Yesterday, I finished Kate Summerscale's fantastic "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher". It is a truly fascinating read, especially for people like me who are very interested in the Victorian era. The wealth of details about life as it was at the time is positively staggering.
It also goes deep under the skin of so-called Victorian respectability, and its unravelling and unveiling of what is going on within a supposedly respectable, close-knit middle-class family rings incredibly true and is genuinely sinister and twisted. I have never been one for family, and this book describes the simmering frustration, jealousy, sexual obsession, silent war, liaisons, alliances, unspoken emotions so very well.
The crime at the centre of the book, the Road Hill murder, and the real-life detective Whicher, one of the first detectives in England, have inspired a lot of authors including Dickens and Wilkie Collins. Collins' '"The Moonstone" in particular reprises quite a few of the settings and elements that were present in the Road Hill murder.
So I have decided to follow up "The Suspicions..." with "The Moonstone".
This will not be the first time I have read the book, and it won't be the second time either...
I studied "The Moonstone" as part of my Postgraduate English Teacher Training course back in 1995-1996 (I cannot believe it is that long ago!)
I still have the book I used at the time, and it is full of underlined sentences and paragraphs, annotations and scribbles.
At the time, I read the book 4 times in its entirety (it's even written on the first page, "4 READINGS" I was that obsessive about my studies!) and probably more in bits over time while studying the various aspects of the novel...
So I will be reading this book again after all these years and I will try and ignore the graffiti dating from almost 20 years ago (urgh I feel old now!).
I think therefore I write.
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