Orders to Kill
The Putin Regime and Political Murder
Amy Knight, an expert on the KGB, describes today’s Russia as ‘a truly criminal regime’. She first traces the long Kremlin tradition of covert violence and the development of the country’s post-war security services. In the remainder of the book she investigates the background to several recent killings – including the Litvinenko poisoning and the 2015 shooting of outspoken Putin critic Boris Nemtsov – and examines the evidence for Russian involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Lockerbie Bombing
The Search for Justice
In 2009 Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, was released from prison. Written by the Justice Secretary who freed him, this account of the Lockerbie investigation describes the collection of evidence and the diplomatic intrigue that led to a Scottish court being convened in the Netherlands. MacAskill then explains his controversial decision and offers a reconstruction of the course of events leading up to the attack.
Sir Vivian Fuchs, Sir Edmund Hillary and the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1953–58
The Trans-Antarctic Expedition was a remarkable collaboration between Commonwealth nations to undertake the first overland crossing of the continent (during which Edmund Hillary led only the third group to reach the South Pole). Using maps, diagrams and photos from private collections, the Royal Geographical Society and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, this book reconstructs the full story of the planning, execution and mechanical complexity of the dangerous journey.
His Life, Legacy, and Legend
From shoeshine boy to bootlegger to mob boss, and from the kidnap of Fats Waller to the Valentine's Day massacre, Al Capone’s life story has become a morality tale, now studied in business schools, that reveals the dark side of the American dream. This reappraisal, from an award-winning biographer, analyses evidence from Capone’s descendants to rebuke the myths and confirm the facts about the life of America's most notorious gangster. Off-mint and American-cut pages
Talking with Serial Killers
The Most Evil People in the World Tell Their Own Stories
Christopher Berry-Dee has interviewed and corresponded with some of America’s most notorious killers, including the Happy Face Killer, the Ice Queen and the oldest man on death row. Here he describes their crimes, while their accounts give a glimpse into the minds of six murderers. Slightly off-mint.
Jeremy Wade, whose angling adventures are featured on the television series River Monsters, tells the story of his lifelong quest to track down the freshwater predators that have a fearsome reputation in local traditions across the world. He brings his zoological expertise and personal observations to the description of such creatures as the Himalayan man-eating goonch and the huge paraiba (‘mother of all the fishes’) found in the Amazon.
The Tragic Bride, The True Story of Reggie Kray's First Wife
If Frances Shea thought her marriage in 1965 was a passport to a glamorous life of West End nightclubs and celebrity friends, this biography reveals how she was misled. Leaving Reggie Kray after eight months, she was dead by 1967, allegedly of a drug overdose. Slightly off-mint.
Voices of the Scandinavian Waffen-SS
The Final Testament of Hitler's Vikings
Thousands of members of the Waffen-SS were recruited from countries Germany had conquered. This title focuses on Scandinavian volunteers, who were motivated by fascist sympathies, hatred of Russia, and anti-communism, and who fought first at a national level before being united in the Wiking Panzer and Nordland Panzer-grenadier Divisions. Trigg uses first-hand accounts, award citations, photographs and contemporary documents to explore their experiences, including their post-war reception in their homelands.
Over the Top
The First Lone Yachtsman to Sail Vertically Around the World
Adrian Flanagan’s solo expedition took him down to Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean, then all the way north to cross the ice-filled waters of the Russian Arctic. This account of his adventure includes maps charting his progress on the 30,000-mile journey and diary entries recording challenges that included capsizing, a tropical cyclone, encounters with whales and polar bears and a brush with pirates.
The Indian Empire at War
From Jihad to Victory, The Untold Story of the Indian Army in the First World War
With 1.5 million recruits, the Indian Army of 1914–18 played a significant role in Allied operations, from the fields of Flanders to African jungles. Using unpublished interviews with veterans, Morton-Jack describes the experiences and attitudes of officers and men from this uniquely multicultural force.
True Adventures of the Gentleman Commando Who Took on the Nazis
Robert de La Rochefoucald was a French aristocrat who was taught sabotage and combat skills by Britain's SOE before teaming up with the French Resistance to organize cells, blow up munitions factories and assassinate prominent Nazis. Drawing on family archives and wide-ranging historical documents, this account tells how he was captured and tortured for months, making two remarkable escapes, one of them from the hands of a firing squad.
