Early in the morning of Monday, July 8, 1895, 13-year-old Robert Coombes and his 12-year-old brother, Nattie, set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord's. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbors, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool.
Over the next 10 days, Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents' valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building. When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the penny dreadful novels that Robert loved to read.
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.
©2016 Kate Summerscale (P)2016 Recorded Books
The research and detail that has gone into this work is stunning. I enjoyed every passage. I really appreciate the author bringing this story to life from a newspaper account. The descriptions of turn of the century life and institutions are wonderful. Thank you!
The source material seemed so rich and riveting, but the writing and narration was boring and flat that I couldn't really get into it. Even the things that should have been exciting (the murder, the trial, the war...) were described with the same even tone as the descriptions of every day habits. I cannot figure out why people love this book so much?? It honestly was not that interesting.
My biggest issue w/this book is the time spent on Penny Dreadfuls. They were told is such great detail that they were obviously used as a filler.
The info out on Robt. Combes is limited.
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