SIGNS OF MURDER A Small Town in Scotland, a Miscarriage of Justice and the Search for the Truth by DAVID WILSON


Miscarriages of justice are ripe for crime literature, biographies, memoirs and case studies. We are all familiar with high-profile cases, such as Barry George’s conviction for the murder of Jill Dando, the infamous ‘Guildford four’ whose sentences were quashed, and then there’s Timothy Evans, the latter being a case we have studied via two books reviewed on this very website. 

So what is a miscarriage of justice? 

The term 'miscarriage of justice' generally applies when a person is convicted of a crime but later their case is re-opened and their conviction is found to be 'unsafe'. But some cases are never reopened and a conviction stays, regardless of however long a prison term is served. 


Margaret Mclaughlin was killed in a frenzied knife attack in 1973


What happens if a case is deemed ‘unsafe’ though, but it’s never reopened? None of us would wish for crime to happen on our doorsteps but for Professor David Wilson, a historic case in his hometown of Carluke in Scotland, meant returning to his old haunts to investigate the 1973 murder of Margaret Mclaughlin and one in which an innocent man was jailed? 


Visiting this case for the very first time, I was fascinated to read about George Beattie and his wrongful murder conviction which sparked the writing of this book. Was it a miscarriage due to an incompetent policeman William Muncie – one of Carluke’s most famous sons – secretly capitalising on his reputation as ‘Scotland’s top detective’? The case for George Beattie’s innocence is compelling and in this book, David Wilson investigates all angles. Rather than being a vigilante, engaged in a witch hunt, or interested in listening to idle gossip, David Wilson reviews this unofficial cold case review as you would expect. If you've seen any of his true-crime TV shows or documentaries, you will know what I mean. Based in England, we had no idea of this case and having read the book, we feel duly informed.


Professor David Wilson - Author / TV Crime Expert


The investigation itself is incredibly good, the only slight I would say is that you David Wilson could be biased in his assumption that George Beattie is innocent, having been immersed in the case since childhood. He does investigate another possible local suspect though, and I think if he's correct - this book may have a sequel. I won't spoil it, but it still makes for a fascinating read 



@rybazoxo for @VivaLaBooksHq

John Christie of Rillington Place by Dr Jonathan Oates

 

Continuing our theme of criminal biographies, ‘John Christie of Rillington Place’ by DR Jonathan Oates is a fascinating insight into the mind and life of the 1950s London based serial killer, and one that is entertaining, macabre, and eerily familiar. This account of John Christie’s life is unlike any other book of the killer that we have read. 

A policeman stands guard outside 10 Rillington Place

Previous true crime books, films, and podcasts tend to concentrate on murders that Christie was never actually charged for and tend to focus largely on his murderous modus operandi. This book differs from others in giving an unbiased historical fact-based account of his life, before the murders. The book gives a factual insight into John 'Reg' Christie’s childhood, sporadic career choices, relationships with the opposite sex, and even his raging hypochondria, which I’d never read about before. 

Having previously read Inside 10 Rillington Place which is a familial account of Beryl Evan’s murder, I was convinced that John Christie had killed Beryl and her daughter, Geraldine. However, having read this book, I doubt this is the case now, and that is what makes a good true crime book. 

We all read, listen, and watch true crime content that is subjective or objective, dependent on the creator’s intention. It is rare then (bizarrely) to find content that gives biographical, or even autobiographical (The History Of A Drowning Boy by Dennis Nilsen ) insight into the mind of a serial killer, and this is a fine example of that rare true crime commodity. 

For those unfamiliar with the case of John Christie, I would avoid any other films, or books involved with the case and start with this one. It will give any true crime enthusiast good grounding to delve into the case further. Dr Jonathan Oates is a London historian and is academic, however, his narrative is accessible and easy to read. The writer presents the facts, timelines, relating characters, and case notes without sounding pretentious, and on that basis, we read it in a matter of days!

John Christie of Rillington Place by Dr Jonathan Oates is published by PEN & SWORD books who we thank for letting us review this book! 

BUY THE BOOK here 

@rybazoxo for @VivalabooksHQ


www.vivalabooks.com the home of true crime book reviews

Serpentine - The True Story of a Serial Killer's Reign of Terror by Thomas Thompson

True Crime seems to be captivating TV audiences these days, and like never before. The latest offering from the UK has been the BBC crime drama The Serpent. I binged it in one week and was captivated by this exotic far-flung tale of a 1970’s serial killer, his murder spree, drugging, gem trafficking and poisonous reign of terror. 

As always, I immediately downloaded the most popular book on amazon about the case and reviewed it for Vivalabooks!

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Serpentine by Thomas Thompson tells the story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj, the notorious ‘Serpent’ or ‘bikini killer’ who preyed on Western tourists throughout the hippie trail of Southeast Asia during the 1970s. Joined by his band of ‘followers’ you could almost say that this murderer had a cult following, however, unlike Charles Manson, Charles Sobhraj was hands-on when it came to killing.  


