Regular price: $24.49

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    43
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Sort of Painful

Moderately interesting story, writing can be excruciating at times with too many details that don't add to anything. Awful ending that won't seem to die and then just does. Narration is monotoned and boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing True Story

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not enough info on the Wicked Boy to write a book

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Natalie
  • N Miami, FL, United States
  • 08-15-16

I kept waiting for it to get good.. it never did.

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Full of Surprises

As in her book about Mr. Wicher, K. Summerscale challenged many of my assumptions about how people lived, their attitudes and what they believed in the pre-WWII British Empire. I am amazed by the evident capacity for kindness and understanding practised by many Victorians for even the most wretched of their fellows.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Depiction of Life and Times Not Just the Crime

What did you love best about The Wicked Boy?

Summerscale provides an excellent picture of the life and times surrounding the story, not just a narrative of the crime, arrest and trial. She takes us into the heart of London and shows us who lived there and how they lived, thrived, and died.

What other book might you compare The Wicked Boy to and why?

Batavia's Graveyard by Mike Dash.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The author did outstanding research

The narrator was wonderful, giving a flavor of life in England. The author did an outstanding job of research into this time period in history and into the life of Robert Coombes.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too Much Filler

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There just wasn't enough story to fill a book. The author filled half of this book with useless information that did not pertain to the central story line of a boy who murdered his mother. I found myself constantly daydreaming and didn't miss a thing because this book is just full of fluff.

What does Corrie James bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Not a thing.

What character would you cut from The Wicked Boy?

All the people who had absolutely no connection to the crime and were just used to fill up pages.

Any additional comments?

Don't waste your credit.<br/>

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Academic not engaging

This did not translate well to audio for me. Maybe better to read? Repetitive. Was expecting more of a story, less a report.