The Minister and the Murderer
A Book of Aftermaths
Should a self-confessed murderer be allowed to become a priest? In 1984 the Church of Scotland wrestled with this question when James Nelson, who had served a prison sentence for killing his mother, applied for ordination as a minister. Kelly uses this case as the starting-point for a history of the Church in Scotland, which also combines personal memoir, true-crime narrative and an exegesis of biblical and literary accounts of sin and forgiveness.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and Around Durham
Covering the whole of County Durham (before the boundary changes of 1974), this survey unearths kidnapping, highway robbery, incest and a burglary at the Co-op in Windy Nook as well as manslaughter and murder, from a strangled labourer in 1624 to the case of Abel Atherton, hanged for shooting Elizabeth Ann Patrick in Chopwell in 1909.
The Lady in the Cellar
Murder, Scandal and Insanity in Victorian Bloomsbury
On 9 May 1879 an upmarket lodging house, 4 Euston Square, was being prepared for the arrival of a new tenant when the body of a well-dressed, middle-aged lady was discovered in the coal cellar. It was obviously a case of murder, and the ensuing police investigation exposed, behind the respectable façade of Euston Square, a sinister web of sexual intrigue involving the housemaid, Hannah Dobbs, and the landlord, Severin Bastendorff. Slightly off-mint.
Some Sunny Day
A Nurse. A Soldier. A Wartime Love Story
When Madge stepped onto a troop ship headed for Burma in 1944, she knew that life as a military nurse would be challenging. In this memoir, written with the aid of journalist Robert Blair, she recalls her experiences, humorous as well as difficult; the friends she shared them with; and how, amid the trauma and tragedy, she also found true love.
No Way Out
The Searing True Story of Men Under Siege
Commanding a unit of Paras and Royal Irish Rangers in Afghanistan in 2006, Major Adam Jowett was tasked with holding the town of Musa Qala. His account of the mission describes how his isolated and outnumbered team held on through 21 days of continuous combat.
The Lost Pilots
The Spectacular Rise and Scandalous Fall of Aviation's Golden Couple
A pioneering flight from England to Australia in the 1920s earned Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller international fame, but their lives unravelled a few years later when Lancaster was tried for murder. Their sensational story describes the financial and personal troubles that led to the death of Miller's lover and the desperate attempt by Lancaster to rebuild his reputation with a long-distance flight that resulted in disaster over the Sahara Desert.
Train to Nowhere
One Woman's War, Ambulance Driver, Reporter, Liberator
First published in 1948, this Second World War reportage relates the experiences of Anita Leslie, the daughter of a baronet and a distant cousin of Winston Churchill. Her account includes descriptions of working for the Mechanised Transport Corps, driving an ambulance for the Free French Forces, writing letters home from Hitler’s office in the Reich Chancellery, and marching in the Victory Parade in Berlin.
My Dear Ones
One Family and the Final Solution
The discovery of a hidden cache of letters at his late aunt’s house made Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg privy to hitherto hazy details of his father’s life, prompting him to explore his lineage in relation to the history of Europe in the Second World War and the rise of the Nazis.
Whitechapel's Sherlock Holmes
Dick Kirby reopens the casebook of Fred Wensley OBE KPM, the Somerset gardener who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1888 and within months began arresting murderers. An enormously successful detective, he cracked high profile cases including the Bessarabian, Odessa and Vendetta gangs; he played a decisive part in the Siege of Sidney Street; and investigated – although unsuccessfully – the serial murders by Jack the Ripper.
100 Criminal Lives
The practice of transporting criminals to Australia was abandoned in 1868 and replaced by the convict system: serious offenders were sentenced to ‘penal servitude’ in UK prisons and later released on license. Using information in licensees’ records, this volume presents brief biographies of 100 criminals, arranged in an A–Z, from Samuel Ainge (b.1820) who, after a seemingly blameless life was arrested for embezzlement in 1883, to Mary Wright (b.1853), who drowned her young daughter in 1880.
Six for the Tolpuddle Martyrs
The Epic Struggle for Justice and Freedom
Taking its title from a radical version of the song ‘Green Grow the Rushes, O’, this history explores the lives and politics of the six Dorset farm labourers sentenced to transportation in 1834 for attempting to establish a trade union. It records the struggle against a reduction in agricultural wages that led to their arrest and trial, their experiences in Australia, and the public campaign that brought about their eventual pardon and homecoming.
John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer
A Portrait of a Serial Killer and His Victims
Jonathan Oates presents a detailed investigation of the notorious serial killer, an intelligent, apparently religious man who killed at least six people (whose own stories are given due attention here) before dissolving their remains to cover his tracks.
