6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2013
There is no doubt that the author has worked hard on this, with much research and he writes in an easy to read style. It is also well illustrated with contemporary pictures - though none of the thieves nor the police officers involved.The section on the later fortunes of the principal characters was also informative.
However, what spoiled it for me was the lack of footnotes nor a detailed source list, making it impossible to know where the information which he reports comes from. Furthermore, I found it rather opinionated at times. The author states this was the first media crime - clearly he is unaware of the media furore over the Whitechapel murders of 1888 or over killers such as Heath and Haigh; likewise to refer to Vietnam as the first media war is to overlook the Crimean War for starters. There is not much context - eg no reference to the Bullion Robbery of 1855, for instance (some of the robbers then received 14 years), nor to sentences for other crimes in this era. To say that the robbers got more serious punishments than murderers is to forget that Hanratty was hanged for murder in 1962. The author overrates the political fallout of the Profumo case and seems unsure whether Wilson became PM in 1963 or 1964. Vagueness in places did not help either - eg the Buckinghamshire Constabulary became to Thames Valley Police in the 1960s. Easy to be exact. More investigation into contemporary diaries and newspapers for comment at the time would also have been useful; instead we get the author's thoughts.
A good book - but could have been better.