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

Pen & Sword Books Reviewed in 2010


East Anglian Disasters
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Glenda Goulden
ISBN: 9781845631208
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 31 October 2010
 

Publisher's Title Information

Disasters are part of our national history and some were so terrible in their consequences, like the Black Death, the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, that they have come to define an era. In regional history, too, they have had an extraordinary effect, and this is the theme of Glenda Goulden's gripping book. From the long history of East Anglia she has selected those disasters that have had the deepest impact and reconstructed them in telling detail. The episodes she recounts were remarkable when they occurred, and they have a grim fascination for us today. She chronicles fires and explosions, the collapse of buildings and bridges, lethal accidents at sea and on the roads and railways, and tragedies resulting from enemy action and acts of God.
The Author
 
Glenda Goulden has a passionate interest in the history of Cambridge, the Fens and East Anglia. As well as writing The Cam and Cambridge, she has compiled a history of Wisbech and the River Nene, and she has made a comparative study of immigration and far-right politics in England and France. Her most recent books are Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths In and Around Cambridge and Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths In and Around the Fens.

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The Guv'nors
Ten of Scotland Yard's Greatest Detectives
Foreword by 'Nipper' Read
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Dick Kirby
ISBN: 9781845631352
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 6th Oct 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information

 
The ten Scotland Yard detectives, featured in The Guv'nors, are unique. Such a group of intrepid crime-busters will never exist again. They possessed only the most rudimentary education; none had a degree. Intuition and knowledge of their 'manor' counted for more than DNA and databases. They worked tirelessly in the pursuit of criminals, used informants, worked on hunches and grabbed hold of investigations and shook them until every piece of evidence was unearthed. Criminals trembled when these detectives were after them because, once they were nicked, they stayed nicked.
The Guv'nors covers legends such as Fred Wensley, who nailed strips of bicycle tyres to the soles of his boots when on the look-out for Jack the Ripper. He later formed the Flying Squad and became chief constable of the CID. Fred Sharpe would single-handedly confront forty of the worst racetrack gangsters and tell them to 'clear off', anyone who refused would collect a punch on the jaw. Sharpe later became head of the Flying Squad, as did Bob Fabian, who was awarded the King's Police Medal for dismantling an IRA bomb.
Bert Wickstead, known as 'The Gangbuster', literally terrorised the gangs who attempted to fill the void in London's East End, after the demise of the Kray bothers.
This is a book which will delight those who want to know what life was like when The Guv'nors and others like them were in charge of law and order and the streets were far safer than they are today.

The Author

Dick Kirby was born in the East End of London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Half of his twenty-six years' service was spent with Scotland Yard's Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad. The author of Rough Justice, The Real Sweeney, You're Nicked! and Villains, Kirby also contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, as well as appearing on television and radio.
In retirement, he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

Forward

The great multitude of people who love detectives and detective stories will be enthralled by Dick Kirby's identification of some of the greatest detectives who ever served at Scotland Yard.
 
He has selected his subjects with obvious care and after much research and the result is an account of some of the very best detectives ever to grace The Yard.
 
I have said many times, and publicly, that the reputation Scotland Yard enjoys internationally was never established by its employment of new policing methods or the introduction of imaginative road management schemes. It was forged by the hard work, dedication, and incredible successes of the Criminal Investigation Department and by the devotion and commitment of its officers.
 
The ten described are outstanding examples of the kind of men who laid down the principles and working practices for the various departments and by their own dedication and qualities of leadership ensured their success.
 
These were men who founded great organisations, made important and far reaching decisions and led individuals, groups and finally extensive squads of men and women to breathtaking accomplishments.
 
One of the contributors, who was a very senior officer himself, describing one of the subjects suggests, "He was just one of three officers I knew whose men would follow him blindly."
 
I am satisfied that this ability applies to everyone of those portrayed in these pages. It was one of those attributes which made up each of their characters. It was accepted by men of that calibre as being a basic requisite and whilst they may have been aware of this quality it was gained without effort and came to them as naturally as breathing or saying "Good Morning".

Each of them was successful in differing ways but without exception they all achieved the required result when the odds were against them and a result was demanded. When a particular crime resulted in screaming headlines and extensive publicity, these detectives used their extensive experience, powers of leadership and natural abilities to achieve the necessary result. They were heroes at a time when heroes were needed. Each has an incredible and distinctive record which will never be challenged.
 
It may come as a surprise to learn that some of these great detectives were totally unlike their counterparts portrayed today in books or on television. It should be remembered that times were different when they were young policemen. It may have been fortuitous to settle some matters with their fists in those days or to disrupt the expectations of a trainload of pickpockets by warning them off the turf. That was the way the law was expected to be enforced in those days.
 
