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

Extended Audio Sample The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective, by Kate Summerscale Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,251 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kate Summerscale Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Summerscale organizes the book like a period novel, with a denouement that suggests that full justice was never done. Erik Larson fans will be enthralled.”

    Library Journal

  • “A mesmerizing portrait of one of England’s first detectives and the gruesome murder investigation that nearly destroyed him…Whicher is a fascinating hero, and readers will delight in following every lurid twist and turn in his investigation.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A bang-up sleuthing adventure.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Told and interwoven with admirable skill and definition.”

    BookPage

  • “In crime annals, it’s right up there with the Lindbergh trial or the mystery surrounding JonBenet Ramsey: In 1860, one of Scotland Yard’s finest was sent to solve the murder of a little boy at an upscale address near London. It turned out Jack Whicher’s hunch was right, and his footwork fed the public imagination as well as writers such as Charles Dickens. Sadly, failure to clinch the case in court upended Whicher’s career.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “If you are a mystery lover, or if you have ever wondered how the modern love of the genre began, you’ll enjoy Summerscale’s tracing of the early days of the profession and the fascination it exerted…A fascinating look at Victorian life, death, and detection.”

    Associated Press

  • “Fascinating.”

    Denver Post

  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher combines a thumping good mystery yarn with fine social and literary history.”

    Denver Post

  • “One eloquent doozy of a true-crime thriller.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Not just a dark, vicious true-crime story; it is the story of the birth of forensic science, founded on the new and disturbing idea that innocent, insignificant domestic details can reveal unspeakable horrors to those who know how to read them.”

    Time

  • “A brilliant reconstruction of the obstacles facing detectives long before the advent of forensic technology.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “[A] fastidious reconstruction and expansive analysis of the Road Hill murder case…Summerscale smartly uses an energetic narrative voice and a suspenseful pace, among other novelistic devices, to make her factual material read with the urgency of a work of fiction.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, September 2008
  • A 2009 Macavity Award Finalist for Best Nonfiction/Critical Work
  • A 2008 Agatha Award Finalist for Best Nonfiction
  • Winner of the 2008 Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction
  • A 2009 Anthony Award Finalist for the Best Critical Nonfiction Work
  • A 2008 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Stuart | 2/20/2014

    " I wish the author had not tried to cram in as many facts as she did, as a result, the book seems obsessed with avoiding loose ends, and the narrative flow is lost. The inquiry and conviction of the murder of a small child in the mid nineteenth century is potentially interesting subject matter. A strength of this book is that it does provide an insight into the development of the detective in the British police force. What this book fails to do ultimately is to persuade me to read more non-fiction, which is a pity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jena Corda | 2/17/2014

    " Juicy historic factual novel based on a murder of a child at a Victorian country estate - lots of characters and drama. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Colleen | 2/15/2014

    " slow but interesting account of a Victorian murder mystery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joyce | 2/2/2014

    " So many readers told me about this book--colleagues and students--and it became one of those that you hold off reading until you have time....and then if just doesn't work. Moved too slowly, I guess, but I appreciated all the references to the 19th century novels I had actually read that drew on this case and the investigative techniques. "

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About the Author
Author Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale is the former literary editor for the Daily Telegraph and author of The Queen of Whale Cay, which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. She lives in London.