"Internet Law Book Reviews", Provided by Rob Jerrard LLB LLM (London)

Pen & Sword Books Reviewed in 2009


Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Reading
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: John J Eddleston
ISBN: 9781845631130
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 30 November 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

John Eddleston's latest selection of notorious criminal cases takes the reader through a sequence of sensational episodes that have marred the history of Reading. His book is based on original research, and it recalls many grisly events and sad or unsavoury individuals whose fate has hitherto been forgotten. Among the shocking crimes he reconstructs are those of the baby-farmer Amelia Dyer, the unsolved murder of Alfred Oliver, the suffocation of Beatrice Cox, the red Mini murder of June Cook, and the attempted murder of a family of five. This chronicle of the dark side of Reading's long history will be fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in the town's rich - sometimes gruesome - past.
 

Introduction
 
The city of Reading, and the surrounding areas, hold some fascinating stories of murder.
The early chapters of this book carry a theme of women, driven to distraction by unwanted pregnancies, who, at their wit's ends, deposited their offspring into the cold waters of one of the rivers flowing through the area. The exception, of course, was Amelia Dyer, the infamous Reading baby-farmer, who turned this practice into a lucrative business. We will never know just how many innocent victims died at her hands.
 
There is, also, the still unsolved murder of Alfred Oliver, who was murdered in his tobacconist's shop; a crime for which an American actor suffered, in effect, a trial by coroner's inquisition.
 
There are those where the person found guilty of the crime suffered death by hanging. One of these was George Russell in 1948. Read his story for yourself and decide if he really was guilty of the crime which claimed his life.
 
Finally, there are the more modern murders including the red-mini murder and the gravel pits murders. There are even crimes which involved an Elvis Presley Fan Club, and religious sacrifice.
 
The foul deeds in this book involve murders over a period of more than one hundred years and show a darker side of parts of the county of Berkshire.

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DNA Crime Investigations
Solving Murder and Serious Crime Through DNA and Modern Forensics
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Stephen Wade
ISBN: 9781845631055
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 30 November 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information

A daily newspaper in February 2009 has an image of an old man shackled to a police officer by handcuffs. It looks like any other arrest and detention. But the man had committed a serious sexual offence eighteen years earlier. The latest use of DNA evidence was used to charge and ultimately convict him.
 
When Professor Alex Jeffreys worked with Leicestershire police on the Colin Pitchfork case in 1986, a revolution started in the application of forensic expertise. Since then there have been several major cases in which long-standing murders and rapes have been revisited by teams of 'Cold Case' detectives. With new DNA sampling in their armoury, officers throughout the land are having successes when reinvestigating serious crimes. Cold cases are hot again.
 
In Cold Cases Revisited, Stephen Wade has gathered together most of the high-profile cases of recent years - and several obscure ones - examining the nature of the crimes, the investigation highs and lows, and the triumphs of new forensic work. Some failures are also recounted too, as scientists began to work with barristers in court, making the evidence solid and meaningful for juries.
 
The famous cases included here include those of Rachel Nickell, Keith Lyon, Lesley Moleseed, the World's End killings, plus many others, not forgetting the 'Cardiff Three' and Sean Hodgson's false imprisonment, one of the longest ever miscarriages of justice.
 
Before the stories are told, the basics of DNA sampling are explained, and the lab work in each case is discussed in every chapter.

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Review
 
In this book Stephen Wade has collated together the facts and stories of many high profile serious crimes of recent times, some obscure cases, and a few from further back in recent history. Most of the cases were solved by the use of DNA, some remain to be solved, and some have resulted in the release from prison of persons found guilty of an offence, but later acquitted because of DNA evidence.
 
There is an informative introduction to the book, which covers the history of some of the non- DNA scientific advances of the last one hundred or so years, which have assisted investigations. The introduction then goes on to discuss such related subjects as the National DNA Database, the law relating to the taking of DNA samples, especially in relation to the European Convention of Human Rights, and the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
 
Chapter 1, (DNA in Forensics Explained), gives the reader a basic overview of what DNA is, how it can be recovered, and the different types of examination that can be applied to it in order to obtain a profile.
 
Subsequent chapters take the reader on a journey to many locations and time frames, while the author explains and describes a great number and variety of crimes, all of which have had, to a greater or lesser degree, some form of DNA input to the investigations.
 
There are some twenty chapters, which between them contain information on the investigations into numerous serious offences, the majority of which are of course murders.
To any reader of true crime stories, or indeed any ardent viewer of such television programmes as 'Crimewatch', many of the crimes the author writes about will be well known.
 
I do not intend therefore, in this review to make comment on each individual chapter. However I would like to say that Chapter 7 - Andrezej Kunowski, 1997-2004 was particularly well-written in my view, and gave the reader all the relevant information regarding this Polish illegal immigrant, who had a string of convictions in his native land and who was to become a serial rapist and murderer in this country.
 
Chapter 8 deals with three appeal cases that were allowed between 1994 and 1997. Each appeal was allowed for different reasons, but all were to do with DNA evidence, and shows the various pitfalls regarding DNA and its use in those early, (for DNA evidence), years, most of which have since been overcome.
 
I have to say that I found the majority of the other chapters somewhat confusing in their content. Some sentences and indeed in places paragraphs, just do not make sense, and a good proofreader should have picked this up. Examples of this range from a white van and a white car written about in one chapter, which after several pages the reader realises, are in fact the same vehicle, and the 'Crimewatch' television programme is mistakenly referred to as 'Timewatch' on two occasions! The author quotes from many publications at various points in the book, and I have to say that some of them are not conducive to the story being related, and others take the reader off, in unnecessary directions.
 
At one point in Chapter 21 the author writes about an Appeal Court hearing, and the procedures under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, section 63(3), which relates to actions the police may take to obtain hair samples, (with roots), from a suspect who refuses to supply a sample of their DNA. The author states that the police action was held to be within the law, (as indeed it appears it should have been), and the DNA evidence therefore admissible. However, the author then, in order, I believe, to justify the inclusion of this information, states that the approach taken by the police would not have been lawful had the wanted hair been the man's pubic hair. This of course, is a well know fact, but there is no reason whatsoever, as far as I know, why the police would want a pubic hair sample from a suspect, if obtaining a DNA profile was the reason for a hair sample with roots being taken in the first place.
 
In the last chapter of the book - Conclusions and Issues, the author writes about many related subjects from the European ruling on erasing DNA samples from the database in cases where the person in question is found to be innocent of the alleged offence, to the DNA evidence in the Omagh bombing case. Also mentioned here are several 'cold case' reviews that have recently been undertaken and the results obtained. This I found very interesting and informative. Perhaps the author should have expanded this chapter and possibly diminished others.
 
Overall then, my view of this book is that it is well worth reading if you are a fan of 'true crime stories', or indeed a casual reader with an interest in this subject. I doubt very much if it will be read by any experts in this field or police officers. All the information therein has been reported before in various publications. However, the author has done a good job in using many sources, (see the Bibliography and Sources before the index), and bringing them all together in this book.
 
Andy Day. 2010.


Great British Fictional Villains
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Found in: Remember When
Author: Russell James
ISBN: 9781844680603
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £25.00
Publication Date: 23 September 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

The first full-length study of its type highlighting over 150 fictional villains, many famous through their film and TV adaptations including The Daleks and Cruella De Vil, as well as crime fiction favourites. Using essays to highlight different types of villains and focusing on some of the more famous such as Moriarty and Sweeney Todd. Popular crime fiction writer and former Chairman of the CWA, Russell James celebrates the role of the fictional villains. Illustrations will include original film posters and first edition covers from classic crime fiction and other genres and media.
 
This is the companion book to Russell's Great British Detectives.
 
Part of a series of dictionary-style books to include The Dictionary of Animal Stories: from Black Beauty to White Fang by Fiona Shoop (published September 2009)
 
Crime writer, Russell James, examines the role of the fictional villain from crime writing to sci-fi and even children's books. The skills of these criminals and scoundrels have baffled and challenged some of the truly great fictional detectives, including Sherlock Holmes whose nemesis, the dastardly Moriarty, is probably the most famous of the British villains, alongside Raffles whose suaveness made him seem worryingly decent. Russell explores other types of villains, including those featured in literary novels, children's books, films and TV - as diverse as the wicked Alec d'Urbeville from Tess of the d'Urbevilles, the dog-napping Cruella De Vil , from Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians and The · Master and Rani from Doctor Who. It's an encyclopaedic study of villainy, as revealed by the author of Great British Fictional
Detectives.
 
Russell James celebrates all types of villainy from cat burglars and caddish seducers to cold-blooded killers and terrifying manipulators. His research starts with Shakespearean baddies onwards, focuses on comic criminals and the adversaries of James Bond and Sexton Blake. He exposes the rogues of classic films and TV and explores the history of scoundrels in a series of fascinating essays.
 
The main part of the work is an A-Z of fictional criminals from cruel killers to malicious plotters and bounders. Some are notorious whilst others, once big in their day, are now forgotten, their crimes left on dusty shelves, waiting for you to rediscover - and solve - them with the help of this definitive study.
 

The Author
 
Crime-writer Russell James is a former Chairman of the Crime Writers'
Association. He has written nine fictional crime novels and he also wrote Great British Fictional Detectives, the companion book to this villainous offering, which explores the role of the detective and the genre of crime fiction. Russell also created The Maud Allan affair for Remember When about the factual, celebrated exotic dancer and her infamous libel trial during the First World War.
Did you know?
 
The story of wicked Ambrosio, the monk, was still sold under the counters until the late-Twentieth Century, two centuries after it was written.
 
Spring-heeled Jack was based on a real-life `supernatural' criminal who arrived amidst a clap of thunder to rob people and had springs in his shoes to help him outrun his adversaries
The fate of Napoleon, the revolutionary pig in George Orwell's Animal Farm, was changed in the 1955 cartoon based on the book because the CIA (allegedly) refused to let Communists be seen winning the allegorical tale
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Miscarriages of Justice, Famous London Cases
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Found in: True Crime Books
Author: John J Eddleston
ISBN: 9781845630966
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 9 September 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

To face a trial for murder must be a terrifying prospect, all the more so when you know that you are innocent of the charge. How much more horrific must it be then, when you know that should you be found guilty, the sentence must be that you will lose your life at the end of a rope?
 
All of the cases reviewed in this book involved one or more individuals who were put on trial for taking the life of a fellow human being. The stories involve the eventual execution by hanging of nine men and one woman. To date, two of those men have been reprieved; too late for them and their families of course but, nevertheless, the state had admitted that it was wrong. What of the others?
 
What of Louisa Masset, the first person to be hanged in the twentieth century? Did she really murder the son she apparently loved so much? What of Frederick Seddon who went to the gallows still protesting that he was innocent of the murder of his lodger? And what of Harry Armstrong, hanged for murdering his fiancée on New Year's Day 1939?
 
