The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Date: October 2008
Duration: 9 hours 43 minutes
In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the
bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime
horrified all England and led to a national obsession with
detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career
of perhaps the greatest detective in the land.
At the time, the detective was a relatively new
invention; there were only eight detectives in all of
England and rarely were they called out of London, but this
crime was so shocking that Scotland Yard sent its best man
to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher.
Whicher quickly believed the unbelievable—that someone
within the family was responsible for the murder of young
Saville Kent. Without sufficient evidence or a confession,
though, his case was circumstantial and he returned to
London a broken man. Though he would be vindicated five
years later, the real legacy of Jonathan Whicher lives on in
fiction: the tough, quirky, knowing, and all-seeing
detective that we know and love today: from the cryptic
Sergeant Cuff in Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone to Dashiell
Hammett's Sam Spade.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a provocative work
of nonfiction that reads like a Victorian thriller, and in
it author Kate Summerscale has fashioned a brilliant,
multilayered narrative that is as cleverly constructed as it
is beautifully written.
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