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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective Paperback – Illustrated, February 24, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 797 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] fastidious reconstruction and expansive analysis of the Road Hill murder case…Summerscale smartly uses an energetic narrative voice and a suspenseful pace, among other novelistic devices, to make her factual material read with the urgency of a work of fiction.” ―New York Times Book Review

“A terrific book.” ―
Nicholson Baker

“A brilliant reconstruction of the obstacles facing detectives long before the advent of forensic technology.” ―
L.A. Times Book Review

“Not just a dark, vicious true-crime story; it is the story of the birth of forensic science, founded on the new and disturbing idea that innocent, insignificant domestic details can reveal unspeakable horrors to those who know how to read them.” ―
Time

“One eloquent doozy of a true-crime thriller. A-” ―
Entertainment Weekly

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher combines a thumping good mystery yarn with fine social and literary history.” ―Fresh Air

“This is a great biographical fiction of an interesting real life mid nineteenth century detective working a shocking homicide case.” ―
Mysterylovers.com

“Fascinating.” ―
Denver Post

“If you are a mystery lover, or if you have ever wondered how the modern love of the genre began, you'll enjoy Summerscale's tracing of the early days of the profession and the fascination it exerted...a fascinating look at Victorian life, death and detection.” ―
Associated Press

“In crime annals, it's right up there with the Lindbergh trial or the mystery surrounding JonBenet Ramsey: In 1860, one of Scotland Yard's finest was sent to solve the murder of a little boy at an upscale address near London. It turned out Jack Whicher's hunch was right, and his footwork fed the public imagination as well as writers such as Charles Dickens. Sadly, failure to clinch the case in court upended Whicher's career.” ―
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Takes you back to a specific place and time with all the imagination and skill of a top-tier historical novelist. You hang on every word, flipping pages faster than you can read them….If you like your murder mysteries wrapped up in a neat little package, this isn't the book for you. But if you're looking for a complex, intellectually stimulating thriller that will leave you breathless, well, this mystery is well worth inspecting.” ―
Fairfield County Weekly

“Summerscale's clean writing makes
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher so dynamic that she can't be accused of "freezing" the past--instead, she has done a masterly job of reviving it, with all its curiosities and contradictions. But, most strikingly, she has created an enthralling mystery by overlaying the fictional tools of misdirection and suspense onto a nonfiction narrative that, in its day, helped inspire writers to create a new fictional genre--a strange and very impressive feat.” ―American Scholar

“Told and interwoven with admirable skill and definition.” ―
Bookpage

“A bang-up sleuthing adventure.” ―
Kirkus Reviews

“A mesmerizing portrait of one of England's first detectives and the gruesome murder investigation that nearly destroyed him…Whicher is a fascinating hero, and readers will delight in following every lurid twist and turn in his investigation.” ―
Publishers Weekly, (starred review)

“Summerscale organizes the book like a period novel, with a denouement that suggests that full justice was never done. Erik Larson (
The Devil in the White City) fans will be enthralled.” ―Library Journal

About the Author

Kate Summerscale is the former literary editor for the Daily Telegraph and author of The Queen of Whale Cay, which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. Summerscale lives in London.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 080271742X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0802717429
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.62 x 1.14 x 8.28 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 797 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
797 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 6, 2021

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John Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating account (though a bit repetitive in places)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 3, 2021
One person found this helpful
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Gary H.
2.0 out of 5 stars On and on and on and on.....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 29, 2020
2 people found this helpful
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Kelly A19
5.0 out of 5 stars Confused by negative reviews!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 13, 2014
18 people found this helpful
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The Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good but a bit distracted
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 31, 2021
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Neil Lennon
3.0 out of 5 stars The Very Suspicious Inspector Whicher
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 18, 2013
3 people found this helpful
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