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Damn His Blood: Being a True and Detailed History of the Most Barbarous and Inhumane Murder at Oddingley and the Quick and Awful Retribution Hardcover – 21 Jun 2012
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"A gripping historical drama, beautifully told, and underpinned by meticulous research. The best historical crime books root a compelling narrative firmly in the context of their era, and Peter Moore has achieved this in great style" (Jane Robins, author of 'The Magnificent Spilsbury' and 'The Case of the Brides in the Bath')
"The book is vivid, intense and often frightening. Moore’s re-examination…has richness vibrancy and heft. His deferral of the solution and careful, almost novelistic release of information suggest the skilled restraint of a far more experienced writer. There is much in this brilliant, startling debut that will linger long in the memory, images that may even, for the unwary reader, make sleep temporarily difficult" (Jonathan Barnes Times Literary Supplement)
"Moore tempers his considerable research with passages of beautifully evocative prose that bring a bygone era and a small English village vividly to life" (Financial Times)
"A fascinating piece of criminal social history… Written in the vein of Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher, Moore's story is in many ways more compelling. The period he illuminates is murkier, and its protagonists more complex…a lively, atmospheric and gripping recreation of a terrible pact and its shocking consequences" (Herald)
"Peter Moore has scrupulously examined every account of both murders… A detailed and convincing narrative that traces the crimes from their origins in arguments between parishioners and their vicar over dues of corn and sheep, to the grimly Dickensian menace of Worcester jail and the looming gallows" (Michael Prodger Mail on Sunday)
"Moore’s book is a work of scholarship as well as a crime thriller, recreating the world of two centuries past in expressive, erudite and discerning prose… He captures the village of Oddingley in oil colours and, like Constable, is alive to the beauty and restlessness of rural life… Impressive debut" (Literary Review)
"Fascinating and informative, this is a meticulously researched and utterly absorbing non-fiction tale" (Liverpool Post)
"A terrific read. First class research, beautifully written, a true thriller about an extraordinary story unfolding over thirty years two centuries ago" (Edwina Currie)
"I stayed up half the night with this one. I read it in my tea-breaks, I read it in my lunch hour. I read it in the queue at Tesco’s. I could not put it down… This is an instructive and utterly gripping account of one of the nineteenth century’s most infamous crimes. Peter Moore has done a fine job recreating a vanished society: its tensions, its manners, its robustly eschatological curses. Damn his eyes! God rot your bones! Mr Darcy wouldn’t have lasted five seconds with this lot...a vastly enjoyable read, packed with suspense and revelation… Damn His Blood is fun. Great fun. Squire Haggard meets Midsummer Murders: I couldn’t have liked it more" (Waterstones.com)
"Moore's book is a 'microhistory', taking an episode from the past and employing it to investigate an aspect of society at large. Ultimately it becomes a portrait of the justice system at a time when modern notions of detection were in their infancy... A more than adequate replacement for crime fiction" (History Today)
Welcome to Oddingley, a village in Georgian England: home of grisly feuds, violent highwaymen and a black-hearted murder that would rack the village with shame and notoriety for years to comeSee all Product description
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The backdrop of revolutionary war in Europe and the terror of imminent invasion by Napoleon's armies, the horror of famine that greeted each crop failure - they all add to the drama. It's a great look at life in rural England just before the Victorians brought a bit of order to the place - and judging by the difficulties faced by poor Reverend Parker thank God they did! This is a thumping good read and full of great historical detail. Hugely enjoyable.
The facts that the author has unearthed through research are incredibly detailed. Inevitably some conjecture is necessary but he provides cogent reasons. I rate this book more highly than the much lauded "Suspicions of Mr Witcher", the more so as the events occurred more than half a century earlier. It would make an excellent TV adaptation.
Perhaps the most poignant part is contained in the Epilogue. Some hundred years after the murder a memorial stone was erected at the spot in the glebe where the foul deed was committed. In 1940 it was moved a few yards as it was a hazard to tractors. There it stood until the M5 was constructed through the parish when it disappeared, probably for ever. So today thousands of vehicles a day pass through the place where the parson fell. Such is progress!
Peter Moore has done superb research into this case and writes profusely of the many interesting, surprising and sometimes alarming facts surrounding this crime, illustrating clearly the class distinctive perceptions and the dreadful 'Tithe laws' still in place in the early 1800's. Not having the forensic knowledge that we use to its advantage today, this was a truly difficult and unproven case, although a confession towards the end of the book tends to suffice due to a lack of evidence. Peter Moore attempts to unravel the many small inconsistencies in this court case, mainly in an objective manner, but the reader must make his or her own mind up.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to all who are interested in the Georgian period, its law system, village lives and characters, and the regarded lowly place of women at this time. If you loved 'The Maul And The Pear Tree', 'The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher' or 'The Italian Boy', you'll be sure to thoroughly enjoy this book also.
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