The cases in this book all took place in London. Read the stories for yourself and remember that the law states that if there is a reasonable doubt, then it is the jury's duty to acquit. Was there not a reasonable doubt in some of the cases detailed here? Put yourself onto those juries and decide whether you would have still been prepared to stand in court and announce that dreaded word: 'Guilty!'
 

Author's Introduction
 
In the twentieth century a total of 865 people were executed in the United Kingdom. In the years since the abolition of capital punishment just four of those people have received posthumous pardons: Timothy John Evans, Derek William Bentley, Mahmood Hussein Mattan and George Kelly.
 
It may be that the reader believes that it is acceptable that four innocent men were hanged, out of a total of 865, but when one has researched every single one of those cases, as I have, then the number who may well have been innocent appears to rise. It is my personal opinion that there was either a reasonable doubt, or obvious signs of mental instability or some other factor that indicates that there should not have been an execution, in over 100 of those cases.
 
Yet this only covers the cases where someone was actually put to death. If one adds other cases where the death sentence was commuted, or where a life sentence was given after capital punishment had been abolished, then the number rises even further.
 
This book looks at just nine cases, involving twelve people who were tried for murder. Of those twelve, nine were sentenced to death and eight actually executed. More importantly, five of those twelve have since been pardoned. And these are only cases from London; what of those from the rest of the country?
Read the stories for yourself and decide whether you would really sanction either the execution, or the imprisonment for years, of those whose stories are told in these pages.

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Review
 
The British, generally, pride themselves on their legal system. They like to believe that justice has not only been seen to be done, but that there is no doubt about verdicts handed down in the courts of law. However, in John Eddleston's 'Miscarriages of Justice', serious doubts are raised about convictions handed down in London trials for murder. Eddleston is undoubtedly one of the best crime historians around. 'Miscarriages of Justice' provides the reader with clear and detailed analysis of 9 murder cases, enhanced by useful visual illustrations and index; but sadly no bibliography. The book contains the previously well documented cases of Timothy Evans, the Seddons, Steinnie Morrison and Derek Bentley. However if the reader is expecting Crippen, as suggested on the rear cover, he/she will be sadly disappointed as it is not even mentioned. That aside, this book is a must for true crime book collectors.

The other cases included are Louis Masset, Arthur Devereux, Fredrick Fuller and James Murphy, Harry Armstrong, and the 'Conflait Affair'. In all the cases Eddleston provides the basis for doubt in the soundness of the convictions, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. In the Evans case, (10, Rillington Place), the author suggests the intriguing concept that Evans might in fact have been guilty of a double murder, his wife and daughter.
Interestingly, some of the cases highlight the difficulty defence teams have in persuading juries regarding defendants' low intellect or mental instability. Perhaps the way to read this book is to put yourself in the role of the juror and make up your mind on the actual evidence presented. Whilst accepting in hindsight that some of the convictions may have been 'dodgy', probably most of the actual jurors would not have lost too much sleep on their decisions based on the evidence as presented at the trials. That may not be the case for the defence teams.

This is a well balanced book that should appeal not only to true crime readers, but also to social historians as it shows the changing attitudes and environments over the 20th century. There is almost certainly scope for a sequel of other London 'miscarriages of justice' and even other regional areas. Whatever else the book provides; the questions raised throw some insight into the British legal system over the last century. Is it in fact as good as we would like to think? Or is it still dependant on getting a good defence lawyer? Food for thought. Unfortunately for some in this book the concerns over the safety of their convictions came too late to alter their own destinies; but may provide lessons for subsequent defendants and defence teams.

Cliff Cohen


Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Southampton
Edition: 1st
Format:
Author: John J Eddleston
ISBN: 9781845630973
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 15 July 2009
Publisher's Title Information
 

The criminal cases vividly described by John Eddleston in this gripping book take the reader on a journey into the dark secret side of Southampton's past. The city has been the setting for a series of horrific, bloody, sometimes bizarre incidents. There is the story of Augustus John Penny who shot his mother to death while she was lying in her bed after discovering that she had come into money and refused to pass any on to him. There is James Camb who was convicted of murder even though the body of his victim, an actress, was never found. And there is the case of Michael George Tatum, the only British killer of the twentieth century to use an African club as his chosen weapon of murder. But perhaps the most intriguing case is the Southampton garage murder of Vivian Messiter in October 1928. In spite of masterful police work, there was an eighteen-month delay before the killer, William Henry Podmore, finally paid the price for that brutal crime on the gallows.
 
John Eddleston's selection of cases from Southampton's criminal history will be compelling reading for anyone who is interested in the sinister side of human nature.
 

The Author
 
John J. Eddleston is an authority on British criminal history and a prolific writer on the subject. His many books include Murderous Sussex, Murderous Manchester, Blind Justice, Jack the Ripper: An Encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Executions, A Century of Welsh Murders and Executions, Manx Killers, Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Southampton and Miscarriages of Justice: Famous London Cases.

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Britain's Most Notorious Hangmen
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Stephen Wade
ISBN: 9781845630829
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 17 August 2009
 

Publisher's Title Information
 
From the dark centuries of the Middle Ages to the 1960s in Britain, the criminal law executed felons and someone had to hang them. Britain has always been a land of gallows, and every town had its hanging post and local 'turn off man.' First these men were criminals doing the work to save their own necks, and then later they were specialists in the trade of judicial killing. From the late Victorian period, the public hangman became a professional, and in the twentieth century the mechanics of hanging were streamlined as the executioners became adept at their craft.
 
