In the peaceful Worcestershire village of Oddingley farmers are returning from Midsummer Day festivities, shadows are lengthening on the June grass, and the Reverend George Parker leaves his rectory to fetch his cows from pasture. So far, it has been a day like any other, but what happens next will resonate for years, and the name blackening the name of the village for generations to come.
The brutal murder of the Reverend George Parker in 1806 - shot and beaten to death, his body set on fire and left smouldering in his own glebe field - gripped newspapermen and public alike from Edinburgh to London, and the legend is still debated to this day. It was a strange and stubborn case. The investigation lasted twenty-four years and involved numerous inquests, judges and coroners, each more determined than the last to solve Oddingley's most gruesome crime - or crimes, as it turned out.
Damn His Blood is a fascinating glimpse into English rural life at the beginning of the nineteenth century, so often epitomised by the civilised drawing rooms of Jane Austen, or the rural idylls of Constable. England was exhausted and nervous: dogged by Pitt's war taxes, mounting inflation and the lingering threat of a French invasion, violence was rife, particularly in rural communities where outsiders were regarded with deep suspicion.
With a cast of characters straight out of Hardy, Damn His Blood is a nail-biting true story of brutality, greed and ruthlessness which brings an elusive society vividly back to life.
- Publication Date:
- 02 / 04 / 2014
- 143 x 221 x 38mm