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4.0 out of 5 stars Ok ish
Author seemed to spend a lot of time criticising other writers on the same subject for getting dates wrong by a day or two and forcing there opinion of what they believed happened then forced his own.
This is the only book I have read on the subject and would have liked to have just read the facts and formed my own opinion.
Think he had the thesaurus out once or...
Published 1 month ago by Simon

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity
The author has obviuosly carried out a lot of research on the main characters in this sordid tale, but presents it in the style of a factual report and icludes a lot of extraneous detail, which adds nothing to the story. From the additional quotations from witnesses and newspaper reports you can get some idea of the background to the crimes and what life was like during...
Published 12 months ago by Jennie H


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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A never ending old story, 12 Nov. 2012
This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Hardcover)
The Author has taken a host of information from the Archives and other various sources in order to write this book. But we have to be realistic nothing will change as to what Christie did and what happened at 10 Rillington Place, and so is it not the time to lay this worn out story to rest. However, if you are a fanatic about this evil man then I'm afraid this is not going to happen. The book is not to my taste at all for various reasons. There was no reason for the Author's comments regarding the brilliant film "10 Rillington Place" and also the work of other Authors'
What is he trying to prove? The writer sees Christie in a more pleasing light, a human being with virtues and fond of children and he has every right to his opinion.
Here we have a diabolical fiend who killed six women including his wife whom he lied about her death saying she took an overdose. He abused their dead bodies by taking pubic hair and keeping it in a tin. Take the case of Rita Nelson six months pregnant, her ordeal must have been horrendous when he savagely strangled her being so advanced in her pregnancy and her unborn child died at the hands of this infamous killer.
Christies life was abhorrent with his past of stealing, violent behaviour, a known liar etc. The smell of death all around him at 10 Rillington Place which it seems did not bother him at all.
With due respect it is my opinion the Author should take stock of his style of writing, it is full of self importance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Nov. 2014
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Very thought provoking. !!!
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 13 Feb. 2015
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Couldn't finish. Rubbish
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars News from the Archives (Again!), 1 Nov. 2012
This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Hardcover)
This book reads like a report from the archives, but is actually very badly written with staccato sentences and no attempt to create atmosphere. It is drenched with 'facts' but little attempt to set them in context or make them interesting. Even writers of non-fiction have to have some of the qualities of a novelist, but this author makes no attempt to engage the reader and seemes to assume previous unsated interest. This is a very old case about which many books have been written, and much of the material in this book had been published before. The lesson is that being industrial in the archives is not enough to make a good writer and Wharncliffe should be commissioning talented journalists to write books like this, but then again they probably don't pay enough.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murderous Mediocrity, 4 Nov. 2012
This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Hardcover)
Murderous mediocrity - Christie, not the book! The first true-crime book I've ever read, and it wasn't nearly as macabre as I thought it might be. Jonathan Oates, true-crime, local, and Jacobite historian, has explored the original sources in depth, and produced a gripping and tightly focused if sometimes dense work which tackles Christie and peels back the "journalistic" superficialities of some earlier studies. I say dense, for one gets the positive impression that much more could have been said about the subject, space permitting. This is somewhat Tacitean concision as the author succeeds in combining facts with interpretation while providing new insights pithily and with a professional distance. Mostly however this is an admirably comprehensive study, and for a short book, it packs in much that invites a second (or third) reading. (It is engrossing stuff.) The devil is indeed in the details, it would appear, as Christie's personality is exposed as both unassuming and forgettable, conventional almost to the point of banality, while his crimes were bound together by a tissue of lies and a tendency to self-importance and self-destruction. He claimed, near the end, his destiny was as a killer. Perhaps that was all he could do better than other mortals (but he was still caught by the stench after packing his sinister flat with bodies). More surprising were his numerous sexual conquests and small-neighbourhood respectability (he liked children and animals, apparently). This was no isolated psycho-killer, but one seemingly happily married; albeit one lacking constancy in employment and never brilliant at or with anything. Neither insane nor passionate, Christie was a malodorous entity devoid of reasons for killing. This I suppose makes him even more puzzling and unlikeable, though he cuts a shabby and pathetic figure at times. Evil as the absence of good, rather than as a force of nature, then. Overall, a very fair and concentrated look at a grubby and somewhat depressing series of grisly crimes. One to revisit in order to soak up the chillingly bland contingencies of this miserable human specimen and his milieu.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Nov. 2014
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very interesting book
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 6 Feb. 2015
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Very engrossing read
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a truly balanced assessment, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Hardcover)
The strength of this book is its unsensational account of what went on in a horrendous house of horrors over 60 years ago. The author has clearly done his research with extraordinary diligence (his job as an archivist gives him a thorough understanding of just how to unearth facts such as the work places of Christie's victims etc.) and the story needs someone with an objective eye because the tendency in the past has been to treat Evans as a dimwitted victim. Previous writers have even got Christie's date of birth wrong which seems like a fairly basic error.

The author presents and scrutinises the facts with objectivity and, in the final chapter, almost apologises for Christie's weird personality. He is fascinating about the film of `10 Rillington Place`, revealing factual errors and making it clear that Ludovic Kennedy was not just monstrously biased in his marshalling of the facts but he was a fairly abrasive litigant too. The conclusions of the book allow for the existence of two stranglers in one seedy house which seems implausible at first glance but it is hard to ignore the train of logic on which that assumption is made. I loved the totally fact-based assessment of the information. At last, we have the truth here.

I disagree with another reviewer who finds the writing style `self important; I think that the book handles a vast amount of divergent material with skill and great clarity. His lack of sensationalism makes this book a slightly dry read but it's a welcome relief to read an account of these horrific men which treats the events like the Daily Telegraph and not like the Daily Express. By the way, now that it is almost exactly 60 years since Christie was hanged (July 15th 1963), will any forthcoming TV programme just re-hash the `old ideas` or will it ackowledge the rigorous if unpalatable truths in this very worthwhile book?

`10 Rillington Place` is not a nice story and it would be very hard to find any element of levity or brightness in any aspect of the protagonists' lives: it focuses upon a group of unlikeable individuals leading tawdry and impoverished existences in squalid and dingy places. We should not seek such frivolities when victims met their deaths in such hideous ways but this book chooses to assess the actual train of events and it does so with a refreshing lack of salacity.

This book ties up a lot of loose ends to make a volume that brings something new to a much-told tale: the cold, hard, rigorous truth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 25 July 2014
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enjoyable read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars true crime, 3 Jun. 2014
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a very good book true crime reader,s will enjoy this read unputdownable and a very interesting read not to be missed
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John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer
John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer by Jonathan Oates (Hardcover - 18 Oct. 2012)
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