Britain's Most Notorious Hangmen tells the stories of the men who worked with their deadly skills at Tyburn tree or at the scaffolds in the prison yards across the country. Most were steeled to do the work by drink, and many suffered deeply from their despised profession. Here the reader will find the tale of the real Jack Ketch, the cases of neck-stretchers from the drunks like Curry and Askern, to the local workers of the ropes, Throttler Smith and the celebrated Billington and Pierrepoint dynasty.
 
Along with some of the stories of famous killers such as William Palmer and James Bloomfield Rush, here are the bunglings, failures and desperate lives of the notorious hangmen, some who could entertain the vast crowds enjoying the show, and others who always faced the task as a terrible ordeal.
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Jack the Ripper: Quest for a Killer
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: M J Trow
ISBN: 9781845631260
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 1 October 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

For a hundred and twenty years, the identity of the Whitechapel murderer known to us as Jack the Ripper has both eluded us and spawned a veritable industry of speculation. This book names him.
 
Mad doctors, Russian lunatics, bungling midwives, railway policemen, failed barristers, weird artists, royal princes and white-eyed men. All of these and more have been put in the frame for the Whitechapel murders. Where ingenious invention and conspiracy theories have failed, common sense has floated out of the window.
 
M.J. Trow, in this gripping historical reinvestigation, cuts through the fog of speculation, fantasy and obsession that has concealed the identity of the most famous serial murderer of all time.
 
In the Autumn of 1888 a disputed number of prostitutes were murdered in the East End of London by person or persons unknown. The killer was never caught, but established a 'trade name' of Jack the Ripper, a name that resonates throughout history as the original serial killer.
Despite the Ripper case being officially closed in 1892, the identity of Jack has been debated and examined ever since, with many 'theories' being presented by Ripperologists. The world of fiction has also generated and invented further theories adding to the huge amount of literature and film that exists on the subject. In addition criminologists and forensic detectives have used all available modern methods to profile Jack and unsuccessfully attempt to find the killer.

Now a UK historian, has pieced together a large amount of old and new evidence to produce astonishing findings which many Ripperologists believe establishes a new identity for Jack that is highly plausible. In his book Jack the Ripper: Quest for a Killer, Mei Trow reveals his findings and a new identity for Jack the Ripper, which has been verified and supported by Scotland Yard detectives, criminologists and forensic experts.
 
The book establishes a new identity for Jack the Ripper that has not previously been put forward and identifies the killer as a mortuary worker. Also revealed are two additional murders that are believed to be the work of Jack the Ripper, that have previously not been linked to him. The findings have also been made into a TV documentary which is being featured on the Discovery Channel.
 
Jack the Ripper: Quest for a Killer is a fascinating study into Jack the Ripper. It reviews all the past theories, how they emerged, how they were discounted and then carefully analyses the murders and pieces together the evidence to emerge at the end with a new identity for the killer.
 
Has Jack the Ripper been found? Judge for yourself...
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Foul Deeds And Suspicious Deaths In Glasgow
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Paul Harrison
ISBN: 9781845630836
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 29 May 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

The criminal cases vividly described by Paul Harrison in this gripping book take the reader on a journey into the dark secret side of Glasgow's long history. The city has been the setting for a series of horrific, bloody, sometimes bizarre incidents over the centuries. From crimes of brutal premeditation to those born of rage or despair, the whole range of human weakness and wickedness is represented here. There are tales of secret passion and betrayal, robbery, murder, gangland violence, executions, and instances of domestic cruelty and malice that ended in death. Among the fascinating and varied selection of cases Paul Harrison covers are an IRA ambush and gun battle, the policeman who murdered his lover, a Wild West-style shootout between police and a desperate robber, a sequence of horrendous serial murders including the case of Bible John, and the extraordinary acquittal of John Mitchell Henderson.
 
The human dramas the author describes are often played out in the most commonplace of circumstances, but others are so odd as to be stranger than fiction. This grisly chronicle of the hidden history of Glasgow will be compelling reading for anyone who is interested in the dark side of human nature.
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Foul Deeds And Suspicious Deaths In Cardiff
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Mark Isaacs
ISBN: 9781845630843
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 17 June 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Cardiff takes the reader on a sinister journey through the history of local crime and conspiracy, meeting villains of all sorts along the way - casual or calculating killers, murderous husbands and lovers, gangsters, robbers, poisoners and suicides. There is no shortage of harrowing and revealing episodes in Cardiff's past, and Mark Isaacs' fascinating book recalls many grisly events and sad or unsavoury individuals whose conduct throws a harsh light on the history of the city.
 
Among the many shocking - and revealing - cases the author describes are the murder of a Welsh Protestant by an Irish Catholic that provoked rioting; the double life of a respectable widow poisoned with arsenic; the exploits of a 'Jack the Ripper' killer in Cardiff's back streets; the throat-slashing revenge of the Cardiff Race Track Gang; the still-mysterious wartime murder of Alice Pittman; the case of the Somalian sailor arrested for the brutal slaying of an elderly shopkeeper; the demise of Granville Jenkins who was cut to ribbons by a machete, and the accidental or deliberate electrocution of Mrs Darling.
 
Mark Isaacs' chronicle of Cardiff's hidden past - the history the city would prefer to forget - will be compelling reading for anyone who is interested in the dark side of human nature.


Crafty Crooks & Conmen
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Authors: Sue Blackhall & Nigel Blundell
ISBN: 9781845630775
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 14 April 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information

They're crafty and cunning ' every one of them a conman who would relieve you of your hard-earned cash without a qualm. And yet what sets apart the crooks who fill the pages of this book is the manner of their crimes. It is not so much what they do but the style in which they do it that makes them memorable.
 
