**spoiler alert** Beware! If, like me, you have been meaning to get around to those Victorian mysteries but haven't had the chance, DO NOT READ THIS B...more**spoiler alert** Beware! If, like me, you have been meaning to get around to those Victorian mysteries but haven't had the chance, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. I've had the plots of Lady Audley's Secret, the Woman in White, and Moonstone just to name a few spoiled for me. Granted they've been in print so long I shouldn't be complaining but, up until this moment, I've been so careful to preserve myself against spoilers! Alas.
That being said, in some ways I almost feel as though this book missed the point. More than the murder case, I felt as though this were a look at detection as a profession, how it developed, how English society looked upon it and how literature was was influenced by it. The murder was almost a side note and even as the author admits herself, I feel that the little victim was lost, forgotten entirely amidst the whodunit. That doesn't mean that this wasn't an interesting read and reminds me a little of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America in that this author also strives to remind the reader of other events that were happening at the same time, a nice way of tying things together from a historical perspective. One can't fault her research (she even looked back at newspapers for weather reports).
All in all, I think I liked this book though it wasn't at all what I expected.(less)
Like other reviewers I kind of questioned some of the evidence given as there wasn't much to back up some of the statements made but as this was one o...moreLike other reviewers I kind of questioned some of the evidence given as there wasn't much to back up some of the statements made but as this was one of my impulsive Bargain Buys before hopping in line at the cashiers, I suppose this is what I get for making hasty purchases. This book sort of reads like a very dry noir mystery writing (to me, anyway) but I was surprised to see something as "recent" as the Columbine shooting included at the end of the book. I must say, I have read better books with more in-depth information (for killers such as the Moors Murderers, Dennis Nilsen, Fred and Rosemary West and so forth) regarding some of the cases, but this I think was meant to be more of an overview. What I did like is that the author tried to introduce a more international perspective by siting some killers I've never heard of (mostly the Australian murderers).(less)