Delving into final words: New book for town resident

A Morpeth resident’s debut book looks into the stories behind the final utterings said, or reported to have been said, that include bravery, irony and confessions.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 4:32 pm
Chris Wood.

As the title ‘Famous Last Words’ suggests, Chris Wood’s publication features a range of well-known people throughout history – an example being Sir Walter Raleigh having some typically forthright and urging words for his executioner.

There are also some local connections such as the following described in the book description by publishers Pen & Sword Books: ‘Were the final words of convicted murderer Ernest Brown a candid confession to another killing he had committed deep in the Northumberland Moors some two years previously which had lay unsolved?’

A student of criminology and psychology, Chris started writing for the UK True Crime Podcast a few years ago and got in touch with Pen & Sword after coming across its advert saying it was looking for certain types of writer.

He submitted some proposals and got the go ahead to do Famous Last Words, which is priced at £14.99 (216 pages in total) and will be available from Friday, as well as a similar book that is due to be published in June 2022.

“For my debut book, I wanted to delve into the background of the people with famous last words to tell the story of how they reached that point rather than just a list,” said Chris, who lives in the High Church area of Morpeth with wife Charlotte and their two-year-old daughter, Emma.

“Some of them relate to crimes that were big news at the time, including a few in Northumberland.

“Thankfully, I was able to do the bulk of my research at the London and Edinburgh national archives, and the Woodhorn archives and Newcastle libraries more locally, before Covid-19 arrived in the UK.

“I did have to make a few alterations due to the virus disruption, but only a few as most of my online requests to archive services for information and/or documents were successful.

“I’m looking forward to the book being published on April 30 and I’m pleased that the reviews so far have been mainly positive.”

People can pre-order the book at www.pen-and-sword.co.uk and from Amazon.