Paperback review: Damn His Blood, By Peter Moore


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The Independent Culture

If The Suspicions of Mr Whicher was as much about the inner life of the Victorian home as it was about murder, then Damn His Blood, an equally fascinating account of a real-life murder from the distant past, is about the inner life of a Georgian rural village.

And in exposing it, Peter Moore sheds light on what he rightly calls a "lost society". In 1806, the parson of Oddingley, the Reverend George Parker, was shot in broad daylight. The man fingered for the crime was a vagrant, Richard Hemming, who soon disappeared. Ten years later, his body was found underneath a barn. The Worcestershire village's ancient feudal laws meant that local farmers had to pay the Rev Parker £135 in tithes, which they refused to do, and violent quarrels ensued as neither side backed down.