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Picking Up The Pieces Paperback – 4 Jun 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (4 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552147184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552147187
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.9 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

It's all the fault of Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps not the first detective novels (William Godwin's Caleb Williams, according to Julian Symons in Bloody Murder, or more popularly The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins), the tales of the Baker Street sleuth nonetheless presented the first accounts of psychological profiling, characteristically drawing upon the faintest of clues. Away from one fictional figure, forensic psychologist Paul Britton was the inspiration for another, television's Cracker. Britton had been involved in the conviction of murderer Paul Bostock in 1979, now acknowledged as the first person to have been caught and convicted using psychological analysis, and he has been consulted on more than 100 subsequent cases. Picking Up the Pieces, the follow-up to The Jigsaw Man, parades a rogues' gallery of cases from his clinical casebook, as disparate and anguished as one might imagine: a man who electrocutes rabbits in place of his abusive father in a home-made electric chair; a woman possessed, supposedly after a ouija board encounter; Colin Ireland, the serial gay killer; various stalkers and rapists; and even his own Wolf-Man, like Dr Freud (though psychoanalysis barely gets a mention), who turns into a werewolf each day at 4pm. Britton's work is controversial--he was involved with the arrest of Colin Stagg for the horrific murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in 1992, for which Stagg is considering legal action for entrapment--but when applied properly, amounts to little more than old-fashioned detective work, painstakingly worked through. The writing is sleekly episodic, wrapped around his own professional life, and while at times the neo-fictional dialogue can seem a little polished ("They used the garden because the house is full" is his response to an enquiry as to why the Wests buried bodies in the back-garden), the insights offered are genuinely interesting, and responsibly explained. And his conclusion makes grim reading: he is seeing more cases of institutionalised abuse than ever. Uncomfortably gripping. --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Britton has done hugely important work that saves lives. He is fascinating. His book is compelling" (The Sunday Times)

"A unique understanding of the dark side of the human condition" (Red)

"Precise, considered, methodical. His skill is to go beyond the guise, to understand and inhabit the psychopathic mind" (Independent)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Creating a follow-up to "The Jigsaw Man" was never going to be an easy task. Brittons first book provided an unique and highly descriptive insight into a world which most of us, thankfully, will never have to experience first-hand. With his new book, Paul Britton appears to have made a conscious decision to adopt a less graphic approach to his accounts of violent crime. The focus now is much more on the interactions within the clinical context - on understanding the roots of deviant behaviour and on using the psychoterapeutic relation to prevent violent fantasies from becoming reality. Structurally, this book is somewhat less clear than the previous one and initially, there is some degree of confusion as to what the author actually wants to tell the reader. However, stop expecting a second "Jigsaw Man" and chances are you will find yourself able to enjoy the book a lot more. The author has the ability to really let the reader into the minds of his clients, enabling you to understand - if not accept - some of the reasons underlying their thoughts, emotions and behaviour. All in all, a more introspective book from Paul Britton, but still very, very fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
Paul Britton has delivered an amazing insight into the world of the criminal mind.In both this book and "The Jigsaw Man", he not only takes you on an amazing and sometimes disturbing journey, through the criminals thought process but also explains his reasoning and findings with ease.I have never felt the desire to meet an author and shake their hand until I read his work, a truly amazing person. Such was my reaction to both books, I am now studying psychology as a part time student!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paul Britton is such an interesting, thought provoking and great writer. I have read both of his books with great fascination, he takes you into a world of the unknown and helps you to understand some of society's worst offenders and how they became what they became.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting read if you are into psychology and crime. Paul Britton changes tack from the Jigsaw Man and instead of concentrating on his involvement in particular police investigations, he writes about different sorts of characters he has come across in his consulting room. He weaves a narrative of his patients throughout his book in an accessible way, and his dry sense of humour sometimes shows. There is an element of self congratulation in the book, after all it is an autobiography, but still a great read. N.b much of the material dealt with may be upsetting for some readers because he is dealing with sexually deviant and/or violent people.
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Format: Hardcover
Self indulgent and cumbersome! After being absolutely enthralled by The Jigsaw Man, I was really looking forward to Picking Up The Pieces. The Jigsaw Man alluded to the fact that Britton had never been paid for his work (which I think he should have, and he should be proud of his pioneering work), however it becomes the underlying focus of Picking Up The Pieces. Very disappointing, a mere shadow of what it could have been.
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Format: Paperback
FACT- Paul Britton's reputation is now so tarnished in the worlds of psychology and policing that he is excluded from the UK police's list of accredited advisors and will never be called in to help on investigations again. That piece of information throws a completely different light on this book, leaving it looking like nothing more than a glossy self-publicity exercise. Paul Britton's involvement in the police's attempt to convict Colin Stagg for the 1992 murder of Rachel Nickell has now been discredited by the conviction of the real killer, Robert Napper in 2008. Ironically, Britton was called in to advise on some of Napper's other killings and emphatically told the police that there was no connection with the Nickell murder (The Jigsaw Man p265) despite claims to the contrary that he has made in the press recently! If you want to know the real story behind Britton and his shameful involvement in policing in the nineties, I would suggest looking elsewhere. Alison and Eyre's excellent book, Killer in the Shadows, would be a good place to start.
John A. Short
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow some very sad stories and gory details but what a great book! Very interesting as is the jigsaw man also by Paul britton
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An insight into horrendous crimes and criminals and how they can be caught by working closely with the police. Spellbinding.
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