Skip to main content

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

About the Book

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

On June 30, 1860, the residents of Road Hill House awoke to a tragedy: three-year-old Saville Kent was missing from his crib. The family and servants of Samuel Kent, a twice-married factory inspector, frantically searched the house and grounds. Little Saville was found brutally murdered, and the whole household fell under suspicion. Scotland Yard sent Jonathan Whicher, a gifted and confident detective-inspector, to investigate. As Whicher unraveled the Kent family history, numerous secrets emerged, from affairs and deceits to disease and revenge. Long before the murder, Samuel Kent had an affair with his children’s governess while his first wife suffered from mental illness. After his wife’s death, Samuel married the governess and attempted to integrate the two families, with sinister results.

Whicher accused Constance Kent, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Samuel Kent and his first wife, of murdering Saville. Whicher’s case hinged on Constance’s nightdress, a crucial piece of missing evidence. But Constance was set free and Whicher denounced instead, for violating the family’s privacy. As Whicher faded into obscurity, the Road Hill murder remained unsolved for five years, until a sudden, shocking confession in 1865.

With the brisk pace of an old-fashioned murder mystery, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher re-creates the fascinating case that dominated the pages of newspapers and detective novels alike, inspiring some of the best mystery writers of the Victorian era and beyond.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
by Kate Summerscale

  • Publication Date: February 24, 2009
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • ISBN-10: 080271742X
  • ISBN-13: 9780802717429