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article imageGaslight-Era Murder Mystery Wins Non-Fiction Prize

By M Dee Dubroff     Jul 16, 2008 in Crime
More than twenty years before Jack the Ripper, another murder haunted the detectives of Scotland Yard. Read on, if you dare.
According to news sources, the coveted Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction and its formidable purse has been awarded to an English writer’s reconstruction of a 19th century murder mystery which haunted Scotland Yard and intrigued the literary greats of the day, including Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
According to Rosie Boycott, chair of the judges:
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a dramatic page-turning yarn of a real-life murder that inspired the birth of modern detective fiction.
Summerscale retraces the 1860 murder, which occurred in an elegant Georgian country house in all of its gruesome details. The crime provoked national outrage all of which are seen through the eyes and character of Scotland Yard’s most prominent detective, Jack Whicher.
Summerscale’s main competitors for the world’s richest non-fiction award that netted 30,000 £ (59,980 US dollars) were Patrick French for his biography of V.S. Naipul and Tim Butcher’s recreation of explorer H.M. Stanley’s famous expedition.
One question still lingers in the ether of the gas-lit air.
Who really dunnit?
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