Monday, 6 July 2009

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

I've just finished Kate Summerscale's book and it was a very good read. I hadn't realised that Mr Whicher and his famous murder case were at the root of the detective genre, or that Jack Whicher was the template for Sherlock Holmes - even the Curious Incident of the Dog that didn't bark in the night came from this real-life mystery. I liked the way she unfolded the story, keeping the suspense, and letting the spotlight fall on different characters at different times. The historical detail was well handled too and not allowed to overwhelm the story. And what a story! I'd be fascinated to know how she found it in the archives. Kate Summerscale also exposes the myth of 'Victorian values', revealing the suffering, abuses of parental power and sexual repression that existed within outwardly respectable Victorian families. If you like crime fiction, this is a must-read, even though it's fact.

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