I had such high hopes for this book. What a subject, right? Making of the OED AND an insane murderer: how can it go wrong?
I don't know how, but it did. This treatment of such a fascinating story is pretty much lackluster: the author spends a lot of time focusing on the madman, understandably, but the problem is that the majority of the madman's life is spent in a mental asylum.
The action of the book takes place with the making of the OED and, sadly, this is the part of the story that receives the least attention. Of course, the endless, grinding task of churning out dictionary entries is hardly gripping, but I point to the book Devil in the White City as an example of how something like this works well.
He paired a sensational story (serial killer) with a potentially-boring one (detailed story of building the world's fairgrounds) in a compelling way.
I wish that Winchester could have done the same.