Their exploits are, of course, reprehensible. But while it would it be utterly wrong to condone their criminal artifice, it is near-impossible to not to admire their ingenuity. If only the conmen whose crimes are catalogued here had turned their energy and expertise to honest enterprise, most of them would have been rich and famous. In the event, most ended up outcast and infamous.
 
Like Victor Lustig, the 'Bouncing Czech', who was arguably the greatest conmen of the past century. Having sold the Eiffel Tower (twice) and gone on the run with the proceeds, he should have retired rich. Instead he carriedon duping people and died in jail. Or the philanderering politician who threw away a glittering career forand the love of a beautiful woman. Or the 'friend of the stars' who infiltrated a royal castle. Or the phony 'spy' who enslaved his gullible victims. Or the fake Scots 'laird' who operated from the heart of Scotland Yard.
 
The confidence tricksters in this book are a disparate a bunch of characters but they have one thing in common their exploits are remembered long after their more virtuous victims are forgotten!
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Foul Deeds And Suspicious Deaths In Isle Of Wight
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: M J Trow
ISBN: 9781845630881
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 8 June 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Death and villainy always hold us in their grim but thrilling grip. In Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in the Isle of Wight the chill is brought close to home as each chapter investigates the darker side of humanity in notorious cases of murder, deceit and pure malice that have marked the history of this apparently peaceful island. From crimes of passion to opportunistic killings and coldly premeditated acts of murder, the full spectrum of criminality is recounted here. For this journey into a bloody, neglected aspect of the past, Isle of Wight historian and crime writer M.J. Trow has selected over 20 notorious episodes that give a fascinating insight into criminal acts and the criminal mind.
 
He throws light into the shadowy world of the smugglers, pirates and robbers who plagued the island's early history. He recalls the escape attempts of Charles I from Carisbrooke Castle, the mysterious loss of the Mary Rose and the Royal George, and the scandalous conduct of Lady Worsley. In vivid, sometimes shocking detail he reconstructs notable criminal cases, including the brutal murders that have marked the island's more recent past. Also he delves into the history of the island's three prisons - Albany, Parkhurst and Camp Hill - which have housed many of Britain's most violent criminals.
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Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Shrewsbury and around Shropshire
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: David John Cox
ISBN: 9781845630706
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Criminal cases give us a fascinating, often harrowing insight into crime and the criminal mind, into policing methods and the justice system. They also tell us much about social conditions and attitudes in the past. And such cases make absorbing reading. David Cox's graphic account of 16 notorious cases in Shrewsbury and around Shropshire is a particularly strong and revealing study of this kind.
 
Using newspaper reports, census returns and court records, he reconstructs each case in vivid detail. At the same time he looks into the background of the crimes and into the lives of the criminals, and he describes the methods of detection and the punishments that were imposed. The cases he's chosen range in date from the medieval period to the twentieth century. Included are the case of the forger who had his ear nailed to a post, the father who killed his infant son with vitriol, the transportation of a 70-year-old woman, the murder of an inmate in a lunatic asylum, a twentieth-century highway robber and a VC winner involved in bigamy.
 
The personal dramas David Cox explores in this book will be compelling reading for anyone who is interested in the sinister side of human nature and human weakness.


Foul Deeds And Suspicious Deaths In The Cotswolds
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Nell Darby
ISBN: 9781845630744
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in the Cotswolds explores the dark history of this famously picturesque region of England. Behind the picture-postcard idyll, everyday life in this largely rural area saw murders, beatings, jealousy and alcohol-fuelled crimes. Nell Darby's book examines a selection of these shocking events in vivid detail. Drawing on contemporary sources, newspapers and prison records, she gives a fascinating insight into life and death in the surprisingly turbulent past of the Cotswolds.
 
The cases she reconstructs come from all over the region - the towns, the villages, the countryside. They show how Cotswold people carried out violent crimes regardless of their location and upbringing - from unemployed farmers' sons to educated surgeons, dark deeds were committed by individuals from all walks of life. They also reveal the criminal consequences of greed, madness, malice, carelessness and drink. Women were involved almost as often as men, as victims and as perpetrators.
 
Nell Darby's thoroughly researched and sympathetically written anthology of Cotswold cases be compelling reading for anyone who lives in the area or is interested in its history.
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The Romford Outrage
The Murder of Inspector Thomas Simmons 1885
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Authors: Kathryn Abnett & Linda Rhodes
ISBN: 9781845630768
Publishers: Pen & Sword (Wharncliffe)
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 2008
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Following the success of their prize-winning account of the infamous killing of PC George Clark - The Dagenham Murder - Linda Rhodes and Kathryn Abnett now reconstruct, in vivid detail, another sensational Victorian murder case. Inspector Thomas Simmons was shot and fatally wounded near Romford in January 1885, and the search for his killers culminated in a second police murder, this time in far-off Cumbria. In tracing the course of the crime - and the country-wide manhunt, court cases and executions that followed - the characters and methods of Simmons and his fellow officers are revealed, as are the desperate criminal careers of the killers. This meticulously researched, graphic and highly readable case study gives a rich insight into the dark side of late Victorian England.
 

The Authors
 
Linda Rhodes and Kathryn Abnett are the authors of two previous true crime books. The Dagenham Murder, written in collaboration with Lee Shelden, won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction in 2006. Their most recent title is Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Barking, Dagenham & Chadwell Heath, published by Wharncliffe in October 2007.


Foul Deeds & Suspicious Deaths in Barnet, Finchley & Hendon
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Nick Papadimitriou
Series Editor: Brian Elliott
ISBN: 1-845630-64-
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: 12.99
Publication Date: 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Gripping Account of The Sinister Side of The History of The Barnet Area. Includes Cases From Barnet, Finchley, Edgware, Hendon, Whetstone, Totteridge. Vivid Insight into Criminal Acts and the Criminal Mind.
 
Stories of death and villainy will always hold us in their grim but thrilling J grip. In Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Barnet, Finchley and Hendon the chill is brought close to home as each chapter investigates the dark side of humanity in cases of murder, deceit and pure malice committed over the centuries in this area of north London.
 
For this journey into the sinister side of the past, Nick Papadimitriou has chosen over 20 notorious cases that give a fascinating insight into criminal acts and the criminal mind. Among the crimes he recalls are the famous East Finchley Baby Murder of 1903, the Hendon Wine Shop. Murder of 1919, the Edgware girl who was thrown under a tube train in 1939, and the shocking execution of murderer Daniel Raven in 1950.
The human dramas Nick Papadimitriou describes are often played out in the most commonplace of circumstances, but others are so odd as to be stranger than fiction. His grisly chronicle of the hidden history of Barnet will be compelling reading for anyone who is interested in the dark side of human nature.

The Author
 
Nick Papadimitriou is a writer, researcher and college lecturer with a keen interest in London's past, in particular the dark side of its history. He has written articles for a variety of magazines including Science in Society and Third World Resurgence, and an essay of his was published in Iain Sinclair's anthology. London: City of Disappearances.

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Unsolved London Murders
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Jonathan Oates
ISBN: 1845630750
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: RRP £16.99
Publication Date: 2009
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Unsolved crimes have a special fascination, none more so than unsolved murders. The shock of the crime itself and the mystery surrounding it, the fear generated by the awareness a killer on the loose, the insight the cases give into outdated police methods, and the chance to speculate about the identity of the killer after so many years have passed - all these aspects of unsolved murder cases make them compelling reading.
 
In this companion volume to his bestselling Unsolved Murders of Victorian and Edwardian London, Jonathan Oates has selected over 20 haunting, sometimes shocking cases from the period between the two world wars. Included are the shooting of PC James Kelly in Gunnersbury, violent deaths associated with Fenian Conspiracies, the stabbing of the French acrobat Martial Lechevalier in Piccadilly, the strychnine poisoning of egg-seller Kusel Behr, the killing by arsenic of three members of a Croydon family, and, perhaps most gruesome of all, the case of the unidentified body parts found at Waterloo Station.
 
Jonathan Oates describes each of these crimes in precise, forensic detail. His case studies shed light on the lives of the victims and summon up the ruthless, sometimes lethal character of London itself.
 

Introduction
 
Name a crime or criminal in the London of the 1920s and 1930s. I certainly couldn't, until I began writing about real crime in London a few years ago. Whereas, before then, even I could have named a Victorian killer (Jack the Ripper), an Edwardian one (Dr Crippen) or a post-war murderer (John Christie). For most people, crime in England in this period is dominated by the fictional whodunit. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories still appeared in The Strand in the 1920s, though the stories were all set before 1914, and new sleuths, such as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Margery Allingham's Albert Campion and Dorothy L Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey, all emerged in this era to do battle with fictional criminals, almost always taken from the middle and upper classes. Television and radio dramas and films have made these characters well known.
 
The real villains, their victims and their foul deeds have been largely overlooked, at least in the public mindset. Compendia of crime refer to some of these, such as the infamous case of Vera Page in 1931 and the Croydon poisonings of 1928-9, but most of these are now forgotten, and in any case, most have only been dealt with in a very cursory manner. The majority featured here have never been discussed in print since they were reported in the press. It is the aim of this book to bring them back to public view. This book deals with all the unsolved murders in London from the 1920s and 1930s. Among the crimes found here are a railway murder, the mystery of parts of a body found at Brentford and at Waterloo station, prostitute murders in Soho, the fatal shooting of a policeman, a brutal child murder and two IRA killings. It does not include the Croydon poisonings (1928-9), the murder of Louisa Steele (1931) or Robert Venner (1934), for though these are usually stated as being unsolved, the author's examination of police files has revealed that the police were well aware of who was responsible, but they lacked the evidence to bring the cases to trial. These two latter killings are detailed in the author's Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Lewisham and Deptford, and the police file on the Croydon case provides a convincing case against the killer who also escaped justice.
 
There is a mystery and a horror with unsolved murders. First, there is the horror of a brutal killing. Secondly, there is the mystery of who was responsible and the added horror of the knowledge that the killer walked free. They might have killed again. From the view of both police and friends and relations of the deceased, it is unfinished business, a chapter which can never be satisfactorily closed.
 
The evidence for this book comes from a number of primary sources, documents written at the time of events or at least shortly afterwards. Most important are the murder files created by the investigating police officials themselves. These contain statements by witnesses, medical reports, anonymous letters, case summaries by the detectives and other related evidence. These are located at the National Archives at Kew. They give much more detail than that which appears in the press. Secondly, there are the newspaper reports of the time, which reveal the public facts as they emerged from police bulletins and reports of the inquests on the victims. The Times online was a principal source, but so too are local newspapers and the tabloid Illustrated Police News. Finally there are memoirs of serving officers, who discussed their cases, failures as well as successes. These give an insight into the thinking of the police, but should not always be taken as being entirely factual, as officers' memories are often at fault. I have also looked at books about crime, in order to learn what other writers have thought about these cases, though most have only given them a cursory survey.
 
Finally, a word about money in those pre-decimal times. Twelve pence (d.) made up one shilling (s.). Twenty shillings made up one pound (note). One pound and one shilling made up a guinea.
 
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Attack On London
Disaster, Rebellion, Riot, Terror and War
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Jonathan Oates
ISBN: 9781845630560
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 2009
Publisher's Title Information
 

Generations of Londoners from Roman times to the present day have confronted natural and man-made threats to their city. Disasters, rebellions, riots, acts of terror and war have marked the long history of the capital - and have shaped the character of its people. In this evocative account Jonathan Oates recalls in vivid detail the perils Londoners have faced and describes how they coped with them. Jack Cade's Rebellion and the Gordon Riots, the Great Plague and the Great Fire, Zeppelin raids, the Blitz, terrorist bombings - these are just a few of the extraordinary hazards that have torn the fabric of the city and wrecked the lives of so many of its inhabitants. This gripping narrative gives a fascinating insight into the tragic history of the city and it reveals much about the changing attitudes of Londoners over the centuries.
 

Part of the Introduction
 
This book has its origins on the Friday morning of 8 July 2005, whilst the author was on his way to work, mulling over matters of the previous day. That had been the day when terrorist bombings in London had inflicted their highest ever toll on Londoners in a single day. It had been headline news and the universal subject of conversation. My reaction was that this was, in a way, nothing new. Londoners have had far worse to contend with in the past. Apart from the Blitz, there was the Great Plague and fire of the seventeenth century. It also struck me that this would be a fine subject for a book, if one had not been written already. But the most interesting material would not concern the attacks themselves - technical details of bombs and aircraft did not excite me at all but rather how Londoners have reacted to such dangers. My initial thought was that my fellow Londoners could take assurance from the deeds of their forebears and their fellow citizens of former times. Perhaps a greater knowledge of London's history would be helpful?
 
But this book is not meant as a propaganda tract along the lines of Churchill's sentiment of 'London can take it'. Rather, it is an investigation into how Londoners have coped with traumas past. It is not about, in the main, how governments and others had acted, but about the man in the street or in the Clapham omnibus.
 
This book begins with a brief survey of why London is so vulnerable to attack and why it has often attracted the attention of evildoers, followed by a discussion of London's defences.
There then are five large chapters, chronologically arranged. Some of these incidents will be well known - the Great Fire, the Great Plague and the Blitz mean something to most Londoners, even if only through TV and film. The five chapters consider the impact of rebellions and civil war, plagues and fires, riots, world wars and terrorism. In relating these events I have turned to eyewitnesses who recorded their experiences in letters or diaries. I have augmented these accounts with oral history reminiscences and episodes captured in the press. I have also included extracts from the diaries and letters of famous Londoners, such as John Evelyn (1620-1706), Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), Horace Walpole (1717-1797) and the novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966). But there are many sources voices too: ordinary people, whose views are just as important as the great and good.
 
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Review
 
In his introduction, Jonathan Oates writes that his book Attack on London is an investigation into how Londoners, ie the man in the street, has coped with traumas past, and in this he has succeeded.
 
The first chapter deals with crimes between 1381-1652 starting with the Peasants' Revolt and concluding with the English Civil Wars. This is followed by the period 1660 - 1688 and covers the Great Plague and the Great Fire but unfortunately the vivid descriptions of each is marred by far too many quotations mainly from Pepys. Being an eye witness to these two important events in the history of the capital could not be ignored, it would have made the reading of this section of the book more enjoyable if many of his quotations were written in indirect speech. Although these comments apply mainly to Pepys there are other similar instances throughout the remainder of the book that are most frustrating. To be fair to the author, he does make it clear he is not keen on too many footnotes, hence his adoption of the system of adding one note for each paragraph placing the references collectively at the end of the book. Although commendable and acceptable, it should still be possible to use quotations without necessarily being as originally written.
 
Part three deals with the period 1715-1887 about the Jacobites and the Fenians including the Clerkenwell and Trafalgar Square riots. This is followed with the two world wars covering 1914 - 1945: Zeppelin raids, the Blitz and the V1 flying bomb and V2 rockets.
 
The last chapter brings the subject matter up-to-date and covers 1958 - 2007, a period familiar to many readers. It begins with the problem of racism but curiously makes no mention of Enoch Powell's infamous rivers of blood speech, which arguably not only incensed many members of the population but was also one of the causes of the rise in racism? The chapter continues with raids by the IRA and Al-Qaeda.
 
Throughout the book the author quotes dates time and again which is much appreciated as it helps maintain the time period; there is also a conclusion at the end of each chapter, which is a fair summing up of the whole of the subject matter. Unfortunately the Index is poor. There are several names in the text which are not included so it is impossible to locate some individuals quickly.
 
In the penultimate chapter there are references to Londoners panicking (a word loved by modern day journalists who, following any disaster, do their best to ensure there was one , whether or not correct but anyone who lived through that heavy period of our island history will be aware that, generally speaking, the population of London stood together, worked together, prayed together and, believing in victory, had little time to panic. The author fairly sums this up in his final chapter where he concluded that “bravery is only one facet of people's behaviour. A disaster can bring out the best in people ......... there is little doubting the courage and dedication of rescue workers (but) some people take advantage of their fellows' misfortunes, indulging in pillage and theft.” A comment that well sums up many of the incidents so well described.
 
