The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale

By Kate Summerscale

Winner of the 2017 Edgar Award for top truth Crime Book! 

From the across the world bestselling writer, a deeply researched and atmospheric homicide secret of overdue Victorian-era London

In the summer season of 1895, Robert Coombes (age thirteen) and his brother Nattie (age 12) have been obvious spending lavishly round the docklands of East London -- for ten days in July, they ate out at espresso homes and took journeys to the seashore and the theater. the men advised associates that they had been left domestic by myself whereas their mom visited relations in Liverpool, yet their aunt was once suspicious. whilst she finally pressured the brothers to open the home to her, she came upon the badly decomposed physique in their mom in a bed room upstairs. Robert and Nattie have been arrested for matricide and despatched for trial on the previous Bailey. 

Robert confessed to having stabbed his mom, yet his legal professionals argued that he was once insane. Nattie struck a plea and gave proof opposed to his brother. The court docket heard testimony approximately Robert's serious complications, his fascination with violent criminals and his ardour for 'penny dreadfuls', the pulp fiction of the day. He looked as if it would suppose no regret for what he had performed, and neither the prosecution nor the security may well discover a rationale for the homicide. The pass judgement on sentenced the thirteen-year-old to detention in Broadmoor, the main notorious legal lunatic asylum within the land. but Broadmoor grew to become out to be the start of a brand new lifestyles for Robert--one that will have profoundly stunned someone who concept they understood the depraved Boy.

At a time of significant tumult and uncertainty, Robert Coombes's case crystallized modern anxieties concerning the schooling of the operating periods, the risks of pulp fiction, and evolving theories of illegal activity, early life, and madness. With riveting aspect and wealthy surroundings, Kate Summerscale recreates this poor crime and its aftermath, uncovering a rare tale of man's capability to beat the earlier.

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Mr Robertson asked if their Ma was going with them. ‘No,’ said Robert. ‘We had a telegram late last night from Liverpool and she is going there. ’ Emily Coombes sometimes travelled to the north-west of England to visit her well-to-do older sister and her mother. Mr Robertson asked whether she had gone already. ‘No,’ said Robert. ‘She is going directly. ’ enquired Mr Robertson. Robert pulled a gold watch from his pocket and consulted it. ‘About an hour and a half ago,’ he said. Mr Robertson asked who was with their Ma.

Grace and Andrew Stoddart opened the innings for the Gentlemen. Grace lumbered onto the field in his whites, a tiny red and yellow cap on his big, bearded head. It was thirty years almost to the day since he had played in his first Gentlemen v Players match at Lord’s. His partner, Stoddy, was another cricketing hero: a graceful, spirited batsman, with a magnificent moustache, he had led the English side to victory in the last test series in Australia, and had been honoured with a wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s museum in Baker Street.

Robert said: ‘No, Mrs Hayward. John knows nothing about it. ’ ‘You bad boy,’ said Harriet Hayward. Aunt Emily asked him the whereabouts of his father’s gold watch. ‘I have pawned it,’ said Robert. ‘I got Fox to do it. ’ He took the pawn tickets from a bookshelf on the parlour wall and was about to hand them to her when Twort came into the room. On discovering a murder, a policeman was meant to keep close watch on the body until relieved by another officer, but Twort had found the smell so overpowering that he had remained upstairs for only five minutes.

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