Friday, September 11, 2009

Detective-Inspector Jonathan "Jack" Whicher

The emergence of the detective as part of Scotland Yard and the birth of a new literary genre. This murder of a four-year old boy in the English countryside is investigated by the newest division of Scotland Yard: Detective-Inspector. The murder of Saville Kent was so highly publicised that it stirred many of the greatest authors to include a detective into their novels.
With Charles Dickens, Willie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Carlyle all taking up the inclusion of the all seeing detective inspector as a prominent character. Lately my readings of Joseph Conrad's "Secret Agent" and Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" has made me wonder as to what actually was the moving force that created the detective novels of the Victorian era.
Kate Summerscale has penned a novel that balances between the detective novel and an historical text. The text of "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" reads like a novel, but Summerscale intersperses the facts that other authors are commenting upon this sensational murder. Leading to the creation of the new genre of the detective novel that still is most prolific even today.
Summerscale has done her research. Her meticulous references to the actual newspaper clippings and quotes as well as other academic discourse all becomes part of the novel and the telling of the story of the death of this child. I will not go into who really did the deed but will just say that subtitle of the novel reads: "A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective."
At this time I am only half way through the novel and I really enjoy the style of Summerscale and as she in dropping in facts along with the story the reader notices that she is basing her tale solidly on the facts of the time as they were occurring. I am looking forward to finishing this novel and will be checking into her first novel of "The Queen of Whale Cay."