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5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this. Very very interesting take on the 'accepted' ...
Really enjoyed this. Very very interesting take on the 'accepted' version of the story i.e. that Evans was innocent. Looks of good period detail too evoking the era brilliantly.
Published 1 month ago by Mossyo

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3 of 3 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 5 months ago by Jennie H


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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts not conjecture., 21 Nov 2012
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I confess I have read some of the previous reviews with incredulity, this book sets out to do what so many in the past have failed.
It must be the 9th book I have read on the subject and its the best yet, all the others merely repeat the standard accepted story, Jonathan oates has virtually started from scratch and let the facts speak for themselves, nowhere does he use conjecture about what might have happened or regurgitated what probably/possibly took place. His research is immense and it shows, I learned far more facts about the main characters from this one book than I did from all the others put together.

Sadly many readers have preconceived views before they begin reading, mostly from the film 10 Rillington Place which, sadly is riddled with inacuracies or from the book by Ludovic Kennedy in which he lets his imagination take over from fact and can be regarded as 80% supposition. Read this with an open mind and you will get far more from this work.

This is not a novel, its more an ubiased report based on what has been proven, recorded and contains a lot of newly discovered material. I believe it will become the classic reference material on this subject.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars News from the Archives (Again!), 1 Nov 2012
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 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murderous Mediocrity, 4 Nov 2012
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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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Autopsy on 10 Rillington Place, 29 May 2013
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Christie was the last British serial killer to face the gallows, but was he also responsible for the deaths of lodger Beryl Evans and baby Geraldine? Most people's perceptions of the goings-on at Rillington Place come from the famous movie starring Richard Attenborough, based on the book by anti-hanging campaigner Ludovic Kennedy. There, the naive simpleton Evans is manipulated by the arch-villain Christie from beginning to end.
Mr Oates has written an overdue revisionist account based on a fresh appraisal of primary and secondary sources, some of which are tapped here for the first time. Thus there is a fascinating review of the family history of both families which the author, an archivist by profession, has culled perceptively from local records.
The author's overall conclusion is that whilst Christie certainly murdered several prostitutes and his own wife (who knew too much), Evans was the likely killer of his own wife and child. Evans was indeed a violent and moody man who, after all, admitted both murders in three out of four confessions he made to the police. He also knew details that only the killer could know, for example that Geraldine had been strangled with a tie, before that information had been publicly disclosed.
The evidence against Christie for those particular murders was weak, according to Mr Oates. His chosen method of murder was the use of a homemade gassing contraption prior to some sort of sexual activity and strangulation by ligature. But two autopsies on Beryl failed to show the presence of gas or any sexual penetration. The book is particularly convincing on the post-exhumation autopsy.
To be fair, the author has not definitely proved his case and he knows that. There is too much contradictory detail in the entire saga. It's certainly possible that the police, anxious to secure a conviction, gave the semi-literate Evans a lot of "help" in his initial interviews although Mr Oates plays down this possibility. To those who say that it's an odd coincidence that there were two stranglers living at 10 Rillington Place, the author stresses that the whole case is full of such remote possibilities. The devil is in the detail.
Incidentally the book sheds a lot of new light on Christie "the man". He disliked eating sandwiches and fish but followed cricket test matches and was attached to domestic animals. He did not murder every prostitute he met and enjoyed posing in the nude with them at a make-shift studio he rented. Mercifully, none of those particular photographs appear to have survived in the public domain.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last - thorough, accurate research and freedom from bias . . ., 13 May 2013
It seems extraordinary that it has taken sixty years for such a rigorously researched and unbiased account of this celebrated case to be written and, now that it finally has been, one can only say "better late than never".

Students of the case will of course know of the great controversy which surrounded, and still surrounds, the tragic events that took place at this house and which ultimately led to the deaths, one way or another, of all the parties involved - some ten in total. However, controversy is a different thing from confusion and disagreement over verifiable facts and it has fallen to this author to correct much of the error and misinformation long believed, and widely propagated, all because earlier writers, including the supposed authority on the matter, did not achieve what this book does.

Whether any of the long-held beliefs and assumption can, at this distance of time, ever be changed seems doubtful but at least now there is the opportunity with information available to those who wish to have it whilst others may continue to believe as they will.

As always, there can never be a definitive "answer" and therein lies the continuing intrigue of the case which no other quite has. No doubt Christie will continue to be reviled as a monster and Evans an innocent victim of a corrupt system - and it might yet be that both views are to all intents and purposes true. This book offers if not an alternative assessment of each character then at least perhaps a somewhat broader one where the human frailties of both men can be allowed.

As essential a read as Kennedy and a good deal more reliable.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A never ending old story, 12 Nov 2012
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 25 July 2014
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This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Kindle Edition)
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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This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Kindle Edition)
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 2 Jun 2014
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This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting read. 10 Rillington Place always fascinated me and this book shows the kind of person John Christie really was.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal For Christie Fans, 21 May 2014
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This review is from: John Christie of Rillington Place: Biography of a Serial Killer (Kindle Edition)
Though I have always been intrigued about the Riddlington Place murders and thought I knew all that there was to know, This book filled in the in-between parts, and gave a face to Christie, not only as a killer but as a man .
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