• The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House See large image

    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House (Hardback) By (author) Kate Summerscale

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    DescriptionIt is a summer's night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks. The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects. The murder provokes national hysteria. The thought of what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes - scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing - arouses fear and a kind of excitement. But when Whicher reaches his shocking conclusion there is uproar and bewilderment. A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery - a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

    Title
    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
    Subtitle
    or the Murder at Road Hill House
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Kate Summerscale
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 384
    Width: 135 mm
    Height: 210 mm
    Thickness: 35 mm
    Weight: 536 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780747582151
    ISBN 10: 0747582157
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: CRI
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T18.1
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3JH
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 11600
    BIC subject category V2: WQH
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1DBKEWW
    BIC subject category V2: BTC
    BISAC V2.8: TRU000000, HIS000000
    DC22: 364.1523094231
    Thema V1.0: DNXC, WQH
    Publisher
    Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
    Imprint name
    Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
    Publication date
    07 April 2008
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Kate Summerscale was born in 1965. She is the author of the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. She has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in London with her five-year-old son.
    Review quote
    'It is a beautiful piece, written with great lucidity and respect for the reader, and with immaculate restraint. A classic, to my mind, of the finest documentary writing.' John Le Carre 'A pacy analysis of a true British murder case from 1860, the unravelling of which involved one of the earliest Scotland Yard detectives and inspired sensation novelists such as Dickens and Wilkie Collins Absolutely riveting' Sarah Waters, Guardian 'Summerscale has constructed nothing less than a masterpiece My shelves are stacked with books about crime, but none more satisfying than this' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday 'Sparse, melancholy, beautifully written the year's most beguiling biography' Independent
    Review text
    Painstaking but never boring recreation of a sensational 1860 murder brings to shivering life the age of the Victorian detective.The Road Hill case served as fodder for the emerging detective genre taken up with relish by such authors as Dickens, Poe and Wilkie Collins. It perplexed detectives at the time and was resolved five years after the deed - and then only partially and unsatisfactorily, avers British journalist and biographer Summerscale (The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of 'Joe' Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water, 1997, etc.). She models this engaging true-crime tale on the traditional country-house murder mystery, packed with secretive family members moving about with hidden motives in a commodious old manor house. On June 30, 1860, in the Wiltshire village of Road, three-year-old Saville Kent was removed in the dead of night from his cot in the room he shared with his nursemaid, suffocated, stabbed and dumped in the privy outside the kitchen. In addition to his parents, Samuel and Mary Kent, the inhabitants of Road Hill House included numerous servants and Samuel's four children from his previous marriage, each harboring various grievances since their mother's untimely death. After the local constable made a mess of the investigation, authorities called in Scotland Yard's "prince of detectives," Jonathan Whicher, then at the height of his career at age 45. The author dispassionately presents highlights from the record of Whicher's interviews with servants and family members, allowing readers to fill in the blanks much as the detective had to do. On largely circumstantial evidence, he arrested Samuel's 16-year-old daughter Constance, but she was soon released, and the press ridiculed Whicher for accusing an innocent girl. In 1865, however, she confessed to the crime and after a sensational trial served a 20-year prison sentence. Summerscale pursues the story over decades, enriching the account with explanations of the then-new detective terminology and methods and suggesting a convincing motive for Constance's out-of-the-blue confession.A bang-up sleuthing adventure. (Kirkus Reviews)