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I did my best to like this book, but unfortunately sometimes it's hard going. It's a well-researched account of an early-nineteenth-century murder, but the writing just doesn't have the verve that some similar books do. I kept losing track of who was who, and worst of all, I didn't much care. I'm sorry to say this will appeal most to researchers rather than to the general public. Instead I'd recommend "The Murder of Helen Jewett" or of course "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher."
Have just finished, and thoroughly enjoyed this True Crime story of the early1800's. This is one of those books where, even though your eyes are blurring after many hours of reading, you just HAVE to read a few more! A really fascinating story.
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.
Meticulously researched and compellingly written, probably the best historical crime book I have ever read. I was totally unaware of the Oddingley murders until I read the book. Although the main events happened over 200 years ago the author brings alive the settings and the characters as if it was all quite recent. But it is not just a murder story, it also tells us a lot about the beginning of the death of traditional rural England as the gradual transformation from an agricultural to an industrial society gathered pace.
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!
Be prepared to read this as history rather than crime and you will enjoy both. one thing puzzled me though, " and the quick and awful retribution" of the title.Spoiler Alert! I haven't actually finished the book yet so the retribution may still be awful. But I can assure you it is anything but quick!
This book was a great holiday read, really gripping stuff. I have read The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, and it's a similar dark tale of passions and undercurrents. A tremendous amount of research has been utilised which is incorporated seamlessly to tell a dark tale of death and conspiracy. It really immerses you in the period and, in fact, having read it once, I shall be re-reading it again in a few months to really appreciate the detail that's gone into telling this fascinating, spine-chilling tale.
One of the books I really enjoyed reading, an insight to Rural England two centuries ago. Of course the murder is the central point that "glues" things together, and in a small way, the outcome of that is a bit flat. But an excellent read.
One of the most gripping books I have read recently, unfolding much more like a detective novel than a history book. A tremendous amount of research has gone into finding out what life was like in Oddingley in the years before and after Reverend Parker's murder as the authorities tried to discover what had happened to his murderer. I liked the section on oaths and swearing particularly and it was interesting to think about word magic with words like damn which don't seem at all harmful today. Surprised I have not heard about this story before but I'm glad I decided to read it after hearing a bit on Radio 4. Really well written and very much recommended.