The Four Marks Murders: Twenty grizzly tales from a sleepy corner of Hampshire between the years 400 and 2020 by Chris Heal
This book is about a large number of deliberate or untimely deaths in what was thought to be one of the quiet backwaters of Hampshire. In this true-life thriller, Chris Heal investigates twenty local murders beginning in Roman times, over half of them since 1900 and three within the last few years. They are all here: drug runners, people traffickers, robbers and smugglers; killers of animals, of babies, young children and the senile; those who planned revenge and sought the righting of wrongs; battle slaughter, corruption in the legal processes and mob rule. 'I don't hold a magic magnet for attracting this sort of information but you will understand that once you start asking, once you start looking, then people start talking. Odd facts jump out from unrelated pages and take new meanings. People brood for a month or two, then make contact. Collecting murders is like rolling a snowball.' In the conclusion, Heal asks why Four Marks is the murder capital of Southern England. Using careful research, the history of the village is revealed. From prehistoric times, Four Marks was an empty squeeze point on the road north. Formed in 1932, it lacked the heart of a medieval village. Its scrub wasteland was only lately filled by a population with far-flung roots. As well as exploding cherished myths, Heal uncovers a surprising secret that links local development to both a great political movement and one of the UK's largest corporations.