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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House | Paperback

Released on 05 January 2009

Author: Kate Summerscale | Format: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 (9 customer reviews) | Write a review

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The fascinating story of a famous Victorian murder case - and the notorious detective who solved it

customer Reviews

 Average rating (9 reviews)

 Full of interest, but poor structure weakens the effect.

| | See all Kevin1075's reviews (754)

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Not quite sure what Kate Summerscale was really trying to do here.

There is an historical true gruesome murder of a young child (Saville Kent) amid a wealthy, Victorian family filled with secrets - the story of the investigation and the structure and development of the Detective branch of the London police - and an historical overview of Summerscale's assertion that the real life Saville Kent murder was in fact a key moment in the development of Victorian detective literature and beyond.

But, while I was probably expecting something along the lines of 'In Cold Blood' here we get a very muddled structure. Each chapter encompasses a little of each of the three main strands but this actually distracted me rather than involved me.

There is a wealth of fascinating information about the Victorian era and a compelling real mystery at it's heart, but the overall effect is an unsatisfying one.

 A little misleading

| | See all MarloweDVDs's reviews (1)

I felt that the way the book has been billed is a little misleading. I assumed I would be getting a fictionalised account of a true Victorian murder mystery however what I found was a narrative which progresses in fits and starts. John le Carre refers to it as "documentary writing" which sums the book up perfectly. I found the asides about the origins of the police force and the first group of detectives very interesting but I would have preferred that they were not interweaved in the story (perhaps a prologue would have fitted better?). In any case, it is an interesting read once you get your head round the idea that it is not going to be a thrilling murder mystery from cover to cover, but by the time you have realised this the book has all but lost its allure.


| | See all Charlieboo30's reviews (53)

This book has to be one of the best I have read recently. But, let's get one thing straight...it is not a typical who-dunnit novel. Do not read this book expecting it to be Agatha Christie, 'In Cold Blood' or anything else. If you do, you will be sadly dissappointed. like all the other reviewers who have given it 2/3 stars.

This is a fiction book, based on true events that actually happened. Summerscale has deeply researched this book (even down to the actual weather on that day) and that does come through. Rather than feeling this made the book disjointed, I actually really enjoyed the style. There are times when we are told of other crimes, not related to the murder but these are simply to give us background of Whicher and the context of the time.

Read this book with no pre-expectations and I think you will be plesently surprised. I was x

 good... but...

| | See all girlgamer1989's reviews (164)

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The murder story is very interesting, and it`s a classic case of 'who-dunnit' ? What i really like is it`s documentary style, so you know what your reading is actually true and not 'fictionalised'
However i found it really annoying how often this book wondered from the murder to talking about completely un-related stuff; if the author had stuck to talking about the murder this book would've been half the size.
Still a pretty good read though, definately worth a look :)


| | See all epic1966's reviews (4)

I did not like the structure. It is more like a text book/documentary style rather than a riviting crime read. 50% main story padded out with 50% waffle comparing other irrelevent crime cases.

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AuthorKate Summerscale
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing PLC (GB)
FormatPaperback - 400 Pages
IllustrationsIllustrations (some col.), maps, ports.