5 days ago
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
This book tells the true story of the murder of three-year-old Saville Kent and the efforts of Detective Jonathan Whicher to determine who killed the young boy. I had been looking forward to reading this book for some time but found myself disappointed quite early into it. First of all, I didn't realize that the victim was practically a baby and that broke my heart. The author is quite matter-of-fact about Saville maybe to keep the reader from becoming attached to him; but it was a hideous crime that was upsetting. Second of all, Summerscale is very diligent in her efforts to portray the new detective force of Scotland Yard as the novelty that it was in 1860. She includes excerpts from novels written during that age including Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. There are all kinds of facts about the culture and mindset of English people of the time; lots of information about what things costs and what people earned. I guess it could be interesting, but I was looking forward to a true-life mystery and felt all the facts detracted from the actual story of who killed Saville. At least for me. I read about half of the book but found myself falling asleep too many times. I don't know if the murderer was ever discovered and I don't care. If you want to read a book about how the great detective evolved and about mid 19th century England, I would recommend this book. I think Summerscale did some great research and presented the information in an interesting format. It just wasn't my cup of tea.