26 July 2008

True Crime

So Thursday night i finished The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. I don't normally read true crime stories as it can feel very voyeuristic but this one is about a very old crime. Another book that I can't remember what made me put it on my library list, it is the story of a child's murder in 1860's Victorian England. A middle class family has their 3 year old child killed and it quickly becomes obvious that it must have been a member of the family. Whicher is a founding member of Scotland Yard's police detective bureau who the local police call in 2 weeks after the crime occurs. Even with the delay, he eventually solves the case to his own satisfaction but, as his solution doesn't fit with what the locals believe, the case isn't prosecuted at that time. Whicher goes somewhat downhill, only being involved with one more murder case which is also not prosecuted.

One really great part of the book is that it talks about the sensation the murder and arrests caused. The book is about the beginning of tabloid journalism in a way. Various public figures, including Charles Dickens, put forth their own theories; each different newspaper seems to promote a different suspect as the killer.

I'd recommend this one if you like the Victorian setting and a bit of crime history. We do get an answer to the crime but it isn't exactly complete. I give it a 5.

3 comments:

  1. It sounds interesting, but it needs a better title.

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  2. It comes from some of the newspaper articles covering the case. Basically defending the suspects from "the suspicions of Mr. Whicher" as if his feeling is the only thing pointing him to that suspect, as opposed to evidence, which he has.

    make any sense?

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  3. Yes, that does make sense. Not exactly catchy, but it does make sense. Thanks.

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