Author(s): Kate Summerscale
It is a summer's night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks. The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects. The murder provokes national hysteria. The thought of what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes - scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing - arouses fear and a kind of excitement. But when Whicher reaches his shocking conclusion there is uproar and bewilderment. A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery - a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.
The Queen of Whale Cay was a Times number one bestseller. It has been optioned for film, and translation rights have been sold in several countries. For fans of Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins and Agatha Christie Rights on Whicher have been sold in the USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Russia, Holland and Brazil
Winner of Samuel Johnson Prize 2008 and Galaxy British Book Awards: Play.com Popular Non-Fiction Award 2009 and Galaxy British Book Awards: Galaxy Book of the Year 2009. Shortlisted for The South Bank Show Awards: Literature 2009 and Galaxy British Book Awards: Richard and Judy's Best Read of the Year 2009 and CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2008 and Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Adults 2009 and Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award: Adults 2008.
Rowan writes: when a pitiless and gruesome murder is committed in a Victorian country house, a savvy detective must unravel the complex web of character, circumstance and secrets to arrive at the truth. But this is not Collins, Conan Doyle or Christie - in the mid-19th century, the sensational story of Road Hill House, and a fascination with the newly-created police force and the figure of the detective, inspired the new genre of crime fiction.
Kate Summerscale was born in 1965. She is the author of the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. She has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in London with her five-year-old son.