Saturday, January 31, 2009

Books about Scotland Yard: 5 best

Arthur Herman, author most recently of Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age, named a five best list of books about Scotland Yard for the Wall Street Journal.

Number One on his list:
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
by Kate Summerscale
Walker, 2008

Long ago Scottish monarchs visiting Whitehall Palace in London stayed in rooms overlooking a parcel of land known as Great Scotland Yard. When England's first police force made the same address its headquarters, a public entrance was built facing the vacant ground. In June 1842, the Criminal Investigation Department was set up, consisting of eight plainclothes detectives. Scotland Yard has been a byword for the detection of crime ever since. One of the original eight was Jonathan Whicher, the best detective of his age. In "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher," Kate Summerscale reconstructs his investigation into the baffling and brutal Road Hill House murder of a 4-year-old boy in 1860. She recounts how the case not only became the sensation of mid-Victorian London but also set the mold for fictional whodunits from Willkie Collins and Sherlock Holmes to "Law & Order" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Read about all five titles on Herman's list.

--Marshal Zeringue