The Wicked Boy

The Wicked Boy

The Mystery of A Victorian Child Murderer

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
5
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In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality - it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man's capacity to overcome the past.
Publisher: London : Bloomsbury, 2016.
Copyright Date: ß2016
ISBN: 9780698135000
0698135008
1594205787
140885113X
1408851164
1408851156
1408851148
Characteristics: 1 online resource (378 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations (black and white), maps.

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Opinion

From Library Staff

Relates the 1895 case of Robert and Nattie Coombes, preadolescent boys who killed their mother; the subsequent trial that found Robert guilty but insane; his detention in Broadmoor, the infamous criminal lunatic asylum; and the surprising outcome of his incarceration.


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MsMarple Mar 09, 2017

Based on extensive research into a huge range of contemporary resources, the author has brought to life the lives, times, customs, prejudices, social and economic conditions and much more of a paricular time in English history to create an accurate and highly readable account of what was a huge scandal. Why did a thirteen year old boy kill his mother ? Summerscale has carefully, respectfully told Robert Coombs story and given the reader a sensitive insight into another time.

a
Activevoice
Oct 27, 2016

This is the first Kate Summerscale book I have read but, immediately upon completing The Wicked Boy, I requested her other true crime historical novels. Her skill as a journalist shines through her writing: concise, clear but with intrigue and suspense usually found in a good mystery novel. The crime was interesting enough but her background research was compelling: the Victorian justice system, Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, and Anzac troops in Gallipoli. Her “Wicked Boy” was a complex character and, even with all her discoveries, a lingering mystery in himself. First Rate book.

u
uncommonreader
Sep 30, 2016

This is an interesting biography of Robert Coombes, a working class lad from the East End, who killed his mother in 1895 and went on to live a rather surprising life. It is set at the time of early studies of criminality and mental illness and explores such issues as the impact of "penny dreadfuls" on the youth of the day. The book is well-researched, but Summerscale used everything she unearthed, sometimes of questionable relevance.

h
horthhill
Sep 08, 2016

"The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer" by Kate Summerscale is the best non-fiction book I've read in the past year. I'm impressed by the sleuthing and searching Summerscale has done to tell a complete story. It is a mystery and like a really good mystery the ending is deeply satisfying.

j
jr3083
Aug 23, 2016

Set in 1895 London, this is a true crime retelling of a matricide committed by a young boy, the resulting trial and the aftermath. This is skilled non-fiction writing that manages to combine both tension and resolution, while remaining true to its sources. For my full review, see
https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/the-wicked-boy-the-mystery-of-a-victorian-child-murderer-by-kate-summerscale/

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