Monday, March 12, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #9 The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

Barnes and Noble had Kate Summerscale's book The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective on the Daily Find...I'm not really sure when, I'm not really sure that it matters. Anyway, I'm not sure I would have noticed the book, but one of my Goodreads groups (Reading the Chunksters) was about to start reading The Moonstone and I'd spent some time researching it, and I knew what the name Whicher meant to the making of The Moonstone.

In researching it I found out that Mr. Whicher, a real life detective, was one of the first  in Scotland Yard, the only man to truly solve the horrid murder of a 3-year old boy, and, the prototype for which every subsequent detective has been modeled. I mean everyone from Sherlock Holmes, and beyond...Remington Steele, Maisie Dobbs, Bones, The Mentalist ...every detective has, in some way, been imprinted with his traits. Which is strange to think because Whicher was right when the world told him he was wrong and he went to the grave knowing the murderer had been caught, but not knowing all the answers, as it took the death of everyone involved to know the whole story. 

I read this book not quite understanding it. I read it knowing it was being modeled after Wilkie Collins books but did not know what that meant. 

I think that was Summerscale's point. Her book reads like a detective novel winding around the truth and the lies and the people until you almost don't know which end is up. If you are a clever person (and, by clever I mean one of those people who reads enough detective novels and watches enough detective shows to get the truth) than you know who committed the crime about 15 pages in, but that isn't the whole of it.

You must read to figure out the why and the what.

And, that's the sad part, I truly wish I'd read Collins' book first for two reasons 1] I wouldn't have thought that whole bit in the middle of the Summerscale book was sooooo boring, I'd have known that it, again, was just modeling itself after The Moonstone and it's many and varied layers. Point for Summerscale, on that one. Of course, reading the Summerscale's book does have one MAJOR drawback. Which leads me to 2]...

Because of Summerscale's book, I know the whole thing in The Moonstone! :

Godfrey did it. He got Franklin to help, not sure if Franklin was willing or not. Rachel is covering for Franklin because she doesn't know that Godfrey is the guilty one. And, if those blasted Victorians would just say what they see and let go of propriety, the stone could be recovered. It won't be though. At least I'm pretty sure that will be the case.
If I would have known all this. I might have held off reading until I was finished with The Moonstone. You can't compare the death of a child to the theft of a diamond (no matter how large) and I can't help but see how the Victorian fascination with the murder of a little boy affected the telling of this tale, and that hurts my heart a little.

I also think that if I'd read Collins first, I might have immediately been fascinated with Summerscale's story telling abilities. Instead, I was just annoyed that she wasn't getting to the obvious point fast enough.

3 Stars
I initially gave this book 3 stars because I thought the middle dragged, I still think it drags, but with a purpose...I think I may have to change it to...

4 Stars   
The more I read The Moonstone, the more I think that Summerscale is a brilliant mastermind! From NPR

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...