Manda's Reviews > The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
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's review
Jun 30, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: true-crime, english-history, biography
Read in July, 2009

The case of Constance Kent, accused of abducting her three-year-old half brother from his bed, slashing his throat and stuffing his body down the outdoor privy, was something I only came across once before as almost an aside in a mystery novel. The circumstances of the story merit much more, however, and this is an in depth look at what happened at Road Hill House in the summer of 1860.

Having seen some of the ratings doled out to this book, I think people were expecting something that this book isn't - it isn't a mystery novel. It isn't neat and tidy, it isn't meant to build suspense, and it isn't meant to titillate you with the gory particulars in microscopic detail of how a child was killed. It's a history book. It's truth. And I think the true story of Constance Kent is much more interesting than a neatly tied mystery novel, as there are all sorts of tantalizing questions of psychology surrounding her that still remain unanswered, although Summerscale takes a crack at one or two of them.

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