Friday, 18 July 2008

Crime book wins the Samuel Johnson Prize

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale has won the 2008 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction.

Here is what Rosie Boycott, the Chair of the judges had to say about the winner: “The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a dramatic page-turning detective yarn of a real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction. Kate Summerscale has brilliantly merged scrupulous archival research with vivid storytelling that reads with the pace of a Victorian thriller. The book is a rare work of non-fiction that mimics suspense genre and leaves one gripped until the final paragraph. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, who became the most celebrated detective of his day, is a complex, shabby character who immediately conjures up images of the scruffy looking LA cop, Columbo and even of Rebus. The Road Hill murder case was to dominate newspaper headlines and caused national hysteria, and inspired a generation of novelists from Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins to Conan Doyle.”

This is the 10th year of the Samuel Johnson Prize. Previous winners include Stalingrad by Antony Beevor, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro and Stasiland by Anna Funder.

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