WRLoW BookClub
A young boy is murdered at the family home in Wiltshire, what happens next is a series of extraordinary events to determine who did the heinous crime. A non-fiction account of true story, this book takes you back in time to the original Victorian whodunit..

Rating:

WRLoW Star Rating

WRLoW Star Rating

 

 

I’m not normally one to give bad reviews but unfortunately, that’s what this is. I was so disappointed! I will hold my hand up and admit I didn’t actually know this was a piece of non-fiction but I luuurve non-fiction novels so that shouldn’t have changed my opinion.

I actually couldn’t wait to just hurry up and finish this book so I could get on with my life. Firstly the way the story is told is immediately off-putting. I felt like I was reading someone’s notes not a narrative.

The most irritating part of this book was the way Summerscale had done so much research that she’d felt the need to cram as much of it in as possible. I think if you were to take out the irrelevant anecdotes the book would be half as thin! It really did detract from the story, to the point where I couldn’t remember where we’d got to. I’ve always been taught my writers that in-depth research is paramount but if you don’t include every crumb, then that’s fine. I don’t think Summerscale got that memo.

Whilst I’m on what seems to be an uber rant, I found the linear narrative infuriating. Basically there wasn’t one. We spent the whole book jumping backwards and forwards with each character whilst being drip-fed the main narrative. We had Whicher’s whole history laid out before us before he’d even arrived in Road. I was told his parents, date of birth, childhood house. And in the same chapter I was told about his retirement. That’s a sign of poor storytelling to me.

It’s not very often I come across a book I don’t like, I am always determined to see the best in everything even if there are some flaws but I just couldn’t enjoy this book. There was one element of the story that I liked and that was learning about how crime investigations worked in that era. As the book was a true account, it gave an accurate description of the procedures for the time. This was particularly interesting but I wouldn’t say it redeemed the rest of the book. Sorry Summerscale, this just wasn’t my thing.

You can buy Summerscale’s book here.

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