels to today's world. The sensationalizing by the press, the public looking at the minutia of the people involved and making their own determinations, the rapid switching between idolizing the police to chastising them; how public opinion can ruin reputations. The heinous crimes occurring then as now and the fact that children can commit them. If you're looking for a light read, this is not the book for you, but if you're looking for a well documented piece of history that's as interesting as it is well written, check out this book.

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