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Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer | Kate Summerscale
From the internationally bestselling author, a deeply researched and atmospheric murder mystery of late Victorian-era London In the summer of 1895, Robert Coombes (age 13) and his brother Nattie (age 12) were seen spending lavishly around the docklands of East London -- for ten days in July, they ate out at coffee houses and took trips to the seaside and the theater. The boys told neighbors they had been left home alone while their mother visited family in Liverpool, but their aunt was suspicious. When she eventually she forced the brothers to open the house to her, she found the badly decomposed body of their mother in a bedroom upstairs. Robert and Nattie were arrested for matricide and sent for trial at the Old Bailey. Robert confessed to having stabbed his mother, but his lawyers argued that he was insane. Nattie struck a plea and gave evidence against his brother. The court heard testimony about Robert's severe headaches, his fascination with violent criminals and his passion for 'penny dreadfuls', the pulp fiction of the day. He seemed to feel no remorse for what he had done, and neither the prosecution nor the defense could find a motive for the murder. The judge sentenced the thirteen-year-old to detention in Broadmoor, the most infamous criminal lunatic asylum in the land. Yet Broadmoor turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Robert--one that would have profoundly shocked anyone who thought they understood the Wicked Boy. At a time of great tumult and uncertainty, Robert Coombes's case crystallized contemporary anxieties about the education of the working classes, the dangers of pulp fiction, and evolving theories of criminality, childhood, and insanity. With riveting detail and rich atmosphere, Kate Summerscale recreates this terrible crime and its aftermath, uncovering an extraordinary story of man's capacity to overcome the past."
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Grrlbrarian
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Pickpick

Finished my #Bookspin! Intriguing tale of a tween boy who kills his mom (not a spoiler, it‘s on the jacket flap). The book explores whether he was insane, acted alone or had an accomplice, and what became of him afterward. There‘s little suspense here but a fascinating peek at criminal justice for children tried as adults for serious crimes in Victorian Britain. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ #BookSpinBingo

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 1y
32 likes1 comment
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Mitch
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

Summerscale is an amazing researcher - & uses recorded facts to lay out the crime, the aftermath and society's response. I appreciate the fact there is no filling in the gaps of what isn't recorded fact.The book runs at a fast pace. That does leave the story rather cold - Summerscale doesn't project or speculate - but neither does she suggest or bring in hindsight, so the telling, whilst compelling, can feel rather clinical.

54 likes1 stack add
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veritysalter
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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@jenniferw88 @Powered_By_Plants @Mrs_B #LMPBC (011) Would any of these interest you?

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jenniferw88 Either of the Summerscales or Bedlam for me. Have tried to read confessions but found it a bit slow. 2y
Mrs_B Mrs Robins's Disgrace sounds fascinating - as does Bedlam. Great choices! 2y
Powered_By_Plants Oh wow all of them 😂 , Mayeb - The wicked boy or bedlam but would be happy with any ☺️ 2y
veritysalter We‘ll go with Bedlam. Looking forward to doing this with you all. 2y
Mrs_B 👍 👍 👍 2y
50 likes10 comments
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amedwards117
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

It‘s very refreshing when I stumble upon a very well written true crime novel and this book absolutely fits in that category. 4/5 stars - the last third of the book was a bit tedious for me but I‘m going to chalk that up to me enjoying the grisly crime sections of books more than the aftermath 😅 definitely with the read, though.

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vivastory
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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#TBRPile Day 1
Taking the idea of @StaceyKondla I will be posting one book from my TBR piles per day. No reason, no explanation. I plan on doing this daily for a month & by the end will wind up with a TBR from my TBR.

StaceyKondla This book looks awesome! And thank you for joining my TBR fun 💕😊 3y
erzascarletbookgasm 😆 The book sounds good. 3y
vivastory @StaceyKondla It's a great idea! Looking forward to digging through my shelves 📚📚📚 3y
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vivastory @erzascarletbookgasm Doesn't it? 👍 3y
batsy 😂 That sounds like a plan 📚📚 3y
UglyOldBat This book is a good one 3y
StaceyKondla ❤️❤️ 3y
74 likes4 stack adds7 comments
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LiteraryLona
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Mehso-so

I wanted more from this one than it was able to get around to. Overall, an interesting overview of a horrendous crime, but I didn‘t care for the retellings. #campandread

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Natascia.Brondino
Mehso-so

I liked Kate summerscale style, clear and straight, well-documented, but I struggled to finish this book. Too gaunt and not so fluid

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JPeterson
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Pickpick

Interesting tale of a child murderer and the Victorian justice system. Overall, I found it an enjoyable read, I just lost interest at the end (reasons why with spoiler tags in comments.)

JPeterson I just couldn‘t care about the story when Robert was freed and his military history. The last part of him helping a young child to overcome his troubles was neat, and that was the only saving grace for the last few chapters. 4y
58 likes1 comment
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JPeterson
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#BlackCatChallenge: #Nightmare

This is my boyfriends nightmare - how many books will I return with after a library sale. 😱😉

I am impressed I only came back with 7, for a total of only $20. 🤗

coffeenebula Hild is SO great! 4y
SarahSaysRead Fledgling! 🖤 4y
79 likes3 comments
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Suetara
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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The best boxes are the ones that contain books. #bookoutlethaul

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LiteraryLona
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

@BookaholicNatty you‘ve outdone yourself! Thank you!!!

