The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, starring Paddy Considine and based on the best-selling true crime book by Kate Summerscale, has just been screened on ITV. I enjoyed the book enormously - it read like a novel, and the light cast on the evolution of the detective in fiction was at the heart of its appeal.
I wasn't sure whether the TV version would live up to my expectations, but on the whole it was perfectly watchable, if a bit slow in places. Considine wore a pained, long-suffering expression for most of the time, but gave a decent performance as a decent man and a fine detective. However, the literary impact of the real life story was predictably sacrificed because of the needs of the television medium.
The Road House mystery is fascinating - Agatha Christie referred to it in her fiction, and Dorothy L. Sayers also had her theories about it. One of the intriguing points is that Constance Kent, following her belated confession to murder and eventual release from custody, lived to be 100 years old.
John Rhode, Sayers' friend, wrote up the case in a little-known Detection Club book called The Anatomy of Murder, and I think it's fair to say that the influence of true crime on Golden Age detective fiction, as well as on Victorian such as Wilkie Collins, was enormous, although it's not a point that Summerscale really emphasised.