Friday, 16 October 2009

Kate Summerscale - The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

This is a book of non-fiction. I am going to be pedantic here.It is not a murder mystery story, it is about a true murder mystery, that launched the genre of classic crime writing. Many of the negative reviews I had read did not seem to grasp this fact.

It is a fascinating book, a little slow in places, but then it is Kate's attention to detail that really show how a classic crime story can be built up. This case influenced the writing of Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle and as we delve into this true case ( in the South Wset of England) we can see the parallels. ( It really makes the book more interesting if you have read some of these authors before, so that you can see the construct of these novels and how they were influenced by the case)

What I found amazing is that the murderer having served their time and on being released was able to live a normal-ish life. Do we think that could happen today? Also did any one else feel that the murderer might not have acted alone and was covering for someone else?

This would make a very interesting Reading Group Read perhaps with a Sherlock Holmes short story or The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, as this book draws such close parallels with the real detective and the fictional Sergeant Cuff.

1 comment:

Sylvia. said...

I really enjoyed this book. It was informative, entertaining and kept me guessing who the murderer was. I agree, I think there was more then one person involved with this crime. It was a far better read then Mr Pip but not as good as The Forgotten Garden.