During a summer night in 1860, a terrible crime is committed. When the Kent family of Road Hill House wake up the next morning, they learn that three-year-old Saville is missing and soon discover he has been brutally murdered. As local police fail to track down the killer, Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. With the whole family and their servants as possible suspects, Whicher is faced with a difficult task, and the personal histories of some members of the household give him plenty to be suspicious about.
This is the second of Kate Summerscale’s books I’ve read and as with the first (The Wicked Boy) it’s a cracker. Tracing the events leading up to and following the murder at Road Hill House, the author meticulously details the progress of Jack Whicher as he struggles to find evidence to back up his theory that sixteen-year-old Constance Kent killed her young brother in a vengeful attack against her stepmother. And though the young woman does eventually own up to the killing, Whicher’s suspicions also included the theory that a second member of the household was involved in the murder. But if that was the case, who really killed Saville Kent?
A fascinating and thoroughly well documented account of a dreadful crime.