I enjoyed the good fortune of knowing many of them and working with some. I still feel shivers up and down my spine when I read their history and recall those times I met them and what an impression they made upon me as a young budding detective. Great men they were, inspiring men who could lead you to believe it was easy to perform miracles and you were the man to do it. Grateful men. Full of praise for a job well done. Concerned for individuals and interested in their ambition and progress. Inspiring men who gave you the courage to believe you may be able to follow their example at some time in your future. Exceptional men who were modest in their accomplishments.
 
One thing is for sure, their like will never be seen again. The opposition to the personality culture which sought to play down the achievements of officers who began to distinguish themselves, the abolition of the career detective and the change in police procedures with regard to the investigation of major crimes have taken care of that.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I am sure anyone who wonders who the Big Five were, how the Flying Squad began or how some of those famous grisly murders were successfully investigated will find it equally interesting.
 
Incidentally, Dick Kirby is right about the term Guv'nor. I always saw it as a term that acknowledged achievement and a term of affection and respect. I left the Met 40 years ago and still get the occasional letter, e-mail or phone call, or I meet some of my ex colleagues usually at funerals these days. When they use the soubriquet I still get a warm feeling of pride and satisfaction.

Leonard 'Nipper' Read Q.P.M


Review

Dick Kirby in the Prologue to his book 'The Guv'nors' states that in the Metropolitan Police to be called Guv'nor is the highest accolade that can be bestowed on an officer of the rank of inspector and above. But the title is not a right - it has to be earned and he has chosen ten detectives all of whom were known as the Guv'nors from what he terms the “Golden age of criminal investigation”.

The first detective chosen is Frederick Wensley (1865-1949), followed by Frederick Sharpe (1889-1973) neither of whom are household names and probably known only to police historians. But the next two, Peter Beveridge (1899-1977) and Ted Greeno (1900 -1986) are known to the public, especially those who are able to recall the publicity they received during the post-war minor crime wave. They hit the headlines time and again while successfully investigating murders in the provinces at a time when the general public were reading Agatha Christie, Freeman Wills Crofts, Dorothy Sayers and other bestselling authors of detective fiction.

With the coming of television a series of thirty nine programmes based on the memoirs of Robert Fabian (1901-1978) ensured his name ranked high in the annuls of crime detection. The next two detectives chosen, John Capstick (1903-1968) and Ernest Millen (1911-1988) are not names that readily come to mind. But the eighth, Thomas Butler (1912-1970) who gained a reputation for “cleaning up” the West while leading the Flying Squad, came to the attention of the popular press as a result of his association with the Great Train Robbery.

Ian Forbes (1914 -1996) was a member of New Scotland Yard's “Big Five”. These were the senior officers in charge of the Metropolitan Police detectives and the most likely candidates to be called to the provinces to investigate murders: perhaps the most famous being what became known as the Cannock Chase murder.

Finally Albert Wickstead (1923-2001) who may not have been a household name but was certainly well known and respected throughout the force not only for his investigative powers but also as the officer appointed by Commissioner Sir Robert Mark to investigate corrupt police officers. He was highly successful in whatever capacity he was employed and rightfully earned the nickname of Gangbuster.

Whoever selects ten of the best from whatever walk of life there will always be someone who disagrees. The individuals in this book could be termed legends who either served in or lead the Flying Squad. All were chosen for their detective ability particularly solving murder cases, but above all else, the respect given them by their colleagues. Other officers undoubtedly received equal, if not more publicity, also obtained numerous commendations from the Metropolitan Commissioner and/or the courts and also solved serious crimes but were they respected within the force? But does that matter? Dick Kirby obviously thinks so and with his background as an experienced detective sergeant of many years standing plus his internal knowledge of the force and its characters, who is one to argue with his personal selection?

The stories recalled make interesting and fascinating reading especially when it is considered they had no DNA to assist them or television publicity or any other modern technological advance or detective courses at the Police College to guide them. They worked on the old fashioned but well tried and tested method of learning on the ground. It may have been a slow methodical plodding system with questions and answers, research and deduction but it gives a superb perspective into the history of detection over the golden age.

Dick Kirby relates the many individual stories in a pleasant and readable style that encourages the reader to wish to know more. Fortunately there is a comprehensive index and a bibliography that enables one to pursue any chosen subject matter. But apart from one's own research surely there is sufficient material for a book to be written on each of the detectives mentioned plus others who are tantalisingly mentioned; the names of some ringing a bell and leaving the reader to ask: “where have I heard that name before?”

Anyone with an interest in crime or detection will find this book a fascinating read and having reached the last page will be greatly tempted to ask for more.

Iconoclast

Book Review Editor's Note.

