Books »The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

The Suspicions of Mr. WhicherThe Suspicions of Mr Wicher is a true crime tale centered on the real life mysterious murder of a young boy. Like the JonBenet Ramsey case of its time, the crime mesmerized and rocked the nation. It was speculated about in the media and everyone within the home's walls was a suspect.

Mr. Wicher was a fairly renowned detective at a time when detectives were a new concept, seen as part supernatural genius, part shaman or – when the tides of popular sentiment turned against them – as voyeuristic intruders into the highly guarded personal lives of respected society.

The book is most interesting when it handles the crime itself and the suspicions, not only of Mr. Wicher, but the townsfolk and media. It's a bit less engaging in the latter bits that detail what happened to all the players. One son grows up to be a famous botanist, etc… I guess I'm living proof that the salacious intrigue of the evil men do is always most compelling, just as it was when this murder took place.

Unlike the similar crime in Boulder, this one has a conclusion and a confession, which is led up to with some suspense by Summerscale, whose short resume also includes a biography of an eccentric world-class speedboat racer and heiress (The Queen of Whale Cay).

This book is a perfect pair to this week's TV show, A Most Mysterious Murder.

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Posted on May 18, 2009

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