The History of Newgate Prison
From the 12th century onwards, Newgate Prison played a key role in the development of the British penal system, housing well-known prisoners from Captain Kidd to Ben Jonson and Daniel Defoe, as well as murderers, rapists and arsonists. Illustrated with historic prints and portraits, this book explores its traditions and lexicon of slang, and offers accounts of executions, the pillory and famous escapes.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and Around Sheffield
From the mid-18th century to the 1920s, the darker aspects of Sheffield’s history include quirky crimes such as a brutal attack on a pit pony in 1891 and bigamy in Pitsmoor, as well asmurders, including those committed by the notorious serial killer Charlie Peace.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in and Around Rotherham
Highway robbery in 1856; little Nellie Gibbins, starved to death in 1918; 77-year-old LucySpray killed for a mug of water in 1940 ... Kevin Turton tells the stories of these and 14 more murderous crimes committed and criminals apprehended in and around Rotherham since Victorian times.
Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Glasgow
In tales of robbery, murder, gangland violence and domestic cruelty, Paul Harrison explores a dark side of Glasgow’s past: 18 cases ranging from the murder of Alexander Love in 1818 and the gruesome execution of his killer, to two policemen shot dead by armed robbers in 1969.
The Case of the Chocolate Cream Killer
The Poisonous Passion of Christiana Edmunds
During the summer of 1871, Christiana Edmunds went on a poisoning spree in Brighton, sending parcels of poison-laced sweets to some of the town’s most prominent citizens. The sensational trial of ‘the Chocolate Cream Killer’ ended with a death sentence, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. Looking at the Edmunds family history as well as the poisonings, Kaye Jones reveals the tragic past that set Christiana on a path to insanity and murder.
Bombers, Rioters and Police Killers
Violent Crime and Disorder in Victorian Britain
Simon Webb examines a dark aspect of life in Victorian Britain which is less well-known than the poisoners and serial killers: rioting and disorder, mob violence and terrorism. Among the topics covered are the Clerkenwell Outrage, when explosives detonated in the street killed 15 people and injured 120; the West End riots on Black Monday and Bloody Sunday; and the Aldersgate Underground bombing in 1897.
Digging Up the Untold Stories of Britain's Resurrection Men
From the mid-1700s onwards, as the number of people entering the medical profession in England and Scotland increased, so too did the demand for cadavers to examine as part of their training. This led to a rise in ‘bodysnatching’ – a macabre profession that is investigated here through the examination of contemporary documents and newspaper reports, revealing the stories of some of the trade’s lesser-known figures.
The Lifeguard Dog
For five years, 14-stone chocolate Newfoundland Bilbo worked alongside his owner Steve Jamieson as the UK’s only trained lifeguard dog, during which time he saved three lives. Steve reflects on the special bond he had with his remarkable pet, shares stories from their time working together on Cornwall’s Sennen Beach and explains what happened when bureaucracy threatened their way of life.
The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones and Other Victorian Scandals
Victorian newspaper reports, Old Bailey transcripts and coroners’ inquests offer a catalogue of grisly and often bizarre crimes: husbands murdering their wives, suicidal lovers, and mistresses taking revenge on their rivals in love. Drawing on these archival records, this book identifies three main types of offence: crimes of passion; theatrical crimes such as the fatal stabbing of the actor William Terriss at the door of the Adelphi; and unsolved mysteries.
A Miscarriage of Justice and the Fight to End the Death Penalty
The case of Oklahoma death-row inmate Richard Glossip has caused an international outcry, since even those who prosecuted him for murder admit he killed no one. The British reporter who became his close friend tells the story of Glossip’s campaign against three scheduled executions. Slightly off-mint.
A Powerful True Story
Returning to Ireland after 50 years, Gordon Lewis began to investigate the secrets of his childhood, only to be told not to go ‘digging up that old stuff’. Brought up in the 1950s in a secretive Catholic hostel for unmarried women, he had little idea of the hardships his mother had suffered, or her determination to keep her child, in defiance of an intolerant society.
An Italian Immigrant's Search for Respectability in Victorian Bath
Colin Fisher tells the story of Stefan Vallerio Pieroni (1819–1900), a seller of plaster figurines who came to England from Tuscany in 1837. Eventually, he settled in Bath, where he became prominent in the city’s social, cultural and political life.
The Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight
Based on recently declassified MI5 files, this is the story of one of Britain’s greatest intelligence operators, Maxwell Knight (1900–1968) or ‘M’. From 1923, when he was recruited for MI5 by Sir George Makgill, the book follows Knight’s career through infiltrating Communist and Fascist movements in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War, and examines his particular talent for recruiting and training special agents.
True Stories from the Operators of the UK's First Four-Jet Bomber
The Vickers Valiant was the first of the RAF 'V bombers' to be developed to carry Britain's nuclear deterrent, and was used to drop both atomic and hydrogen bombs in tests in the late 1950s. Drawing on the personal memories of pilots and crew, this record of the aircraft’s service history includes descriptions of its work as a strike bomber, its engagement during the Suez Crisis, and its reconnaissance and in-flight refuelling duties in the early 1960s.