I am sure the last name will be familiar to City of London Police officers who served at Snow Hill. I recall that Albert (Bert) Wickstead (1923-2001) called in at the station on occasions when he worked in Fleet Street. The first time I meet him, I said, "Can I help you?" He said, Can I have a word with the Chief Super?" I said, "I think he is a bit busy" He said, "He will see me, tell him it's Bert Wickstead" I recognised the name immediately and yes he was seen at once. Rob Jerrard
 

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Serial Killers: The World's Most Evil
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardback
Author: Nigel Blundell
ISBN: 9781845631185
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 5th July 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information

On an internationally acknowledged 'Scale of Evil', these are the world's worst serial killers. The qualifications for entry to this list of the vilest criminals of all time are a propensity for sadism, torture and murder without a shred of remorse.
 
Using expert evidence, this book looks behind the shocking headlines and delves into the minds of monsters. What drove them to crime? What turned seemingly ordinary members of society into sick slayers. How did they self-justify their heinous deeds? And, quite simply, how did they get away with murder?
 
Included in this catalogue of the world's most evil killers are men who committed crimes so monstrous that they almost defy belief - yet to their neighbours and work colleagues seemed quite normal.
 
Dennis Rader was a respected pillar of society yet set out on nightly killing sprees. David Parker Ray was just an 'average working guy' but had a torture chamber in his backyard. Fred and Rose West raised a large extended family yet violently abused and murdered their own children.
 
These are examples of the killers who sank to the darkest depths of depravity. Find out what made them such monsters in 'Serial Killers: The World's Most Evil'.

The Author
 
NIGEL BLUNDELL is a journalist who has worked in Australia, the United States and Britain. He spent 25 years in Fleet Street before becoming an author and contributor to national newspapers. He has written more than 40 books, including best-sellers on crime and royalty. He co-wrote the Top Ten exposé, Fall of the House of Windsor, which first revealed the so-called 'Squidgygate' tape and the infidelity of both Princess Diana and Prince Charles. His other factual subjects have included military history, celebrity scandals, and ghosts and the paranormal.

Reviews to Date

I am a huge fan of true crime short stories and Nigel Blundells don't disappoint. Even with some of the cases (i.e, Ted Bundy) on which I have done extensive reading, Blundell Still brought an interesting tidbit or two to the story.
 
For anyone interested in reading a condensed version on serial killers world-wide, I highly recommend adding this book to your to-be-read list. True Crime Book Reviews

Foreword

By Dr Michael Stone, world renowned forensic psychiatrist

We all have a fascination with evil. Think of evil as a large dark-watered lake where many an author has gone fishing, aiming to catch the 'ten most evil people ever' or the 'ten most evil people now living' ... The list is getting pretty long. Most of these authors get the wartime
evildoers (the big fish, like Hitler and Saddam Hussein and Caligula) mixed in with the peacetime evildoers (the littler, but still impressive, fish like Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson).

If we're to grasp evil in some meaningful way, we need to keep the wartime folk separate from the peacetime folk. Their psychology and their backgrounds are often quite different. The men and women who do evil deeds in peacetime, and who do so repetitively, are not answering to some political doctrine.

But even the peacetime folk are not all cut from the same cloth. Some have done one extraordinarily wicked act and have later repented; others are violent psychopaths with brains programmed to do evil crimes from sunup till sundown, devoid of any redeeming, human qualities. Often they are devoted to the prolonged torture of their victims.

Serial slayers at this farthest end of the scale, like Ian Brady and Rose and Fred West, have certain things about them that are remarkably different from most other killers. For a start, those committing serial sexual homicide tend to have extreme sexual demands what we call hyper-sexuality. And they almost invariably have one or more peculiar sexual outlets. They may · have abnormal obsessions like voyeurism or exhibitionism or become sexually aroused by the pain of their victims. Or they may want to bind them, practise cannibalism or necrophilia.

If you see even one murder where a woman is raped and strangled and where the crime is them staged the body is dumped somewhere in a very embarrassing or insulting position, perhaps with legs spread apart you know you are dealing with a vicious killer who probably gets off on that sort of thing. He is very likely to have done it before to somebody else or is about to embark on a career of doing it again.

At the time he's only struck once, he's a serial killer manque but you know that there will be a second or a third or more. The FBI used three murders to identity someone as a serial killer. For me, one or two will do. For it is often possible to tell from a first crime whether that person's character is likely to turn the perpetrator into a repeat killer. I believe that if you commit a certain kind of vicious crime and you have certain personality characteristics, such as you are identified as a psychopath, then you're too dangerous to be released. And we should incarcerate that person for as long as it takes until we can really satisfy ourselves that the dangerousness has passed. And if it hasn't, then that person should remain inside. The factors can be so great that the idea of releasing anyone like that is ridiculous.

