The Times reports on Summerscale's win, quoting prize judge Rosie Boycott, who commented that 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".
Summerscale left her job as literary editor at the Daily Telegraph to write the book. The book is written in the form of a Victorian murder mystery, but Summerscale is quick to point out that her book is not a novel. She tells UK television's Book Zone that everything in the book is pulled directly from her research from the clothing worn to the weather. It's a great and lasting tribute to Mr. Whicher, a man Summerscale admits becoming rather fond of as she wrote his story. Her life-altering dedication to telling this man's story is commendable to say the least. She tells Dan Vyleta at Raincoat Books:
The most interesting facts I gathered about his private life were hard-earned, the fruit of long hours in archives and records offices. His professional life was much easier to unearth. Thanks to digital archives, I was able to find accounts of dozens of cases on which he had worked, and from these I tried to deduce what kind of a man he had been.
On a personal note, I'm thrilled the book is now out in Australia. It'll certainly make the wait for the next Erik Larson book a little easier to bear.
Summerscale discusses the book on Book Zone: