Murder and witchcraft



Every now and then I have to do some shameless self-promotion—such as right now. Next month, UK publisher The History Press will release my next book, The Case That Foiled Fabian: Murder and Witchcraft in Rural England. The book is a non-fiction account of the unsolved 1945 pitchfork murder of Charles Walton in the village of Lower Quinton. Some believe the murder was the last ritual witchcraft killing in Britain. Scotland Yard dispatched its best man, Chief Inspector Robert Fabian, to investigate. Here’s the jacket copy.

On Wednesday 14 February 1945, the body of Charles Walton was discovered on the lower slopes of Meon Hill near the sleepy Warwickshire village of Lower Quinton, his torso pinned to the ground by a pitchfork. Myths and rumours soon swirled about the crime. Accounts claim Walton, a lifelong resident of Lower Quinton and a retired labourer, was believed by many to be a clairvoyant who could talk to birds and exercise control over animals. It’s been reported that many villagers believed Walton’s death was carried out according to ritual witchcraft—but what is fact and what is fiction? The most famous police officer in Britain, Chief Inspector Robert Fabian (Fabian of the Yard), was promptly dispatched by Scotland Yard to solve this increasingly peculiar and foreboding mystery.

‘Fabian of the Yard’ was not a man prone to superstition and had dealt with some of the most notorious killers of his time—but there was something strange about the Walton murder. Did the clues point to ritual witchcraft as the modus operandi, or was the Black Magic angle merely a ruse? With the villagers unable—or unwilling—to shed light on the matter, Fabian faced, for the first time in his glittering career, the daunting prospect of failure. The Case That Foiled Fabian lays out, for the first time, what actually happened and distills the truth from the many myths that are today mistaken as facts.

The book is now available for pre-order on

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