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10 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moat Farm Mystery
Undoubtedly, 'The Moat Farm Mystery' is the definitive study of the case. M.W.Oldridge writes with elegance and integrity and the character of the complex scoundrel, Samuel Herbert Dougal, is vividly portrayed; it takes great skill to engage the reader in the life of such an unpleasantly cruel and incorrigible protagonist. Though the book is a work of impressive...
Published on 24 Sept. 2012 by KP

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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read - but the style lets it down.
The book gives an interesting, in-depth look at a murder case which was once as well-known as those of Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippen. It has faded from view to become a rather quaint Victorian relic, with a maiden lady of a certain age being lured from propriety by an engaging fraudster who kills her for her money. The book succeeds in making those involved in the case...
Published 1 month ago by Bibliophile


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moat Farm Mystery, 24 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
Undoubtedly, 'The Moat Farm Mystery' is the definitive study of the case. M.W.Oldridge writes with elegance and integrity and the character of the complex scoundrel, Samuel Herbert Dougal, is vividly portrayed; it takes great skill to engage the reader in the life of such an unpleasantly cruel and incorrigible protagonist. Though the book is a work of impressive scholarship, it also reads as a thriller, gripping the reader's attention from beginning to end. This book must surely join the ranks of the very best true crime studies featuring one of the most fascinating murder cases of the late Victorian and Edwardian period in our criminal history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lacking only an index, 29 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
This book is a real treat...If I could offer it 4.9 stars I really would. The only reason I don't award five is that it lacks an index, which to me, is a cardinal sin in a work of this nature...

That said, I reiterate, this book is a real treat. The author has clearly thoroughly researched every aspect of Samuel Dougal's life, and relates well the tale of a fraudulent late victorian philanderer...the progression in his crimes, from the petty through to the most serious, is fascinating, and I frankly found it difficult to put the book down...

The only question I'm left with at the end, is how did Dougal get away with it for so long? Every other question I might've had has been comprehensively answered.

I really would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates a good factual read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read - but the style lets it down., 29 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
The book gives an interesting, in-depth look at a murder case which was once as well-known as those of Jack the Ripper and Dr Crippen. It has faded from view to become a rather quaint Victorian relic, with a maiden lady of a certain age being lured from propriety by an engaging fraudster who kills her for her money. The book succeeds in making those involved in the case real people rather than characters in a melodrama. Dougal was a callous user of vulnerable women who may have already killed two wives. Camille Holland - his victim at Moat Farm - was a very frightened lady, trapped at an isolated location, who could not escape her situation. Dougal's true wife was happy to live on the proceeds of his crimes, and may have abetted them.

Where the book fails is in the lack of an index (already noted in these reviews) which is vital in a book ranging across 60 years and with a large cast of supporting characters. The author's style is also a problem as Oldridge/Ripper seems addicted to using obscure (or should that be 'recondite'?) language when plain prose would do. (Chthonic, anyone? It means domestic or homegrown). This comes across as very condescending to the reader and only my interest in the case itself kept me going to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder most real, 17 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
A very detailed and full account of the life of a really nasty criminal. Many of the wider facts and details were very interesting and placed the whole story in context.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read for the price, 21 July 2014
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Interesting book relating the saga of a less well known British murder. Writing style detracts slightly form an otherwise very enjoyable read.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moat Farm a little muddy, 28 Oct. 2012
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BarkerP (France, lefthand middle) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
I can't fully agree with reviewer KP about this book. Although it's a very thorough trawl through the case and its twist and turns, I found the author's style prolix, awkward and a little tendentious. A good editor would have helped this to being a worthy title of the genre.

I could have done with more introspection re Dougal's psychology. It can be said that his is a classic Victorian story of murder and intrigue, dogged policing and inevitable denouement, but you could also say that Dougal was a klutz who left a mess everywhere in his life and didn't much care who knew it. This clashes with his obvious intelligence. He got away with things for so long because Victorian policing was a much slower machine in those days, having none of the speedy efficiency available today. His story is rather like Crippen's, who may have left a murder mystery in the US before he came to England, and George Joseph Smith, who possibly had other questions to answer aside from his brides in the bath. These men, and others like them of the period, form a band of serial seducers whose exploits fascinate and fail at the same time. We had a similar character here in France, of that epoch - Landru, the Bluebeard. I wonder how many more there were, undiscovered?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 5 Sept. 2013
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Jay (Cambs, UK) - See all my reviews
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I would really recommend this book to people who are interested in social history. It reads like a well-written novel but it happens to be true. The author has done a lot of detailed research and it's one of the best of the genre I've had the pleasure of reading.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An mind gripping tale encumbered with it`s old English, 7 Jan. 2013
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The tale takes some effort to get into, but once the old English has become comfortable we have an engrossing read.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not ever so splendid writing, 17 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Moat Farm Mystery: The Life and Criminal Career of Samuel Herbert Dougal (Paperback)
Afraid I read only a few pages and then it lost me - I left it in Toronto with me eldest and partner - and await their verdict. Sorry!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moat farm mystery, 17 Jan. 2013
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joy page (west yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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Good read,a lot of work went into checking this mystery.an awful lot of time and effort,If its all true which I believe it is,a really good read,joy Paige
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