Superb historical documentary of police detectives
This is an amazing book. Rarely have I read a book which has been so meticulously researched. There is an unbelievable amount of detail about the origins of official police detective work, the personalities involved, the journalism of the mid-nineteenth century, the Kent family of Road, the famous and not-so-famous people of that time, and the continuing history of the characters involved into the twentieth century.
So, if I think that this book's so wonderful, why did I only give it three stars? The answer to that question is that it is not at all what I was expecting having read the blurb on the cover and the fly leaf."This true story has all the hallmarks of a classic murder mystery. A body, a detective, a country house steeped in secrets and a whole family of suspects - it is the original Victorian whodunnit."
I thought that I'd be reading a description of the crime, the initial investigation, the brilliant interventions of Mr Whicher when he eventually arrived on the scene, the resolution of the crime and, perhaps, the trial of the killer.
Most of this was there, however, so were details of most of the other British crimes of the nineteenth century including the way that the police, press and politicians handled them. There was way too much detail.
If the cover comments had led me to believe that I was about to read a detailed and brilliantly researched documentary of Victorian crime, then I would have been more than satisfied, and would have easily awarded this book a well-deserved five stars.
As it was, I was very disappointed. But I have to say that I found the content to be very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it.Comment - added on 26th April 2013
A TV series based upon this book is about to be screened in UK. The trailers lead me to believe that this is much more like an action-packed drama around the events and investigation of this crime. I shall watch in hope!