These are the levels of criminality that merit the title The World's Most Evil. And author Nigel Blundell has got it right. Just as in his recent book Crafty Crooks & ConMen, where he serves us up a rich menu of swindlers and fraudsters (alas, the book came to press a few months before the exploits of Bernie Madoff came to light, but Bernie Cornfeld is there, along with the televangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker), Blundell now serves up an authentic list of truly irredeemable, evil killers, all of whom were active within the past fifty years, and almost all of whom were demonic practitioners of torture.

Some of the names are so well-known as to have achieved iconic status like Belgium's Marc Dutroux and Fred and Rosemary West in the UK. Others are less well-known but had subjected their victims to even more gruesome and horrifying tortures like Lawrence Bittaker and David Parker Ray and Leonard Lake, all from the American West, but worse than any cowboy ever dreamed of being.

Nigel Blundell has managed to put together an anthology of evil men and women who actually did and did repeatedly crimes beyond what you ever imagined doing to your worst enemy. That is -what evil is all about. That is why Blundell's book goes to the head of the list. Stories to make you cringe. Stories you can't put down.

Michael H. Stone, MD
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Murder and Mayhem in North London
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Geoffrey Howse
ISBN: 9781845630997
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 19th May 2010
 
Publisher's title Information

 
Geoffrey Howse delves into the his crime files covering 200 years of the area's darkest past. Events covered include long forgotten cases that made the headlines in their day as well as others more famous: Britain's first railway murder, the first criminal to be caught via wireless telegraphy and the anarchists who left a trail of murder and mayhem following a raid on a Tottenham factory. There are many other cases to appeal to anyone with an interest in the local and social history of North London.

The Author
 
Geoffrey Howse, actor, author and local historian, was born in Sheffield and grew up in the village of Elsecar, amidst the great estate of Wentworth Woodhouse. He has lived in London for more than thirty years. Recent books include North London Murders, The A-Z of London Murder and two 'Foul Deeds' titles relating to the West and East End of London.
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Hanged in Lancashire
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Martin Baggoley
ISBN: 9781845631000
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 30 April 2010
 
Publisher's Title information
 

This account of executions in Lancashire spans two centuries and begins in the era of the Bloody Code. In the closing years of the eighteenth century there were over 200 capital crimes and the early chapters discuss those condemned to death for highway robbery, croft breaking, riot and sodomy. As the nineteenth century progressed for which the death penalty could be imposed decreased, until - with the exception of treason and piracy - only murderers faced the noose. The author has selected chapters that discuss botched hangings and possible miscarriages of justice, and ends with a chapter devoted to the last two men to be executed in this country, in 1964. A compelling read for anyone interested in local and social history, written by an experienced criminal historian.

The Author
Martin Baggoley was born in Eccles and after working as a civil servant trained as a probation officer, working for the last 33 years in the Manchester area. He gained a masters degree in criminology and has written on the history of crime and punishment for a number of publications in the UK and USA. His other books for Wharncliffe are Foul Deeds & Suspicious Deaths in Manchester and Strangeways: A Century of Hangings in Manchester. Now semi-retired, he lives with his family in Ramsbottom.

Introduction

Lancaster, for centuries the county's only assize town, had long been the setting for most of Lancashire's executions. The castle served as the court at which

all of the most serious crimes were dealt with and it was outside its walls that those sentenced to death were hanged. This account begins in the late eighteenth century, the age of the Bloody Code, when there were numerous capital offences and mass public executions, which were often carried out in front of crowds of many thousands. It ends 170 years later with the simultaneous executions of the last two men to be put to death before the abolition of the death penalty. In the intervening years, more than 400 men and women died at the end of the rope in a number of different locations across the county and for a wide range of crimes.

The first cases described are of a burglar and croft-breaker who were executed not at Lancaster but on Kersal Moor and Newton Heath, close to the scenes of their crimes. These were intended to act as a warning to anyone in those districts thinking of committing similar deeds. This had been common practice in the past, but by the close of the eighteenth century such events were becoming increasingly rare, and indeed these were the last executions carried out in these circumstances in the county. Crimes other than murder, which are also discussed, include highway robbery, forgery and sodomy. The early years of the nineteenth century were marked by much unrest and Lancashire witnessed serious Luddite riots; a chapter is devoted to these disturbances and the subsequent executions of some of the participants.

As the nineteenth century progressed it was becoming clear that Lancaster could no longer cope alone with the increasing demands being placed on the criminal justice system. Therefore, in 1835, Liverpool became an assize town which meant that serious cases were heard there and executions began to take place at the Kirkdale House of Correction, and later at Walton Gaol. In 1864, Manchester was also created an assize town but the proposed new county gaol at Strangeways was not built, leading to several executions being carried out before the walls of the New Bailey in Salford. By the time Strangeways opened its gates in 1868, executions had ceased to be public spectacles, and henceforth those convicted of murder, by now the only capital crime except for one or two rare exceptions, were dispatched in private.

In 1912 the last execution took place at Knutsford Gaol in Cheshire and afterwards murderers convicted in that county would be hanged in neighbouring Lancashire, which has led to a chapter being devoted to a murder committed in Cheshire. All of the county's hanging gaols are represented and murders from across the county are included.

The book spans more than two centuries, and the executed range from rioters driven by fear of the future to the callous mother who poisoned a loving and trusting daughter for financial gain. I also discuss possible miscarriages of justice and the question of insanity to reflect the controversy that has always surrounded capital punishment.
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Review

Without doubt Martin Baggoley is one of the very best writers from the Wharncliffe stable. 'Hanged in Lancashire', unlike the Foul Deeds series encompasses a much broader geographical area and is therefore able to cover a more interesting selection of cases. However the reader should be aware that the book refers to pre-boundary change Lancashire and includes Manchester and Liverpool. That said there is enough of a variety of cases to appeal to the crime historian, true crime book collector, social historian and local interest reader.

The book itself is divided into 26 chapters spanning the period 1790 to 1964 and is full of useful and relevant illustrations which help to set the scenes. Baggoley also uses good source material, particularly from the central libraries of Manchester and Liverpool. He also provides an all important index. As the cases are chronologically presented the reader is able to gain a good insight into how society's attitudes to capital punishment changed over 175 years until its abolition in 1964. The earliest cases cover executions for aggravated burglary and croft breaking. George Russell who was hung for croft breaking called on those gathered for his public execution “to avoid Sabbath-breaking, improper female company and keeping low company in public houses.” That is all the prerequisites for a good night in Manchester circa 2010.

Obviously some of the cases covered have been reasonably well documented previously, but there is almost certainly something new for even the most committed true crime buff. Chapter 10, for example, relates the tale of Lancashire's last public execution outside the New Bailey Gaol in 1868. A prize fight and pigeon race were organised as some kind of warm up entertainment to keep the 20,000 crowd amused before the main event. The crimes of Max Haslam are included in Chapter 21. Known around the Nelson area as the non-politically correct 'crippled dwarf' case (not mentioned by Baggoley), it still manages to remain in East Lancashire folk history. The very famous Cameo Cinema murder of 1949 is covered in chapter 23. George Kelly's conviction was overturned in 2003, unfortunately 44years after his execution. The final chapter places Lancashire with the dubious honour of Britain's last 2 executions, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans at Walton and Strangeways respectively.`

Overall 'Hanged in Lancashire' is a very good read. Hopefully there will be a sequel as there are plenty more cases of note covered within the geographical area. And if there is a follow up let us hope that Wharncliffe make it a hardback version to attract the book collector. There's no knowing how Wharncliffe decide between hardback or soft back, but Baggoley is too important a writer not to have the hardback status.

Cliff Cohen


Enemies of the State
The Cato Street Conspiracy
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: M J Trow
ISBN: 9781844159642
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £19.99
Publication Date: 30 April 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

On 1 May 1820, outside Newgate Prison, in front of a dense crowd, five of the Cato Street conspirators - Arthur Thistlewood, William Davidson, James Ings, Richard Tidd and John Brunt - were hanged for high treason. Then they were decapitated in the last brutal act of a murderous conspiracy that aimed to assassinate Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and his cabinet and destroy his government. The Cato Street conspirators matched the Gunpowder plotters in their daring - and in their fate - but their dark, radical intrigue hasn't received the attention it deserves. M.J. Trow, in this gripping fast-moving account of this notorious but neglected episode in British history, reconstructs the case in vivid detail and sets it in the wider context of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

The Author
M.J. Trow has written highly praised historical biographies as well as studies of true crime. He is also a very successful novelist.
 
Among his recent publications are lives of Boudicca, Vlad the Impaler, Kit Marlowe, the hero of the Charge of the Light Brigade, Captain William Morris, War Crimes: Underworld Britain in the Second World War and The Cato Street Conspiracy.
 
He has produced several best-selling accounts of criminal cases, in particular volumes on Derek Bentley, the Wigwam Murder and Jack the Ripper, but he is perhaps best known for his many novels which include the Lestrade and Maxwell series.
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Kent Disasters
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Roy Ingleton
ISBN: 9781845631161
Publishers:
Price: £16.99
Publication Date: 5 May 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information

Disasters punctuate our national history and some are so extraordinary, and so terrible in their consequences, like the Black Death, the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, that they come to define an era. On a local level, too, they have an unforgettable impact. For this gripping book, Roy Ingleton has made a telling selection of disasters that have hit the people of Kent from medieval times to the present day. The episodes he recounts were remarkable when they occurred, and they have a grim fascination for us today. He chronicles fires and explosions, epidemics, accidents at sea and on the roads and railways, and tragedies resulting from enemy action and acts of God.

The Author

Roy Ingleton has written extensively on criminal and police history and the history of Kent. His best-known books are Police of the World, The Great Debate: Arming the British Police, The Gentlemen at War: Policing Britain 1939-1945, Policing Kent 1800-2000, John Gott: A Life in the Fast Lane and Kent Murder and Mayhem.
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Review

This is truly a book for all interests, whether your interests lie in railways, aircraft, or natural or man-made disasters, there is something within the covers for you.

This is a book which brought back memories for me such as the Royal Marine Cadets at Chatham in 1951. This was because at the time I was serving in the Royal Marine Cadets at Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth. The book covers the disaster, when an omnibus was driven into the rear of three marching columns of Cadets, who at that time, albeit dark, they carried no red lights at the rear. Twenty-four boys died. As is often the case there was eventually an argument over the money donated, which was held not to be a charitable Trust.

Other Naval matters are dealt with in the Chapter, “In Peril From the Sea” viz, the' Northfleet' sunk with the loss of 243 lives, the loss of a German Battleship in 1878, the loss of HMS Bulwark and Princess Irene and the loss of the HM Submarine Truculent in the Thames in 1950 and more recent the Zeebrugge disaster.

The January sinking of Truculent was the first peace-time submarine loss since H/M Submarine Thetis had taken her tragic dive in Liverpool Bay in 1939. Truculent had undergone a refit at Chatham when on 12 January she sailed for open water to carry out trials.

On completion of her trials the submarine set a heading for Sheerness. It was during her passage through the Thames Estuary that Truculent encountered the 643 tons Swedish coastal tanker Divina in transit from Purfleet to Ipswich with a cargo of paraffin. A lookout of Truculent reported lights fine on the port bow. The OOW, Lieutenant Humphrey-Baker, directed his glasses onto the approaching lights. The lights did not appear to be the usual arrangement of lights; furthermore, they seemed to be too far over the wrong side of the channel. Humphrey-Baker called the captain, Lieutenant Bowers, to the bridge. It was seven o'clock on a cold, dark January night. The result was a collision with tragic results.

The loss led to the introduction of the 'Truculent light', an extra steaming all round white light on the bow.

For a full account readers could turn to 'Beneath The Waves, A History of HM Submarine Losses 1904-1971', A S Evans, Pen & Sword, 2010
 
As previously stated the coverage is wide with chapters on Fire, Sea, Railways, Road, Aircraft, Industrial, War, Terrorism and Plague and Pestilence. It is also well illustrated with seventy black and white photographs or plates.

Rob Jerrard August 2010


What's Tha Up Tp?
Edition: First
Format: Paperback
Author: Martyn Johnson
ISBN: 1845631234
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 2010
 

If you want to know what it was really like to be a policeman in a large working-class area of Sheffield during the 1960s and 1970s then Martyn Johnson's memories provide us with a superb insight of the twilight era of the 'beat bobby'. Centred on Attercliffe and Darnall, we meet a host of colourful characters, lovable (and not so lovable) rogues and a rich variety of incidents and events that could not have been imagined even by the most creative of fiction writers. But they are all true. Read about amazing traffic accidents, impromptu fights, antics of burglars and thieves, 'domestics', a dreadful house fire, a dead horse that moved, a lost peacock, suicides and suspicious deaths, mortuary training, and even UFO's. Along the way we meet a host of lovely people that made up an almost forgotten and fading part of old Sheffield; and a few visitors too, including the great Brazilian footballer Pele. At times hilarious, occasionally sad, but never dull, this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in our recent social history.

Martyn Johnson was born at Darfield, the son of a coal miner. Leaving school at the age of fifteen, his first job was as a blacksmith. His work changed dramatically four years later when he joined the Sheffield City Police Force where he served as a 'beat bobby' until 1969. A two-year spell in CID followed but, missing grassroots policing, he returned to the beat for a further seven years. Passionate about local history, Martyn is a well-known metal detector and has appeared on many BBC Radio Sheffield programmes talking about his hobby. A long-time resident of Wentworth village, he also assisted and advised Catherine Bailey when she was researching her best selling book, Black Diamonds.

Review
 
When I initially picked up this book to read, my first thoughts were, 'Not another ex-Policeman, who served less than two years and is forever whingeing about The Job'? However this isn't the case. Martyn Johnson as far as I can ascertain, served sixteen years and his stories; his memories of this period make interesting reading. I settled down to read of another Bobby's experiences of the time when we bother served, viz, the 1960s and 70s.

