THE SUSPICIONS OF MR WHICHER: OR THE MURDER AT ROAD HILL HOUSE

The suspicions of Mr. Whicher : or, The murder at Road Hill House - Kate Summerscale Kate Summerscale resurrects a gruesome murder that occurred in the middle of the 19th century – the police force had not long been in existence, the newly formed detective branch was just being set up, there was an explosion of new newspapers, and a thirst from the proprietors for news. The Road Hill House murder gripped the attention of the nation because of its brutality, because the family were middle class, the detective working class, and the suspects young women. The mystery influenced the detective novels of the time and destroyed the family of the young boy who was murdered – one of the household must have been the murderer and Detective Whicher was sent to solve the crime. The book is written like a documentary, information drawn from the official reports, previous books about the murder, and the wealth of information published in the press. Summerscale pulls all these strings together into a coherent narrative and adds a modern perspective. I found the historical and literary references interesting and was as gripped by the murder as the newspaper reading masses of the time.