Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

Last Friday night when Mia was snuggling in bed with me, I explained that I would be gone Saturday morning when she woke up, because I was going to the Amish quilt auction. She immediately burst into tears and said, "But what if you don't come back, what if you die and I never see you again?" (She's known around the house for her melodramatic moments) I tried to reassure her that nothing was going to happen to me and that I'm not going to die any time soon. After more tears and hugs, I said, "Honey, God isn't going to let me die too soon."

She replied with, "But what if He's not looking?"
I said, "He's always watching. Did you know that there's a verse in the Bible that says that God knows even when a little bird dies?"
She insisted that I find it immediately and read it to her. I couldn't find it in my concordance, so I went to Bible Gateway and found the verse there: Matthew 10:29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. The smile returned to her face and she said, "More Mommy, read more!" So I read her verse 30: And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
"Mommy, how many hairs are there on my head?" I said, "I don't know, but God does, because he loves you that much." She wanted me to keep reading, so I skipped around in the chapter and read her more verses filled with the promises of God's love for her. She went to sleep secure in the knowledge of His love and with a thirst to know more about him. Again her faith awes me.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale is an indepth look at the beginnings of the detective in both police investigation and literature through a single case in England in 1860. A little boy's body is found slashed and thrown into a privy pit on his family's grounds, and everyone is suddenly a suspect. Inspector Jack Whicher is called in from Scotland Yard two weeks after the murder when the local constabulary is unable to come up with the name of the murderer. Whicher uses material evidence and listens closely to the statements of everyone involved to try and unravel the case. But when he arrests the 16 year old half-sister of the victim, the press and locals turn against him. Whicher, who was the inspiration for investigators by both Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, had developed an excellent reputation for sussing out the truth, but this case essentially destroyed his career, and even the sister's subsequent confession didn't rehabilitate him. The book is excellently researched and written. Summerscale maintains taut suspense throughout and raises several questions about the truth of the confession. She also exposes how the police and detectives were viewed by the public: first as intriguing geniuses, later as nosey, low-class bumblers. Summerscale writes an terrific book about the birth of the detective and traces his early formation in literature and life.

We have had very little nice spring weather yet. Most days in April were below average temperature. And yet, on Sunday I found a wood tick on my arm, and this morning I woke up with a mosquito bite on my ankle. This does not seem fair!

I made a mistake yesterday, I actually have TWO copies of Healing Promises to give away. So you're chances of winning have just improved! Drop me an email at christysbookblog@gmail.com before midnight, Thursday May 15th to enter.