Martyn trained at No 3 District Police Training Centre, Pannal Ash, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire. This in fact became the Central Planning and Instructor Training Unit and during my two years at the Unit ( 4th Jan 1982 - 3rd Jan 1984) recruits from a nearby District Training Centre still used the swimming pool.

Martyn's story starts in 1962 and like him, I too remember it was the worst Winter since 1947, also one I remember, but only just.

I particularly enjoyed this book, which contained the usual funny stories - (we did have fun in those days didn't we!?)

I recommend to all as an entertaining read.

Rob Jerrard

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Criminal Women - Famous London Cases
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: John J Eddleston
ISBN: 9781845631116
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £16.99
Publication Date: 18th Feb 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Women have sometimes been seen as less criminally inclined than men. But, as John Eddleston shows in this revealing anthology of female crimes in London, this image is hard to mesh with reality, for the city s history is crowded with cases of women who broke the law. In vivid detail he reconstructs a series of dramatic, often harrowing cases in which women were involved and puts their acts in the context of their times. Taking episodes from the eighteenth century to near the present day, he looks at criminal women of all types, from all walks of life. The work of the London police, the courts and the prisons is an essential element in his study, and each chapter reveals much about how attitudes to crime and punishment have changed over the centuries.
 
Fascinating portraits of these criminal women as individuals emerge from their stories - their cases come to life - as does the London in which they lived. They include Catherine Hayes who was burnt alive for murdering her husband, three women hanged on the same day for highway robbery, two women executed for rioting, Anne Hurle and Charlotte Newman who were both hanged for forgery, Florence Bravo who was sensationally acquitted of murder and, perhaps most famous of all, Ruth Ellis whose execution in 1955 provoked an outcry against capital punishment.
 

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.


Review.
 
This book, “Criminal Women”, appears at first sight to be the second in a series about Famous London Cases by John Eddleston. However, unlike his first book, “Miscarriages of Justice,” this one is presented in a hardback format complete with a dust jacket. Small point maybe, but for the true crime book collector a significant positive decision.
 
The book consists of 170 pages with 25 chapters each telling the individual stories of some of London's famous and not so famous female criminals many of whom ended up paying the ultimate price and some getting away scot-free. From 1726 through to 1955 the reader is transported graphically through the courts of London as they decide the fate of 'criminous' women to use William Roughead's description. In addition there is a useful appendix of female executions in London from 1880-1955 and a good index. There are also 16 pages of excellent illustrations from Eddleston's own collection and the National Archives.
 
A true crime buff will almost certainly have come across some of the cases in the book. However there are some cases which are quite obscure and perhaps have never been written up before. This highlights Eddleston's attention to research and marks him out as a true Crime Historian. Obviously some will buy the book for its social history as it charts the status of women criminals over 230 years. Chapter 2, for example, describes the execution of 3 women at Tyburn on the same day in 1750. Their crimes, uttering a false will, street robbery and stealing a child's clothing which became highway robbery. With 7 men dispatched at the same time it was quite a day out for the baying crowd.
 
In chapter 16 the reader is introduced to Catherine Wilson who was hanged outside Newgate prison on the 20th October 1862 by William Calcraft, thus becoming the last female to be publicly executed in London. Twenty thousand turned up to witness the spectacle. Eddleston argues that she was one of England's first mass murderers perhaps being responsible for 7 murders. Madame Fahmy in chapter 23 shot her Egyptian husband Prince Ali Hamel Bey at the Savoy Hotel in 1923. An open and shut case, unless of course Sir Edward Marshall Hall acts for the defence. His outrageous, but brilliant defence not only saw Madame Fahmy acquitted of murder but also manslaughter. Some result! Ruth Ellis in the final chapter was also found literally with a 'smoking gun' after shooting her lover David Blakely in 1955. For her there was no perverse judgement and she became the last women executed in the UK. The debate following her execution probably helped turn the tide in favour of the abolition of the death penalty.
 
This book contains stories of greed, jealousy, revenge and stupidity. Some could equally have appeared in Eddleston's “Miscarriages of Justice”. Some of the women were plain evil, some desperate and most misguided, but all are well described in this thoroughly readable book and useful resource.
 
Finally let us hope Pen and Sword continue to market Eddleston in hardback.
 
Cliff Cohen

More Information can be found at the Pen & Sword website at



Tracing your Criminal Ancestors
A Guide for Family Historians
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Author: Stephen Wade
ISBN: 9781848840577
Publishers: Pen & Sword
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 15th Oct 2009
 

Did you have a criminal in the family, an ancestor who was caught on the wrong side of the law? If you have ever had any suspicions about the illicit activities of your relatives, or are fascinated by the history of crime and punishment, this is the book for you.
 
