AN author educated in Uttoxeter has gained national exposure after his debut book was serialised by the BBC.
Peter Moore, who grew up in Abbots Bromley and attended Thomas Alleyne’s High School, earned rave reviews for Damn His Blood: A True and Detailed History of the Most Barbarous and Inhumane Murder at Oddingley and the Quick and Awful Retribution.
The work is based on a real life murder committed in the early 19th century in the titular village in Worcestershire, its author having spent three years piecing together documentary evidence to create the gripping tale, which was chosen as BBC Radio 4’s book of the week.
He told the Advertiser: “I was trying to write a different book and to find out about my great uncle, who suffered shellshock in the First World War, when I came across the murder story which became the book.
“The clergyman in the village had antagonised all the farmers in the parish by rigorously collecting the tithes (church taxes), and he ended up being shot on midsummer day 1806.
“It’s all 100 per cent accurate, which is why it took me so long to write it, but there was a lot of documentation including the prosecution brief when the case came to court, which contained testimonies from nearly everyone in the village.
“It’s a historical work as much as it’s a whodunit, and covers the changing culture and things like the pressures of industrialisation.
“I did a lot of reading to get the period details, both history and novels from that period. People have said it’s like a factual version of a Thomas Hardy novel.” Mr Moore, 29, attended Durham University and worked in London before spending two years in Madrid, where he edited a cultural magazine.
He professes himself ‘overwhelmed’ by reaction to the book, described as ‘a fascinating piece of criminal social history’ by Scotland’s The Herald, while the Financial Times hailed his ‘beautifully evocative prose’.
Other fans of the book include former MP and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Edwina Currie, who in her Amazon review of the book described it as ‘beautifully written’ and ‘a true thriller’.
Mr Moore said: “Being book of the week on Radio 4 was a really big thing for a debut author as two million people listen to it, so it’s the best promotion you can get.” The author, son of a retired JCB engineer and retired schoolteacher, is currently working on his next book, a nonfiction work about ‘the scientific quest to predict the weather in the 19th century’.
Damn His Blood, published by Chatto & Windus, a Random House imprint, is available now from book shops.