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on 5 May 2013
This book takes you with impact into the 1950s world of sensationalistic British journalism and is a great read. The writer is an idealist caught up in the often dishonest practices of that era needed to land the scoops that built mass circulations. It is also laced with interesting insights into his personal life and emotions relevant to the challenges of the time. Having shared the world he writes about when I was a copy boy on Britain's 'Sunday People' I can vouch for the authenticity of the facts in this novel. For me it was a great trip down memory lane full of colorful editorial characters. For serious students of journalism this book is a must. It's written by a master journalist who went on to score world-beating scoops for serious newspapers as a foreign correspondent. Murray Sayle is a vivid writer and doesn't duck the truth of the often ugly manipulations that went into his earlier success as a tabloid reporter. I highly recommend 'A Crooked Sixpence.' I enjoyed every word of it. Tony Brenna.
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on 24 November 2010
Observant and perceptive tale of life in the old Fleet Street, when newspapers fed the public the titillation they wanted under the guise of EXPOSING the sickening VICE TRADE!!!! Unfortunately some TRAGIC VICTIMS are crushed under the juggernaut of righteousness - namely an ageing tart/procuress, and the central character's concience. James O'Toole is prepared to do pretty much anything for money, but he begins to have doubts about what he's doing - especially when his casual girlfriend (a party pickup) falls for him and exits for Ceylon and her fiance. He's puzzled by his colleagues, too - he's never quite sure if they're promoting him or sacking him, and can't locate their principles, either.

It's a fascinating snapshot of London at the time, just before it became "swinging" - casual sex and reefers feature, as do back-street abortionists. Jim and his girlfriend have some conversations about the British class system that are interesting to read but seem a bit out of place in a novel. It's as if the writer just wants to say "You're just a lot of toffee nosed useless ponces who despise us, aren't you?" Like many Australians, he's come to Britain with many preconceptions.
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on 19 November 2010
you can tell this book was written by a journalist as it's not quite there with the feeling you might want to create from a novel. more a long feature. having said that journalists will enjoy this book as it paints a picture of Fleet St in an era long gone. our book club - a load of old journos - gave it the thumbs up. nick
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