Stephen Wade's useful introduction to this fascinating subject will help you discover and investigate the life stories of individuals who had a criminal past. The crimes they committed, the conditions in which they lived, the policing and justice system that dealt with them - all these aspects of criminal history are covered as are the many types of crime they were guilty of - murder, robbery, fraud, sexual offences, poaching, protest and public disorder.
 
Graphic case studies featuring each type of crime are included, dating from the Georgian period up until the present day. All of these cases are reconstructed using information gleaned from the many sources available to researchers - libraries, archives, books and the internet among them.
 
Tracing Your Criminal Ancestors is essential reading for anyone who wishes to explore the criminal past and seeks to trace an ancestor who had a criminal record.

Reviews to date

'Wade's book - offering a social background, some interesting case studies and a handy resource guide - will come as a much needed aid for anyone who suspects their ancestor might have ended up on the wrong side of the law.'
Ross Gilfillan, Ancestors London Special 2010
This is a fascinating book which provides the reader with an amazing array of potential resources, advice on how to find, access and use them and some very interesting case histories to boot. Crimewatch could learn a lot from this bunch of villains!
The Banyan Tree
The book is a helpful guide and introduction, which is the aim of this useful, expanding series.
Clive Emsley, Who Do You Think You Are Magazine
All in all, if your ancestors were criminals, debtors, or drunks, or otherwise involved in a court case in England or Wales, then I strongly recommend this book.
Borders Family History Society

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Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in South Yorkshire
Paperback
ISBN: 9781845631031
Published: 24 February 2010
 
Publisher's Title Information
 

Geoffrey Howse explores the darker and sinister side of South Yorkshire's past in this diverse collection of crimes and foul deeds, taken from Victorian to modern times. Read about a shooting and 'mob rule' in Doncaster, sensational murder in Darfield, Mexborough, and Attercliffe; trade outrages in Sheffield and Rotherham, highway robbery at Wentworth, embezzlement in Barnsley and arson at Thorne. Unusual cases include a Doncaster elopement and robbery, burglaries by girls in Rotherham, the shocking killing of a police constable at Swinton and 'coal' riots and lawlessness in Wath-upon-Dearne and Hoyland. A dramatic event in Thurnscoe , a Wombwell stabbing affray and a variety of long forgotten tragedies and crimes are also explored in some detail.
 
Geoffrey Howse is well known for his books on South Yorkshire history. A specialist true crime author (this being his 8th contribution in the genre), Geoffrey has also published several books relating to London, including an A-Z of London Murder. His recent local Foul Deeds titles feature Barnsley (two volumes) and Sheffield. Born in Sheffield and brought up in Elsecar and Hoyland, Geoffrey, an actor/writer by profession, has lived in London for over 35 years.
 

Long before the creation in 1974 of the short lived South Yorkshire County Council, there had been an area within the West Riding referred to as South Yorkshire. There has never been a South Riding except in the eponymous work by Winifred Holtby, published in 1936, the year after her death because riding means 'a third part of', and historically Yorkshire's ridings have been the East, North and West.
 
Today, the modern county of South Yorkshire is divided into four major urban areas: the metropolitan boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. The principal towns and cities all have a rich history, but many smaller towns and villages within South Yorkshire have interesting histories, in some cases of greater significance in the affairs of the entire country. South Yorkshire, that centuries old enclave in the historic West Riding, has over the years seen many a foul deed committed within its boundaries. I have attempted to include a broad cross section of foul deeds from comparatively trivial crimes to the ultimate crime of murder, spanning the years between the reign of William IV and the 1950s. With regard to the wealth of crime history material available within South Yorkshire I have barely scratched the surface, or indeed moved beyond the tip of the proverbial iceberg. However, in an effort to provide the reader with as wide a breadth of foul deeds as possible, in as many different districts I have delved into countless documents and old newspapers in order to enable me to include some seriously disturbing cases as well as some lighter and more quirky crimes.
 
It is interesting to compare how the scales of justice worked in years gone by to deal with felons and petty criminals and those involved in crimes of violence, to the penalties imposed in today's courts. Sometimes, or indeed one might almost say, more often than not, extreme poverty was at the root of crime and there is many a sad story to be told. Standards of morality, social prejudices and a person's position within society all played their part with respect to the commission of crime and the administration of justice. Simply to be poor, was tantamount to some less charitably disposed both in thought and deed, to amount to being part of the criminal fraternity. Magistrates did not always deal fairly with miscreants, and sometimes what today seem inordinately harsh sentences were handed down for seemingly trivial crimes or indeed relative misdemeanours.
 
In writing this, my eighth True Crime title, I have tried to provide an interesting and accurate account based on available documentary evidence. I apologise unreservedly for any errors or omissions.
Geoffrey Howse

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