Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective. Kate Summerscale. 2008. Walker. 360 pages.

On Sunday, 15 July 1860, Detective-Inspector Jonathan Whicher of Scotland Yard paid two shillings for a hansom cab to take him from Millbank, just west of Westminster, to Paddington station, the London terminus of the Great Western Railway. 

 The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is such a compelling book! How many (adult) nonfiction books have you read that you can honestly say you've read in one sitting? How many have you read that are nearly impossible to put down? I've read plenty that are good--great even; I've read plenty that I've found fascinating and enjoyable, such as Becoming Queen Victoria. But this one is just as captivating and suspenseful as a mystery or detective story.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a TRUE must read, if you enjoy detective or mystery fiction. If you find sensation novels thrilling, then, this one will prove a real treat. The author even spends a great deal of time discussing how real life court cases, real life crimes were influencing the fiction of popular authors, authors like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, etc. The author discusses the characters and plots of these novels even quoting from them at times.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a nonfiction chronicle of a horrible murder. The murder occurs at Road Hill, in the Kent home, in June 1860. Within weeks, one of England's best detectives, Mr. Whicher, is on the case. He has opinions as to who did it. He has a definite suspect in mind; unfortunately, in the week after the arrest, he is not able to find enough evidence to make a case to bring the suspect to trial, and the person is released. (I'm trying SO hard not to spoil this one by using pronouns or names!!) It's a big disappointment to Whicher who feels that he did name the right person, but, Whicher loses some of his reputation at least because public opinion has gone against him and his suspect. In fact, the case has received so much attention that there are hundreds of letters coming in from people who feel they know who really did it based on piecing together clues from the newspaper.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is about:
  • Mr. Jonathan Whicher before, during, and after this case or investigation
  • The Kent family before, during, and after this murder, trial, and investigation
  • The detective-police system/procedure in Britain at this time
  • A handful of other "big" cases during the 1860s 
I definitely loved this one!!! I'd easily recommend it to people who love Jane Eyre, The Moonstone, Woman in White, Bleak House, etc.

Read The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
  • If you love fascinating, captivating, compelling nonfiction; nonfiction that reads like a novel but is well-researched.
  • If you have an interest in the Victorian period
  • If you are interested in sensation, mystery, or detective stories

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Tasha B. 12:22 PM  

I've only read one non-fiction book that was impossible to put down, Killer Stuff and Tons of Money. Most of the time I skim through non-fiction, but that book was so compelling. This one looks like something I would definitely be interested in--will have to see if my library has it. :)

CharmedLassie 2:52 PM  

Ah, I read this in one sitting! Actually, sat on the floor because in front of the fire was the only warm place to be and I stayed there for hours in a very uncomfortable position to get to the end of this. Wonderful book on every level.

FABR Steph 10:17 PM  

This sounds like my kind of book! I will definitely pick this one up. Thank you for your review.

Cheryl Klarich 1:18 PM  

Your review really made want to read this one!!
Sounds like a winner. :)

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP