A Horrid Deed: The Life and Death of Joe the Quilter

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A blood spatter and mysterious prints in the snow… what happened to Joe the Quilter? For two centuries people have asked about the fate of this humble man from Northumberland. In Robert Smith’s capable hands, readers will find themselves enthralled in a mystery for the ages while steeping themselves in a fascinating time and place too often forgotten.” — James Wolfinger, Professor of History, Illinois State University

Joseph Hedley was found murdered behind a locked door in his modest cottage in 1826. The case attracted attention and notoriety for the brutality of the crime, preserving the name of this quiet man known to his neighbours for producing fine hand- stitched quilts, but it was never solved…

Dr. Smith brings to life the craftspeople of Northern England, drawing on records and stories from the case, as well as a host of other sources to reveal how the Industrial Revolution and the expansion of Empire brought new challenges to the anonymous folk trying to survive in a time of change. He then focuses on the murder of this one man, examining the evidence and how the authorities failed to make an arrest. He concludes with his own determination of who must have been the culprit, solving this ages old mystery.

Part true crime, part social history, this book will intrigue you and reveal the lives—and deaths—of the common people usually overlooked.