The Ripper of Waterloo Road
The Murder of Eliza Grimwood in 1838
Fifty years before Jack the Ripper, a prostitute was brutally murdered in a house near Waterloo Bridge. The killer was never identified but in this new analysis of the case, the author draws on the investigating policeman's notes and contemporary newspaper reports to link the crime to a series of other murders and identify a possible serial killer.
Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson
In November 1966, the body of Dr Helen Davidson, a GP in Amersham, was found in Hodgemoor Wood, near her Buckinghamshire home. Police surmised that she had surprised lovers and they had killed her, but no killers were ever found. Fifty years later, Monica Weller reopened this cold case and solved the mystery. In this book she describes her investigation and finally reveals the identity of the murderer.
The Acid Bath Murders
The Trials and Liquidations of John George Haigh
John Haigh did not deny the murders of which he was accused during his trial in 1949 but claimed insanity, citing a history of disturbing dreams and claiming that he had drunk the blood of his victims before dissolving their bodies in sulphuric acid. This new analysis of the famous case draws on unpublished archive material, including letters that Haigh wrote from prison while awaiting execution.
Digging in the Dark
A History of the Yorkshire Resurrectionists
‘It is nature that teaches us to use the bodies of the dead to preserve the bodies of the living,’ argued a solicitor’s clerk found guilty of body snatching in 1831. He is just one of the Yorkshire grave-robbers, from many walks of life, who appear in this compendium of grim tales. Johnson vividly describes the resurrectionists’ macabre methods, the violent public protests against their activities and the private anguish of their victims’ families.
The Mammoth Book of Antarctic Journeys
The notes and diary entries made by 32 Antarctic adventurers collected in this volume record heroic acts and epic challenges, from Cook’s 18th-century voyage, via Scott and Shackleton, to Lynne Cox becoming the first person to complete a mile-long swim in its waters in 2002.
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits
The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Époque Paris
On the eve of the First World War, the French capital was terrorized by bandits, but these were no ordinary criminals. This narrative history charts the rise and fall of Jules Bonnot and his gang – violent anarchists, motivated by the city’s inequalities of wealth and poverty, who robbed banks and wealthy Parisians. Among their supporters was the young Victor Kibalchich, better known as the Russian revolutionary Victor Serge.
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
A Victorian Murder Mystery Solved
The brutal murder of Jane Clouson in Eltham, South London in 1871 became a press sensation: the police investigation and the trial kept the public enthralled and the accused's acquittal – after legal rulings disallowed key evidence – caused outrage. This re-examination of the case and the subsequent libel trials fought by the prime suspect reviews the evidence in the light of 21st-century procedure and finally identifies the killer.
The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse
In 1897, 20 years after the death of the reclusive Duke of Portland, a Mrs Druce made the extraordinary claim that her father-in-law, Thomas Charles Druce, who supposedly died in 1864, was in fact the 5th Duke, and her son was heir to his millions. This book follows the legal contortions of the sensational Druce-Portland case.
The Life and Crimes of Victorian England's Most Notorious Doctor
In 1856 Dr William Palmer was convicted of poisoning his best friend with strychnine and was suspected of committing at least a dozen other murders. One of the last people to be publicly hanged in Britain, he was described by Charles Dickens as ‘the greatest villain who ever stood trial at the Old Bailey’. But in this fresh examination of the evidence, journalist Stephen Bates considers Palmer’s motivation and asks whether he really was a prolific and ruthless serial killer.
A Century of Unsolved Homicides
Rumours of black magic and a ritualistic killing surrounded the murder of a farm worker in Warwickshire in 1945, but the authors of this book believe that this was a false trail set by the murderer, who was never convicted. Winner of a Crime Writers' Association award when first published in 1987, this book reviews the evidence from (and in some cases reveals fresh information about) seven intriguing unsolved British murders.
The Cape Horners' Club
Tales of Triumph and Disaster at the World's Most Feared Cape
Cape Horn is the only choke point in the Southern Ocean, where winds, waves and currents, unfettered for thousands of miles, are forced through a narrow channel between the Antarctic and the southernmost tip of the Americas. Adrian Flanagan charts the history of the Cape through the exploits of the select band of yachting legends who have taken on its fearsome challenge, including Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Bernard Moitessier, Chay Blythe and Jessica Watson.
