The Wicked Boy (2016): Kate Summerscale


The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer

This is the third book I’ve read by Kate Summerscale, after Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace and the excellent Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which I haven’t yet got round to posting about. Like her earlier books, it is a vivid recreation of 19th-century history based on dramatic cases heard in the Victorian courts and reported in the press and, like Mr Whicher, it focuses in on a horrific act of murder. Unlike Mr Whicher, however, this is not a whodunnit. The ‘who’ is clearly and frankly admitted from the very beginning. Summerscale’s investigations seek to understand more about the ‘why’ and to unpick the historical context of the crime and the way in which it was reported by the rapacious press.

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