books · history · non-fiction · review

Review: the suspicions of mister Whicher or Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale

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I mean, if you are going to write a book, give it a title that is about as long as the book itself, right?

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As you may know, I am OBSESSED with the Victorian era, and with detectives, so this book was right up my alley. Murder in Victorian England? Sign me up!
I knew about this case because of the book “the Art of English Murder” so I wasn’t shocked about who and what. You however, may be shocked to know that the littlest one in this family, three year old Saville got killed. He was found in the toilet (LITERALLY) with his throat slit. Poor little thing.
This murder case sparked a huge change in Victorian England, people realised that in the homes of everyone, something could be happening. Domestic violence became something people would talk about more.

But on to the book, the main selling point to me was the fact it was promoting the book as if it were just a regular detective book. As I’m pretty experienced upon the matter, if I do say so myself, I was quite excited about it. Unfortunately, it didn’t read like that at all. It’s a good book, mind you, but it just isn’t a detective novel, not even close. It is written like every other non-fiction book, but this one was quite a pleasant read. It’s quite a big book but I finished it in a couple of days, because it was written so well.

You do kind of read it as a fiction novel, but that’s maybe because there is an actual real life detective in it. This case almost destroyed mister Whicher, the title giver. He became the basis of many fictional detectives, such as in my favourite book the Moonstone. The case is also so horrible [really, any case involving children and death is horrible, but happened so incredibly often in Victorian England you’d be surprised], and it’s so real you kind of want it to be fiction. You start to feel for some of the characters, which were also actual real life humanbeings. Some of the siblings were quite forgotten in the book, which is a bit of a downside to me.

If you have ANY issues with children being hurt or, I really do not recommend reading this book, but you probably wouldn’t have anyways if you read the back. If you have an interest in Victorian England or detectives I DO recommend it, it’s a great book about a very interesting case and it gives a great insight into the workings of the early police force in the UK.

You can buy this here.

Score:
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