The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

  • by Kate Summerscale
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 of 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. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a provocative work of nonfiction that reads like a Victorian thriller, and in it author Kate Summerscale has fashioned a brilliant, multilayered narrative that is as cleverly constructed as it is beautifully written.


What the Critics Say

"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 bang-up sleuthing adventure." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Would you listen to The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher again? Why?

Yes, I probably would.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher?

There's nothing "memorable" about the murder of an innocent child.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Simon Vance is a master! You can't make a comparison when an artist ALWAYS gives a great performance. I listen to books that I'm not even interested in if Mr. Vance is narrating.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

That there were many "thinking" detectives long before now. Cops in the 19th century didn't have the benefit of DNA and all the forensics tools now available. Whicher was on the money with his suspicions. Unfortunately he was way ahead of time.

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- Linda Lou "OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!"

Like reading case notes

If you like books that are all factual or reading case file notes then you'll love this. I you like a good story & getting to know characters do not buy this book as it was unreadable. If you want to read a great Victorian detective story buy Montmorency or The Somnambulist, both amazing reads.
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-15-2008
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books