BookaholicNatty @LiteraryLona I‘m soooo glad you got it!!!! ❤️🎉 I had fun picking out some books for you!!! Did you have any of the books already? I tried to pick out ones I thought you would like 4y
LiteraryLona I love them all and didn‘t have any of them already :) they‘re perfect! 4y
9 likes2 comments
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Leelee08
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My $10 haul from the used bookstore!💙

UwannaPublishme 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4y
gibblr Niiiice! 4y
68 likes2 comments
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MaeMaeLu
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Starting my 3rd book for #24in48. Tbf I finished a book I was half through first but it counts! @24in48

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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

In 1895, 13 year-old Robert Coombes confessed to killing his mother. Found guilty but insane, he was sentenced to Broadmoor (a criminal lunatic asylum) where he stayed until he was released 17 years later. The author challenges what you think you know about Robert in the second half of the book—the story of what he did when he got out and how his crime might be explained. Very well-written, engrossing account of the crime & the era. Recommended.

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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Ohhh, I know some kids who definitely wish this was a thing!

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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Time to finish this one now that I‘m back from vacation.

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Emenendez
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Really interesting discussion of compulsory & free education, the resulting increase in literacy and the rise of penny dreadfuls which often served as a distraction, according to the author, from the rote learning in school.

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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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The 19th c. equivalent of video games...

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TracyReadsBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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The cover pretty much says it all...what it doesn‘t say is that this is an account of a 13 year old boy who confessed to killing his mother. Described not only as an investigation of the murder and its aftermath but also an examination of London and its inhabitants coming to grips with new social and political climates, this book has great reviews. I‘m anticipating a good read.

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TheWellAccompaniedBook
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

A really good listen. Well researched and Summerscale evokes a vivid Victorian setting. Tho there were some parts that, although interesting, did seem to not be relevant for eh story and dragged it out a bit. Would read another of hers tho.

Mdargusch I love Victorian true crime! 5y
38 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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TheWellAccompaniedBook
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Started The Wicked Boy audiobook in the bus on the way back to Nanjing from Yangzhou. This pic is taken at the Bamboo garden we visited today.

kspenmoll Gorgeous. Is that a rock formation in forefront? 5y
britt_brooke Beautiful! 5y
TheWellAccompaniedBook @kspenmoll yep. Some Chinese gardens aren‘t considered finished without this sort of rock formation. 5y
45 likes3 comments
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kezzlou85
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

This was an interesting read. It tells the story of Robert who murders his mother and then we follow his life after the trial which was fascinating to read.

35 likes2 stack adds
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KennedyBooks
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Has anyone read any of these little lovelies yet?! This weeks mini book haul with the weekend still to come!#howtostoptime #thesecrethistory #bookhaul

ShookBelf The Secret History is one of my all-time favourite books. 5y
15 likes1 comment
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Moonpa
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Deborah42
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

After murdering their mother, thirteen year old Robert Coombes and his younger brother spend the next ten days watching cricket matches, playing cards, and pawning their possessions. The party is cut short when a nosy relative insists on entering the house to investigate a noxious odor. Emily Coombes‘ decomposing body is discovered and Robert confesses on the spot.

Robert‘s story is meticulously researched. For true crime fans.

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Samanthalack
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Pickpick

Fun and intriguing read.

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Moonpa
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Brought the kids home to their parents and of course I had to go to the local book store! Toby wanted to be in the photo too. #dogsoflitsy

Melissa_J Toby is so cute 🐶❤️ 6y
24 likes1 stack add1 comment
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melissanorr
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Tried 4 books in the last 8 hours but none of them have held my attention. Trying to decide what to read next in #24in48.

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vivastory
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Books_Wine_Repeat I just read some great reviews on Made for Love. It's on my TBR list. 6y
vivastory @Books_Wine_Repeat It sounds pretty wild. 🐬 🐬 6y
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BooksForEmpathy Just finished Made to Love! Hahahaaa! I had fun. 6y
vivastory @BooksForEmpathy I've never read Nutting, it sounds great 6y
Redwritinghood Great haul! I see you have Wicked Boy already. Would be funny if you wind up reading it before I do. 6y
vivastory @Redwritinghood Thanks for posting about it. I wouldn't have noticed it at the store. 6y
Texreader I ❤️ Jussi Adler Olsen! Nice haul! 6y
vivastory @Texreader The bookstore employee recommended it after I asked for procedurals with memorable characters along the lines of Tana French 6y
Texreader The regular characters are quirky and great! Hope you love it! 6y
65 likes10 comments
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Redwritinghood
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Just got some holiday book mail. This was a recent GoodReads win. One more for my tbr!

vivastory Hadn't heard of this one. Stacked! 6y
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tarabu42
Pickpick

I don't know what I was expecting, as I haven't read True Crime in years, but wow these are awful people doing awful things.

tarabu42 Spoiler: The Wicked Boy grew up and made good, in spite of growing up as a child in that house. 6y
2 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Shazzer
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
Pickpick

Enjoyed this book. From the brutal murder to how Robert lived his life afterwards was so interesting. I especially liked the description of the trial and the press reactions. Things haven't changed. Really like this author

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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Pickpick

I found this book very interesting. I learned a lot on the Victorian justice system. Definitely a good read ;)

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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Time to read... and eat... and drink... tea of course!

