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The Filth: The Explosive Inside Story of Scotland Yard's Top Undercover Cop [Paperback]

Duncan Maclaughlin , William Hall
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Oct 2002

For the first time ever, a senior detective and undercover agent has broken rank to reveal the stark reality of life in the police force today.

Duncan MacLaughlin was one of New Scotland Yard's elite. In a career spanning more than two decades he served in both the Central Drugs Squad and the Regional Crime Squad - Britain's equivalent of the FBI. Trained in SAS covert techniques, his expertise lay in money laundering and undercover surveillance and he walked a dangerous tightrope that could have got him killed at any moment.

Infamous cases in which he was involved include the investigation of Kenneth Noye, the pursuit of kidnap victim Stephanie Slater and the slaying of PC Keith Blakelock. He also penetrated international drugs cartels and nailed the ruthless barons who controlled them.

Filled with black humour, gritty slang and investigative detail that only an ex-copper could reveal, MacLaughlin's story is a riveting insight into the world of serious crime that is both thrilling and frightening.

With shocking behind-the-scenes stories that you'll never read in the papers or see on Crimewatch, The Filth is the true story about working on the dark side of the streets.

Frequently Bought Together

The Filth: The Explosive Inside Story of Scotland Yard's Top Undercover Cop + Crossing the Line: Losing Your Mind as an Undercover Cop + Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police
Price For All Three: 20.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (3 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840186690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840186697
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.8 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Exposes the secrets Scotland Yard never wanted revealed" (Sunday People)

About the Author

The Filth is Duncan McLaughlin's first book. In addition to writing, MacLaughlin is a director of Saraigh Ltd, an investigation company he formed to undertake enquiries worldwide. He currently divides his time between homes in England and America.

