Ben Field was good looking and charming, and as a passionate English literature student, knew the power of words to seduce. In the village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire, 69-year-old Peter Farquhar, an eminent teacher and author, found Ben’s presence irresistible. They set up home together, underwent a ‘betrothal’ ceremony at a church, but all along Ben was gaslighting his partner and secretly poisoning him. A year later Peter was dead.
Ben moved on to a neighbour in the same street, Ann Moore-Martin, who also fell helplessly in love with him. All the time Ben was setting her up to redraft her will so that Ben would benefit on her death.
Remarkably, Ben described in intimate detail his manipulations and scheming, his perverse fantasies and desires in numerous journals and diaries, providing a unique insight into the mind of a psychopathic personality.
I never liked True Crime - I think I always thought life was awful enough without reading in depth about awful crimes! However, lockdown seemed to change that. The lovely thing about true crime is that there is often a clear resolution - something which I felt was very lacking in life overall. So I embarked on reading everything I could find - and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was a particular favourite.
Let Us Prey takes a cue from that - and is a truly gripping account of the crimes of Ben Field - a seemingly innocent and friendly church warden, whose manipulative actions led to the death of one man, and the duping of one woman.
Through examining Field's diaries, author Smith truly communicates to the listener the inner thoughts of this psychopath - and the cold, clinical disconnection of Field serves as a stark contrast to the rather more provincial goings on of the small home counties village of Maids Moreton where the crimes took place.
Gripping, insightful, and mercifully not exploitative, "Let Us Prey" explores the truth behind these crimes and takes a hard look at the man who comitted them - well worth a listen!