I read very little non-fiction but I always enjoy it. It is written by Kate Summerscale who also wrote “The Suspicions of Mr Whicher” which I also enjoyed very much. “The Wicked Boy” is the story of 2 Victorian brothers, the death of their mother and how they were subsequently brought to trial for her murder. It follows the lives of the Robert and Nattie Coombes from that point until their deaths.
Summerscale is great at setting the scene and giving a taste of what life would have been like for some children during the Victorian era. The boys are able to go about their business for a long time after their mother’s death as children had much more freedom or were just simply ignored more. However, both boys were tried in court for the murder. There was no thought of a lighter punishment due to their youth (Robert was 13 and Nattie even younger). The book also examines how the public and the media reacted to the crime and the trial.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.