William Hall is a celebrated writer, broadcaster, film critic and show business journalist. His published works include biographies of celebrities such as James Dean, Norman Wisdom and Frankie Howard, as well as Raising Caine, the critically acclaimed biography of Michael Caine.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight 12 Mar 2005
By A Customer
A friend of mine was reading this book, and I read a chapter of it, and loved it. I bought it from amazon, who delivered it early...thanks! I finished the book in two sittings. The author lays the book out so it can be read easily, very easy flowing whilst providing the insight into one of the most elite police forces in the world, the Metropolitan. His story goes back to the pre-PACE world and shows the changes that came into effect from it. The book also shows the different attitudes that had to be adopted from political correctness, and also the rules and the stance that police officers had to take, sometimes even making the evidence fit. I enjoyed this book, my only drawback about this book is this, the author does a fantastic job about writing not only about his 20+ years in the force and an opener into his childhood, but his retirement and exit from the force is narrowed to just one page. This leaves the question to be asked, will there be a sequel? A must read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing! 29 April 2003
By Ishah
Duncan MacLaughlin brings us into his life with a whisper, and escorts us out of his life with a bang. Adopted soon after birth, he finds himself the son of a Royal Navy man. This military lifestyle gives young Duncan the opportunity to live in the world rather than the mews, experiencing other lands and cultures that contribute to his early moulding. His sense of adventure is evident in his early years, taking risks and pushing the envelope even as a young man.
Through his desire to follow in his father's footsteps and have a military career, MacLaughlin discovers his true passion: law enforcement. With a single-mindedness that is to be admired, he sets his sights on the CID (Criminal Investigation Department), also known as "The Filth." Working his way up the ladder in the Metropolitan Police, MacLaughlin learns the difference between the way it is done in the classroom, and the way it is done on the streets. His frustration is evident when he comes up against laws that were designed to protect the criminals and not the victims. This causes no psychomachia for the young police constable, who simply chooses to put those criminals in "the nick" by whatever means necessary, and rest knowing that he made his corner of the world a little safer that night.
The tension of the book elevates when MacLaughlin reaches the pinnacle of success with his entrance into the CID. He learns how to play the game, and does it with a ferocity and tenacity that brings admiration from the reader. Gutsy, earthy, and always with a sense of humour, MacLaughlin takes us into the underworld, where the line between the crime and the criminal is sometimes blurred. He leaves us by leaving Scotland Yard, but an epilogue assures the reader that this detective is still "on the case."
A riveting story by a fascinating author who is reputed to have solved the mystery that has plagued Scotland Yard for decades: The Lord Lucan disappearance.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid view of life as a Met detective 26 Jan 2006
This is the autobiography of a detective in London’s Met, detectives being known in certain circles as ‘the filth’.
Like the author I spent some time in the Met, following the same route in via the Police Cadets although my career was much shorter and a lot less exciting. I mention this because the bits where I have similar experiences are absolutely spot on and spookily familiar, so I have few doubts about the accuracy of the rest of the book.
I enjoyed this but it felt a little short. There is a great build up from the author’s childhood into the cadets and then into the Met mainstream where he eventually makes it to detective. Although he provides some interesting and honest views about life in ‘the filth’, this element of the book seems almost rushed and I am sure there was a lot more he could have told.
Some readers may be shocked that the Police are not as pure as they may wish but I am sure that those same readers are glad that the thin blue line is also manned by intelligence and dedicated officers like Duncan MacLaughlin.
Honest and interesting reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful overview 24 April 2003
By Marcus
The approach that Duncan MacLaughlin took to this book was one of an overview rather than in-depth analysis. I felt that the topics didn't achieve enough to bring the reader into the detail, which is demonstrated by some very short chapters. Often the shorter recollections of events were the most interesting and I demanded more from them.
The book is, however, perceived as an honest account of MacLaughlin's work "warts n all". It was refreshing to see the real challenges that face a career policeman and the occasional oversights that the job demands in order to get results.
If the book elaborated on some of the experiences and was twice as long, it would have been worth it. An easy "pick up and read a chapter" book that allows you to come back for more.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Filth 16 Jun 2002
The Filth
[ISBN 1-84018-586-4]
Duncan MacLaughin
With William Hall
Review by John Shaw
This book described as, an explosive inside story of Scotland Yard's top undercover cop, begins with the author's childhood. The early part of the book describes his life growing up as a stepson of a Royal Marine Commando, his fathers various postings around the world are mentioned together with his tours in Northern Ireland in the 1970's.He talks with obvious affection for his father and the text shows how he held him in high esteem and quiet rightly so.
After joining the Metropolitan Police, [the Met], the author explains the early days, being 'tutored' by an experienced officer. A few anecdotes are recited to give a flavour of what it was like being a new bobby on the beat. It was slightly disappointing to find around a third of the book is dedicated to his early days in the Met, where training and menial tasks were the norm!
After completing his probation the author joins the ranks of the CID or as they are affectionally called 'The Filth'. This was his niche and where the book starts to become interesting. In typical 'police speak' he describes his early conquests, [prisoners that is!], and the important use of informants. Part one of the book ends with the author becoming a fully-fledged member of 'the filth' but not without an enterprising assessment board !
Part Two opens with the usual exploits expected of the CID e.g. bread and butter cases, thieves, burglars, flashers etc. I feel the book dwells on the routine too long. Basic CID work may be interesting to some people but the idea behind this publication is his role as a top undercover cop, which is only covered in the final third of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really what it was sold as
Book was sold as the inside story to one of Scotland yards top undercover cops and yet don't get to any real undercover work until 50 pages from the end and even then it wasn't... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Matt Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars The filth
Really good read,just shows what goes on,HOPE he enjoys all he does,shame about the marriage but you always hear that the two don't mix,Joy Page West Yorkshire
Published 5 months ago by joy page
5.0 out of 5 stars The filth
Having served in the met as well it was east to relate to then authors experience surprisingly this book kept me enthralled and not wanting to put it down excellent work.
Published 8 months ago by martin shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
This was a very good book to read, full of interesting & entertaining anecdotes.

I highly recommend this book to others.
Published 8 months ago by Joe Royle
3.0 out of 5 stars SELF SERVING DIATRIBE
Published 10 months ago by CENTRAL LONDON MAN
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star read!!!
As a fellow 'police' writer, I thoroughly enjoyed The Filth and have recommended it to friends and family. Jonathan Cox
Published 11 months ago by Mr. J. J. Cox
4.0 out of 5 stars filth
I usually read true crime so it was a change to read the other side and it was quite a good read
Published 15 months ago by val
4.0 out of 5 stars present
i bought this as a present and they loved it, said it was a great book and finnished in 2 days!
Published 15 months ago by lc65568
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit slow
I was desperate for this book to 'get going; and to get gritty but alas this never happened. an OL read but not as good as I hoped for
Published 17 months ago by Somerset Shine
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, realistic page turner
This turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable read although it wasn't quite what I expected.
The book description leads you to believe that the author life as an undercover cop... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bogstandard
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