‘The Wicked Boy’ – Best Book I Read Last Year

The first question i’ve chosen is: ‘Best book you read last year’ and i’ve chosen ‘The Wicked Boy’ by Kate Summerscale.


This was my favourite book last year for many reasons (here we go!)


As a lover of history, thrillers and anything slightly macabre and morbid, this book grabbed me the moment I read the description. What’s even more macabre and morbid is that it’s a true story!


Victorian London is that moment in history where everything was just creepy. All things happening under a blanket of darkness, a moment that’s just close enough to seem familiar, but so far back everything is unknown.


And this book tells the tale of a child growing up in that fog…and killing his mum (that’s not a spoiler, that’s the whole point of this book!)


Kate Summerscale follows Robert Coombes and his brother Nattie around London after the deed is done. It shows how children’s imagination can make almost anything disappear as they live unfettered by apron strings.
But Summerscale also records the fall out, the discovery of the tragic killing, and the bizarre witnessing of a thirteen year old stood accused of murder in front of judge and jury.


What I loved most about this book is the portrayal of Robert, through records and discovering his path through life, Summerscale has uncovered the truth that he was just a human, confused and mentally ill as a child, but still human. His adult life is described in this book with amazing detail and I couldn’t help but feel relief and almost happy for Robert as I turned the last page of the book.


Why I think you should read this book:

  1. The research done to create this timeline is phenomenal, newspaper articles and police statements, even records of Robert as he grew into adulthood. No stone is left unturned
  2.  That fascination for the weird and dark parts of life and history that we all have within
    us is definitely satisfied. I did indeed gasp and knit my brow as I read about the murder and concealment of the body (how did they continue to live in that house?! They were only children!! *gasp*)
  4. The end of the book tells you what happened to Robert post-murdering his mother. Which is INTERESTING!
  5.  Old newspaper articles, pictures and illustrations are referenced inside the book which show how villainous Robert was portrayed to be, and how this story captivated the city.


Where to buy this book:





Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; First Edition edition (29 April 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408851148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408851142

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