Top 10 true-crime books

Great research, vivid writing, historical context – the best true crime can give compelling insight into the kind of personalities that commit notorious crimes. In no particular order, here are 10 true-crime books that I particularly admire… Oswald’s Tale by Norman Mailer 1995 Forget the grassy knoll, mafia hitmen, Castro malcontents, CIA plotters – it…




Victim’s son encouraged by new focus on Nude Murders case

I was surprised and delighted to be contacted recently by Frank Quinn, the son of one of victims in the Hammersmith Nude Murders case. This was, of course, the unsolved serial-killer investigation from the 1960s that I cover occasionally on this blog, having first written about it in The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper. Frank…




Murder by the Sea: Louisa Merrifield

Of the six cases featured in the latest Murder by the Sea series, Louisa May Merrifield’s is the one I would most like to research further. The Blackpool Poisoner was the final episode on CBS Reality’s British series last week, and it is fascinating. In 1953 Louisa went to work as a housekeeper for a…




Murder by the Sea: Barry Rogers and Penelope John

It is hard not to feel great sympathy for Rhianne Morris, who appeared on this week’s Murder by the Sea. She was the girlfriend of Barry Rogers, who, with his mother Penelope John, went to jail in 2018 for murdering his grandmother, Betty Guy. Barry Rogers and Penelope John It is clear Rhianne is still…




Hatton Garden ITV

ITV’s Hatton Garden drama has been engrossing. The language is ripe and the cast – including Timothy Spall and Kenneth Cranham – is excellent. The Diamond Wheezers who burgled the underground safe-deposit company in London’s jewellery district in 2015 is a fascinating true-crime story. While pulling off this shocking theft, the veteran lags are also…




An Inconvenient Death

Just finished Miles Goslett’s account of the Dr David Kelly affair and it is a disconcerting read. Dr Kelly was the British scientist and weapons expert who was caught up in the controversy over whether Iraq really had missiles that could threaten Britain with mass destruction in 45 minutes. This claim was used to help…




Murder by the Sea: David Ellis

The CBS Reality series continued to rake through the dark side of our seaside towns this week. This time it was the sad case of Swansea landlord Alec Warburton, who was murdered by his callous tenant, David Ellis. Ellis had a number of grubby convictions behind him, including sexual offences against a girl. He was…




Murder by the Sea: Mamie Stuart

The third episode of Murder by the Sea on CBS Reality is about a case that is 100 years old. The murder of Mamie Stuart was all made all the more unhappy because this was a crime in which the killer escaped justice. Mamie Stuarts body was not found until 1961 Mamie, a 26-year-old chorus…




Jack the Ripper – The Case Reopened BBC1

Professor David Wilson and Emilia Fox (C) BBC When I was on the last day of filming for BBC4’s Dark Son back in August, the film’s presenter and top criminologist David Wilson was chatting about the Jack the Ripper documentary he had just made with Emilia Fox. He was talking about how the programme shed…




The Yorkshire Ripper Files

I remember as a student being woken by the radio alarm to news that police had finally arrested the Yorkshire Ripper – after long six years of hunting him. Milgarth Police Station, Leeds. By Mtaylor848 That was 1981. Big news. The murderer had spread fear across the North of England with his cowardly, obscene hammer…