April 28th, 2009

Taxes and Accounting Practices in Victorian England

So basically I'm writing a story about an estate in England during the mid-1800s, and one of the main characters is goes on his annual visit to the estate to help the Marquis with his financial records and taxes, etc. My question is, would this be historically accurate? What were the tax and accounting laws in Victorian England? (Who prepared the taxes, and what sort of book keeping was required? Were taxes an annual thing?) Is there a website you can refer me to?

Some search items I've tried are Taxes, Victorian Era, economics of the Victorian Era (which kind of helped, but not really), and running an Estate, Estate Taxes in England, etc. But most of the search results are for recent taxes and thus not relevant to my story. For example, a Wikipedia article on Taxation in the UK was interesting, but too current.

Gunshot wound to the shoulder?

Terms searched: Shoulder gunshot, gunshot wound, wounded from behind, long-range rifles

So, I've got a story where two men go into an old abandoned train yard in Detroit(which I've got a Dtroit-ian helping me on, accuracy-wise) that's known for gang activity. One of the men is a more hand-to-hand fighter, who ends up off doing his own thing beating the shit out of people and disarming them. The other is guns and ammo's poster child and trying to shoot and kick everything out of hisway, killing all in his path. As they're fighting, someone from the roof of a second story building behind them shoots mister guns and ammo from behind. I want the wound to be incapacitating for about a couple of weeks, nothing TOO serious, but one that would mean the other man would have to take care of him for a bit, as he wouldn't be able to use his arm too well.

Here are my questions, any help would be appreciated:

What sort of gun should the shooter be using to hit a man in the back(the left shoulder)?

Of course, depending on the rifle, how bad would he get hurt to show the signs and have the symptoms I'm talking about. I don't want there to be any serious permanent damage, just one that's going to decommission him.

If you have any questions, I'll answer what I can and give the details :) Thanks in advance!!

Police procedure, DNA and paternity testing following a crime

Setting: Modern-day Britain, to all intents and purposes. A large cosmopolitan city in the South. However, it's alternate-universe and a few decades in the future, so I can waive some details if necessary.

Situation: A character (let's call him Robert) has been witness to a murder, as well as injured by the perpetrator (let's call him Alex). Traces of Alex's DNA have been recovered from the crime scene, a large disused storage cellar. It also so happens that Alex is Robert's father, although neither of them are aware of this.

Assumptions: It's necessary for my plot that the police would take samples both of the murder victim's and Robert's DNA as well, in order to isolate Alex's DNA, although this might not be strictly accurate.

What I need to know:
  • Firstly: In processing the DNA samples and entering them in (I assume) some sort of database, would the police become aware of the fact that Alex is Robert's father? Or is a specific test needed to determine paternity? Does this change if Alex is female, and actually Robert's mother?

  • Secondly: Assuming the connection is discovered, what would police procedure be regarding telling Robert about this? He is completely unaware of any connection between him and Alex, but keen to help the police in any way he can. Are the police obliged to tell him? Or are they obliged not to tell him?

  • Thirdly: Supposing they are obliged or recommended to tell him, what form would this be likely to take? Would they call him into the police station, phone him, write a letter, or what?


  • Searched already:
    Wikipedia pages on paternity and DNA testing. Googled various combinations of "police", "procedure", "legal", "paternity", "test", "DNA", etc.

    Thanks!

ear piercings in the 19th century?

Setting: Sigh. Again, alternate-universe 19th century Paris. This particular character seems to hail from about the 1830s, but chronologically, we're rather... disarrayed. 

The character in question is a nineteen-year-old male, lower-class, former prostitute, and something of an all-around criminal. He has his ears pierced, though only one of the actual earrings remains. I know that this was, in general, a sailor thing from what I've been able to read, but was there any other way to acquire a piercing like that in an urban setting? It's probably cheap material in the piercing itself, and I can't imagine the procedure having a particularly hygienic or classy reputation even for the time period. 

Terms googled: Ear piercings 19th century/ear piercing 19th century, piercings 19th century, ear piercing France, ear piercing 19th century France, pierced ears 19th century/19th century France, ear piercing history, piercing history. 
(I did check Wikipedia, but they just reiterated the sailor thing, sadly.) 

ETA: I think I have my answers. Thank you!