New Year's Eve, Monday, 1832
In the hilltop village of Clifton, New Year's Eve 1832 is fine. As dusk falls, farm labourers, weavers, wire drawers and card setters put aside their tools and, in holiday mood, hurry to the Black Horse. Soon the inn is foggy with the smoke of clay pipes and rowdy with voices that brag, joke and gossip. Pints of beer are gulped down greedily, causing James Pease, the innkeeper, a deep feeling of satisfaction - this will be a profitable night. He cannot know - has not the slightest presentiment - of the horror that the next day will bring to his door."
From : Borrowers of the Night by Anna Best , Bank House Books, 2011
I went to the splendid Black Horse Inn in Clifton last night to the launch of a new book about the 1832 murder of Elizabeth Rayner in Clifton Woods. Anna Best's book, "Borrowers Of The Night" takes contemporary documentary evidence such as newspaper reports, letters, and the Coroners' Court depositions, and her own interpretation of the events and characters and weaves them together to creative a fascinating narrative. I only started reading it last night, but already I am hooked and eagerly anticipating her own suggestions for a solution to what has for 180 years been an unsolved murder.
I first heard that such a book was in preparation last year when I received an e-mail from Anna asking permission to use one of my photographs of the Anchor Inn, Brighouse in the book she was writing. She was anxious to find a photograph of the inn under its original name (for some reason it is now called the Bridge Inn) and she found my old 1960s photograph whilst doing an internet search. I was more than happy to give her permission to use the photograph and since then I have tried to keep up to date with the project by following her Borrowers Of The Night Blog. A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive an invitation to the launch event at the Black Horse, and last night I had the pleasure of meeting Anna in person and hearing her presentation about the book.
You can order copies of "Borrowers Of The Night" on the Bank House Books website or you can get it from Amazon in the UK (not sure about outside the UK yet, I will report back when I have further information).