Wednesday, 12 September 2012

THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER – Kate Summerscale, 2008

If any seven words were to be designed to put me off reading a book, they could do little better than ‘The Richard and Judy Number One Bestseller.’ So why did I read this? Because my brother, who has an iconoclastic radar similar to my own, gave me Mr Briggs’ Hat for Christmas last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recognising this as a narrative in a similar vein, I thought that, although popularised to death, it still might just be worth a whirl.
Question: How pleased am I that I saw through the hype? Answer: Very. (Sorry to continue in the popular vein. It shall cease henceforth.)
The murder of the little boy, Saville Kent, at Road Hill House was horrific and still, despite all the best intentions of Kate Summerscale and Jonathan Whicher, remains, at least to me, inconclusive. But the book is riveting. It is an easy read, yet still manages to convey the frustrations of early crime detection. It details how a pre-DNA investigation can be fraught with disaster. Witnesses could be dismissed or respected depending upon their social standing. Siblings were suspected, cleared and then condemned.
As good as a crime novel gets.

1 comment:

  1. Great. How about linking in to Books You Loved: September? Have a great week!