Overall, to write a book on this subject was an excellent idea, but it is a pity it contains only a brief résumé of each event; the reader no sooner begins to absorb a fascinating subject than it is time to turn to the next. As a result the work is insufficiently long enough to include further details and perhaps other incidents - one that springs to mind is the Balcombe Street siege*. A longer version would also enable some subjects glossed over to be enlarged such as the killing of PC Tibble** (name not indexed!); at present there is one sentence, without any details of his involvement.
 
Despite these comments this book is a useful reference work about London and its people but it is hoped Jonathan Oats will one day write another, longer and more detailed version.
 
Iconoclast
 
Review Editor's Notes. See 'The Road to Balcombe Street- The IRA Reign of Terror in London, Steven P Moysey, The Haworth Press, 2008
 
** 1975 PC Stephen Tibble MetropolitanPolice Fatally shot off duty trying to arrest an armed terrorist being chased by police. Posthumously awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry. Memorial -Charleville Road,LondonW14


Tracing Police Ancestors
A Guide for Family Historians
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Stephen Wade
ISBN: 184415878-0
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: March 2009
 

Publisher's Title Information
 
Comprehensive Introduction To Researching Police History
Shows How To Trace The Careers Of Individual Officers Within Each Regional Force
Insight Into Life In The Police Forces Since The Time Of The Peelers In 1829
Explains How The Metropolitan Police And City of London Police Function
Describes How The Various Regional Forces Developed And Recruited
Information On The Archive Sources and Organizations.
 
'Tracing Your Police Ancestors” will help you locate and research officers who served in any of the police forces of England and Wales from the creation of the Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel in 1829. Assuming that the reader has no prior knowledge of how or where to look for such information, Stephen Wade explains and describes the various archives and records and provides a discussion of other sources. Case studies are used to show how an individual officer's career may be traced and understood from this research. He also explains the range of secondary sources open to the family or local historian, many of which offer a broader account of the social and cultural history of the British police forces.
 

The Author
 
Stephen Wade is a freelance writer specializing in the history of crime and the law in Britain and Ireland. He has written fourteen true crime and crime history books, including several volumes in the Wharncliffe Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths series. His history of detectives, Plain Clothes and Sleuths, was published in 2007 and he is currently completing a history of the City of London Police. He also teaches crime history at the University of Hull and, as a visiting lecturer, at Oxford. He has contributed to Family Tree Magazine, Ancestors and other periodicals. Stephen is also a member of the Police History Society and writes for their journal.
 
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Review
 
One might think that tracing an ancestor who was once a police officer would be a fairly easy matter. After all, the police are renowned for careful record keeping, particularly with the more important details relating to an officer's career. However, since the advent of 'modern' policing in the 19th century, the number of 'Home Office' police forces dwindled from well over 200 to the present 43 through the process of amalgamation. Take, as an example, the Banbury Borough force formed in 1836. This was amalgamated with Oxfordshire in 1925. The county in turn amalgamated with others when the Thames Valley force was created in 1968. It follows that records of most small forces have similarly changed hands a number of times. To complicate matters further the Blitz in the 1940s destroyed all manner of records.
 
Despite this a considerable number of police personnel and other records still exist. For genealogical purposes, the first step in tracing a police ancestor is usually a question of establishing the relevant dates of their service, the force he or she belonged to and the current area into which it might have been amalgamated.
 
The next problem facing most researchers is locating the actual records. It would be naive to assume that each of the current forces have all their records in one place, carefully catalogued and with a dedicated member of staff to act as curator and to deal with enquirers. Some forces do have historians, often retired officers, acting as curators of museums and keepers of records who can offer help, but many do not.
 
Since the advent of the computer, when the 'paperless' office was muted, organisations seem to have generated an even greater amount of paperwork. The bulk of new documentation constantly outgrows the space available to house it. Frequently records get moved to new venues and often old police records are a long way down the list of priorities when it comes to finding a decent home. Tracking them down can be like shooting at a moving target.
 
The problem for genealogists does not even end there. A researcher wishes to trace the police records of, say, a grandfather or great-grandfather. They know that he served, for example, at Woolwich. The understandable logic is to assume he would be a Metropolitan officer. He might well have been. Equally, he might have been employed, not in the public arena, but in a dockyard or arsenal. Perhaps he even belonged to a government department constabulary. Or maybe he was a special constable. More 'recent' ancestors may have served overseas, perhaps in Hong Kong or Palestine. The possible permutations can be endless.
 
This is the maze Stephen Wade's book endeavours to steer the reader through. The thrust of his book is that if a researcher understands something of the history of policing, the large variety of 'police' forces that once existed and what happened to them, then a degree of success is possible. Taking advantage of the many possible points of contact he lists, a quest, seemingly apparently hopeless at the outset, might well be successful.
 
Tracing Your Police Ancestors could well attract an extremely wide readership. Certainly it should be on the shelves of libraries, record offices and museums. Genealogical establishments would ignore it at their peril. Even police history researchers will find something of interest, perhaps being pointed in a direction they might not have previously considered. Almanacs, other reference works and journals summarised in Mr Wade's book will probably contain more historical data than information on long lost relatives. Both historical and genealogical researchers will find further food for thought in the selection and survey of the websites which are included.
 
An immense amount of potentially usefully information is contained within the pages of Tracing Your Police Ancestors. The combination of police history, together with ideas allowing researchers to trace primary and secondary source material, has resulted in a remarkable work of reference.
 
PR