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The Wicked Boy
Author: Kate Summerscale

ISBN: 9781408851159
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 27 April 2016
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.5 x 3.2
Caroline Baum's Review

I'm a great fan of Summerscale's meticulous British biographies- she has such a fastidious and beady eye for detail it's as if she is looking at all the evidence through an extra sharp microscope. She combines her methodical analysis with real writerly flair when it comes to archival material, making it come alive in technicolour. The Queen of Whale Cay is a hoot and would make a marvellous film; The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a fascinating true crime take on the classic murder mystery.

Now Summerscale tackles the case of a teenage boy, Robert Coombes, and his younger brother accused of the stabbing murder of their mother in 1895. The boys' actions are not really the focus of Summerscale's attention; they are not in dispute. Instead she gives us the social canvas in which the crime is committed and more importantly, how Robert's circumstances contributed to his mental regression but also, more fascinatingly, following his sentencing, Summerscale takes us inside one of Britain's most famous prison asylums, Broadmoor. Robert Coombes was the youngest inmate of this famous place by sev...

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