The Tudor Murder Files

by James Moore

Despite the seemingly gruesome title, this was actually a brilliant book full of fascinating information about an area of Tudor history that is not often discussed. As the title suggests Moore explores a large variety of murders that took place during Tudor England, from 1485 to 1603, providing details pulled from first-hand sources.

I was genuinely surprised to learn that the murder rate during Tudor England was greater than today. I would have thought that with such strict religious beliefs people would have refrained from such violent acts – but it seems not. The first part of this book Moore describes the various means in which when a person had been found guilty of committing a murder they were put to death. These means included being hanged, burnt at the stake and even the horrific death of being pressed by large rocks until you were quite literally squished to death!

Moving on Moore then details a large number of murders that took place during the reign of the five Tudor monarchs. He details people who died from eating poison pancakes, a man who was hanged by a silk scarf, another man was found in a cask, the first assassination by a gun, a man who was killed for poking a man’s nose and even a woman who died after having sex! These were quite incredible and drastic means of murder and although gruesome the author retells these stories by focusing on the information rather than passing judgement. Each story was so unique, so strange and yet utterly fascinating that once I began, I just wanted to keep reading.

Moore’s book on murders that took place during the reign of the Tudor’s is definitely a must read!

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