Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale’s books include The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Wicked Boy, which was published last year.

On the Sofa: ‘Making a Murderer’

Kate Summerscale, 5 January 2017

The Netflix​ documentary series Making a Murderer opens with wobbly video footage of the release from jail of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man convicted in 1985 of violent sexual assault. He’d been in prison for 18 years, we learn, until advances in DNA technology revealed that he was innocent of the crime. Then a cello strikes up, and we cut to the succession of images that will open...

A ‘true ghost story’, except to a believer, moves between the worlds of fact and fiction, but Alma Fielding’s poltergeist is more disturbing. It inhabits a place of constant dissolution where the...

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Amativeness was the cause of Isabella Robinson's disgrace: Soon after they met in Edinburgh, Combe examined Isabella’s skull. He informed her that she had an unusually large cerebellum, an...

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‘The word “clue”,’ Kate Summerscale writes, ‘derives from “clew” meaning a ball of thread or yarn.’ In mid-Victorian England, clues were satisfying...

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A figure as singular as Carstairs assails one’s sensibilities the way the god Pan might were he suddenly to materialise in one’s back garden. One would be tempted to pretend one hadn’t seen him,...

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