The Final Roundup
Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant was a Somerset-born Australian bushman, drover and versifier, best known for the revenge killings he inflicted on prisoners of war when serving with the British Bushveldt Carbineers regiment during the Boer War. Morant was court martialled and executed for his crimes – wrongly, many have claimed – yet this fastidiously researched biography argues that, despite the romance surrounding Morant and his chaotic lifestyle, his actions in South Africa were ‘judged in proper and orthodox fashion’.
The Last Shepherds
A Vanishing Way of Life on Britain's Traditional Hill Farms
Shepherds were ubiquitous from pre-biblical times, their occupation a way of life – some even had their own language for counting sheep. Today, among other things, fewer sheep and quad bikes contribute to dwindling shepherd numbers. First published in 2004, this account follows three shepherds through their year, witnessing lambing, haymaking, sheep fairs and the training of a puppy to become a working sheepdog, and describes traditions that have disappeared or are under threat.
The Mile End Murder
The Case Conan Doyle Couldn't Solve!
Like his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle enjoyed applying his mind to unsolved crimes, and the murder in 1860 of wealthy widow Mary Emsley was one such case. This book tackles the problem afresh, picking apart the evidence against the man who was hanged for the crime and, unlike Conan Doyle, reaching a conclusion as to the identity of the real killer. Off-mint<./i>
The Ardlamont Mystery
The Real-Life Story Behind the Creation of Sherlock Holmes
In 1893 the aristocratic Alfred Monson was charged with the murder of Cecil Hambrough, a young army officer, on the Ardlamont estate in Scotland. The case captivated popular imagination, but few realized that the two expert witnesses, Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn, had been solving crimes together for 20 years. This book charts their adventures – exploits which inspired Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes – and probes the mystery that would challenge even their genius for detection.
Gangs, Vice and Packet Rats: 19th-Century Crime and Punishment
The crowds of immigrants, merchants, sailors, slave traders and soldiers passing through the colonial port of 19th-century Liverpool provided an ideal cover for gang-led criminality and drink-fuelled depravity. This entertaining survey of Liverpool’s Victorian underworld presents a litany of crime stories, including murder, robbery, prostitution and bodysnatching, many of which involved sailor gangs like the notorious Packet Rats. The presence of Irish Catholic immigrants in the city, as Archibald points out, also raised tensions.
Crime in 19th Century Scotland
Malcolm Archibald investigates some of the lesser-known murders, robberies and misdemeanours committed in 19th-century Scotland, contrasting the romantic ‘glens and bens’ notion of the country with the reality of its criminal underworld. As well as dealing with themes in crime, such as poisonings, rural murder and ‘wild women’, the book has chapters devoted to celebrated cases including the Dundee Museum Robbery and the Siege of John Street.
The Secret Train Robber
The Real Great Train Robbery Mastermind Revealed
The London crime scene of the 1950s and 1960s was rife with notorious villains such as the Krays and the Richardsons, but this book reveals that behind the headline-grabbers there was an unsuspected mastermind planning the Great Train Robbery and a string of other major robberies, a shadowy Mr Big controlling London's crime from the cover of his day job as a solicitor's clerk. His only confidant, his nephew Lee Sturley, tells the story.
The Count of Scotland Yard
The Controversial Life and Cases of DCS Herbert Hannam
DCS Herbert Hannam was one of the most compelling characters in Scotland Yard and the CID during the post-war period; in this biography of Hannam, Wade describes some of the sensational crimes he investigated in the mid 1950s and the unsolved murder of Emily Pye.
The Secret Poisoner
A Century of Murder
In the 19th century, homicidal poisoning was considered a grave threat to society, yet prosecutors were commonly frustrated by lack of evidence. Stratmann chronicles how, during a century-long battle of wits between the law, medicine and the public, the new science of forensic toxicology evolved to thwart the poisoner’s art. Painful death, post-mortems and executions darken a gripping narrative that includes, among others, the notorious cases of Eliza Fenning and Betty Eccles.
The Man with the Poison Gun
A Cold War Spy Story
In August 1961, on the day before his baby son’s funeral, KGB agent Bohdan Stashynsky boarded an S-Bahn train into West Berlin. By nightfall he had defected into the hands of the American military, confessing to murdering two Ukrainian dissidents using a cyanide-loaded poison gun. Drawing on recently declassified material from CIA and KGB archives, Plokhy’s thrilling story charts Stashynsky’s rise as a willing assassin, his nail-biting escape and its impact on Cold War politics.
Lost at Sea
The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Investigative journalist Jon Ronson is drawn to quirky and unusual stories and manages to write with humour while treating his subjects seriously. This collection of his writings from the Guardian, GQ and other publications covers a diverse range of topics from Church of England Alpha courses to psychics and alien investigators.