Faibka Mmm those madeleines look good 😊 6y
Adventures-of-a-French-Reader They were good ;) I bought them at Whole Foods 6y
4 likes2 comments
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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Reading with my cat warming my feet ;)

Faibka 😻😻😻 6y
3 likes1 comment
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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Time to read ;) With a tea, and a wonderful caramel/amber scent...

Faibka Perfect! 😃 l recognize that mug 😉 6y
Adventures-of-a-French-Reader I love my mugs, the woman who made them for me is a dear friend, who I visit each time I go back home. 6y
4 likes2 comments
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deirdrebeecher
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
Pickpick

I recently read a comment, where someone said they shouldn't have to push through a story, it should grab them from the start. Normally I would agree. But you know that is the problem with true stories, they can be inconsistent. I thought the first third, which dealt with the crime a little depressing. But I am so glad I pushed on, because it builds to a fascinating ending.

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Bookish_Predator
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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Thought I'd start this one today. Still trying to get through my NetGalley list and currently failing miserably 😏

8 likes1 stack add
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amypeveto
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Pickpick

I know it's only August, but I'm calling it now: favorite read of 2016.

1 like1 stack add
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Karli
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Because having a good reference is just a good way to start, right?

10 likes1 stack add
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Reviewsbylola
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Panpan

I know I am in the minority, but I did not enjoy this one. It is touted as a mystery but really, where was the mystery? We are told from the start that Robert killed his mother (Victorian England, 1895), so I kept waiting and waiting for some other mystery to unveil itself. Now that I have finished the book, I get where Summerscale was going with it, but to me it just read of a boring biography of a man that just happened to kill his mother.

heylucy Bummer! I have that one from the library right now! 7y
Reviewsbylola I have only seen positive reviews for it so far so hopefully you like it! @heylucy 7y
33 likes2 comments
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Reviewsbylola
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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It's almost 1:30 AM and I am awake . . . for now. So I may as well jump in and start on the #24in48. This is my current read and I am just over 50% in. I'll be honest, it is dragging for me. Something about Summerscale's writing is just too matter of fact, like she is just spitting out facts. I have to say though, I wish newspapers these days were as interesting as the ones back then!

LauraJ Tempted by this book... 7y
Reviewsbylola The first book of hers I read, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, was fantastic. Then she published a book a few years ago that I was so excited for but ultimately bailed on because I couldn't get into it. This one is picking up but jury's still out on how I feel about it. @LauraJ 7y
29 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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SarahBZ
The Wicked Boy | Kate Summerscale
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When your apartment is too hot you head to your neighborhood wine bar for a Gruner and Victorian true crime, The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale #booksandbooze

BookBabe Perfect solution! 🍷📚 7y
Reviewsbylola This is one of my current reads too! 7y
MrBook One smart woman, ye are! 😎👍🏻 7y
8 likes3 comments
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Penguinpress
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One of EW's must reads for the summer!

Reviewsbylola Reading this right now! 7y
6 likes1 comment
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missfarin
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"Suicide during temporary insanity, induced by reading trashy novels." ?

Biblio_Bon Clearly a reasonable conclusion 😂 7y
13 likes1 comment
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missfarin
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Very few people write nonfiction like Kate Summerscale. Completely hooked.

LitHousewife That sounds really good! 7y
[DELETED] 2232195534 I read a great review of this one recently. Have it on my list even though I don't read a lot of non-fiction. 7y
BethFishReads How I'd miss this? 7y
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missfarin @BethFishReads I feel like it came in way under the radar. So far, it's just as good as Mr. Wicher. 7y
missfarin @kaysreadinglife This is the perfect kind of nonfiction for a fiction reader. It feels exactly like a regular mystery/thriller. 7y
BethFishReads I've got it on hold at the library. Only one person ahead of me 7y
MrBook I listened to the author get interviewed on a history podcast. Great author! 7y
17 likes6 stack adds7 comments
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DGRachel
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OMG! I'm so excited for this book. @Liberty had this on today's new books newsletter. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher was amazing. I'm #10 in line on my library's hold list. I can't wait! Curse you for adding to my TBR stack Liberty! 😂

Liberty 😝 7y
Liberty 😝 7y
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KrisConstantReader
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Pickpick

Excellent book 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 Stars! Highly recommended for anyone. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

KrisConstantReader Read my full review and add me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1690053818 7y
Reviewsbylola I am glad to hear you liked it. I hope to read this one soon. 7y
KrisConstantReader @Reviewsbylola it's excellent, very rich in detail. 7y
71 likes11 stack adds3 comments