This book is a gripping read...

I’ve just read “Damn His Blood” by Peter Moore, a compelling, thoroughly researched and elegantly written story of the death two hundred years ago of the Oddingley clergyman, the Reverend George Parker – and the “quick and awful retribution”, as the book describes it.
It’s been part of my recess reading. The recess is drawing to a close but I haven’t been on holiday. That’s because, as a defence minister, I’ve had duties related to the Olympic and Paralympic games. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend any of the events themselves, but I know from friends what an amazing atmosphere there was at all the venues.

But I have had a few free evenings – and unusual luxury in the political life – and that’s meant I’ve been able to do a bit more walking with my wife and a bit more reading. “Damn His Blood” is one of the books I have read and it’s given a whole new dimension to one of our favourite local walks.

The walk in question is around Oddingley and past the Fir Tree Inn at Dunhampstead (currently sadly closed due to flooding – I hope it’s able to reopen soon). I’ve often looked at the sign outside the pub - “Every Old Inn Has a Story to Tell, but None as Gruesome as the Oddingley Murderers” - and wanted to find out more about that story.

I can recommend heartily this book that has helped me to do that. It’s a book about the community in which those two murders took place, in 1806. It’s part history, part thriller, part detective story and I couldn’t put it down.

It’s full of local places – Droitwich, Worcester, Bromsgrove, Trench Wood, and Tibberton – as well as Oddingley itself and it paints a colorful and compelling picture of the lives led by our predecessors two hundred years ago.

It’s a great read – I’d love to know if you agree.


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