Northamptonshire Murders Paperback – 13 Oct 2003
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Top customer reviews
This is why, when forwarded a copy of Kevin Turton's fascinating exposé of the darker side of the Rose of the Shires, I quite literally vomited in excitement (the stubborn stains and stale odour in my veranda bear testimony to this). Never could I have imagined that Northamptonshire was such a hotbed of vice, brutality and cross-dressing (see chapter 7 - The Hackleton He/She Hacker).
What makes Turton's catalogue of carnage so fascinating is his attention to detail - no sickening splat of matted hair on shovel is ignored, no gut-wrenching crack of axe blade on bone left unexplored. Turton revels in revealing the most minute of details to a point where you wonder if his fascination is bordering on the unhealthy. Still, without this perverse interest in all things macabre the book would not be as half as interesting, and one would not have the opportunity to learn about some of the county's more colourful history.
A good case in point is the intriguing story of the disgruntled farm hand who, upon discovering his diabolical employer had been sleeping with his favourite Derbyshire Gritstone, took revenge with an industrial threshing machine and a large marrow (chapter 2 - The Cuckolded Syresham Shepherd). Turton's eye for detail is put in to good use here - I will never be able to look at a Grocer's the same way again.
The misdemeanours collated in this almanac of atrocity range from the bizarre (Chapter 5 - The Kettering Kettle Drum Killer, an intriguing case about a disillusioned percussionist who could not come to terms with being turned down by the county orchestra. His subsequent mescaline-fuelled rampage cost 18 members of the string section their lives), to the down-right disturbing (Chapter 3 - Down and out in Daventry, a chilling tale of suburban alienation and a penchant for 'human kebab orgies', as Turton so perfectly describes it).
The best (by which I mean the most staggeringly evil) is left to last; the case of the Sadistic School Mistress chronicles how, over the course of 5 years, Brackley headmistress Mrs Cuiller routinely kidnapped, birched and skinned nearly 300 GCSE students who could potentially lower the position of the School in national league tables by underachieving in pottery class. Turton's post-mortem of this warped mind is a fascinating read and an excellent end to an engrossing, if slightly gross, book.
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