The book is a biography of Charles’ life from birth in 1944 up to his eventual capture and jailing in 1976. Over several months in late 1975 and early 1976, the French serial killer (although of Asian and Indian descent) murdered tourists on the ‘hippie trail’. During this period, bodies have been found slain, their corpses strangled and stabbed and burned and drowned, from the paradise beaches of Thailand, through to slopes of the Himalayas and besides the river Ganges. Sobhraj used a variety of aliases, usually from stolen passports, posing as a gem dealer to first extract money, but which (for reasons unknown) quickly escalated into murder. Maybe to cover his tracks or to keep the police from his trail, Charles had a femme fatale in tow (one of many) in French / Canadian Marie-Andree Leclerc, who acted as his wife, and an eventual accomplice (although she feigned innocence through trial). The book is a fascinating delve into The Serpent crimes, his heady band of followers, and analytically deconstructs his subsequent trial.



This book is the perfect accompaniment to the smash-hit BBC true crime drama and paints a portrait of a master manipulator psychopath who still resides in jail to this day. 


About the Author; Thomas Thompson was an American journalist and author. He worked for Life magazine from 1961 and died in 1982.


Watch The Serpent on BBCiPlayer


Serpentine by Thomas Thompson is published by Open Road and is available on Amazon Kindle


@rybazoxo writing for Vivalabooks.com

Titanic: 'Iceberg Ahead' by James W Bancroft

 

The historical facts of the RMS Titanic's infamous sinking have been a morbid maritime currency, in non-fiction books, film's, television documentaries, for well over 100 years. With countless articles written and books published, so many stories have been told and retold about the 'unsinkable' ship and have been historically re-written on countless occasions.  


The most famous that spring to mind would be; 'A night to remember by Walter Lord, and James Cameron's 1997 cinematic masterpiece 'Titanic', are probably the best of both cinematic and non-fiction retellings. Assuming you've read plenty of Titanic's history (like I have) then surely 'TITANIC - ICEBERG AHEAD' by James W Bancroft is superfluous in this well-stocked subject matter? Well, yes and no.


The beginning of the book recounts all of the usual Titanic information; when she was launched, where from, how big, unsinkable, maiden voyage, etc etc. However, by the second half of the book, the author delves deep into the passenger's lives, and unlike those well-versed accounts of the ships first-class millionaires on board, this book tells the life stories of passengers, survivors and victims, of the Titanic, from second and third class.  

The social history is fascinating and tragic in equilibrium and is told with impressively researched detail.  Foreboding narrative aside, it's a very good book for those who aren't familiar with the tragedy of the Titanic or the lives of those who sailed in her. 

A very recommended read for history buffs and true crime fans, alike! 

words by @rybazoxo for @VivaLaBooksHQ

The Pembrokeshire Murders by Steve Wilkins, Jonathan Hill

 


True Crime seems to be captivating TV audiences these days, and like never before. A good barometer of UK TV Drama, ITV has given us about a year worth of true crime dramas in as many months. This blog has been utterly inspired by DES, White House Farm, and now The Pembrokeshire Murders. These books, based on true life UK murders, have galvanised UK audiences, but I wonder how many have read all the books as we have? 

Serial Killer John Cooper (R) on TV show Bullseye

Our latest true-crime TV favourite meant devouring The Pembrokeshire Murders (original book published 2013) in about a week, and as good as the TV drama was, I think the book is better! It took Steve Wilkins and his team 6 years to nail serial killer John Cooper and bizarrely classic 1980s TV show 'Bullseye' helped identify him, but that is the tip of the iceberg, in this fascinating and compelling true crime story. Steve Wilkins lead the team to a successful conviction and dives deep into the case, which gives the book a personal edge and a compassionate narrative. 

main images - TV show cast / Small Images - Real Life 

The police procedural has you on the edge of your seat, and the intricate DNA and evidence details shared, really give this book an individual edge. By the end of the book, you are cheering on the time as John Cooper is sent down on a 'life means life' sentence. 

Very highly recommended. As Bullseye presenter Jim Bowen would've said 'super, smashing, great!

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co 2020

(First published in 2013 by Seren Books)

ISBN: 9781841884509 

Number of pages: 352 


We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops and Corruption in an American City


Author - Justin Fenton 

Publisher - Faber & Faber

Publishing - February 25th 2021

Baltimore, Maryland, USA. To my knowledge, this is synonamous with crime TV classic The Wire, the series that broke the mould as a predecessor to Netflix crime dramas we all binge every week. With some interest, but little knowledge, I began this book in trepidation. Seemingly Baltimore has had race riot issues over the past decade the black lives matter movement could have been born there. Racial segregation,  high unemployment, drugs, and a police force hell-bent on reducing gun crime.


So when you think of crime, corruption, drug dealing, and money laundering, you don't expect this to be coming from inside the police force, but that is what happened in Baltimore Police department. Justin Fenton's book delves deep into the Gun Trace Task Force set-up to tackle Baltimore's gun crime. Fronted by Sgt Wayne Jenkins and his team of plain-clothed officers, the task force was the city's crime-tackling heroes.  


However, they were all been skimming from the drug busts they made, pocketing thousands in cash found in private homes and planting fake evidence to throw Internal Affairs off their scent. 


This high octane hard-hitting true story ends with a litany of jail terms and a death shrouded in mystery that journalist Justin Fenton takes us through the crimes, the investigations, and fall-out with real gusto. Whilst The Wire may seem like a distant memory, I think this latest Baltimore crime story would make a good Netflix documentary or mini-series. 


A recommended read from Faber & Faber. 

Words by @rybazoxo for @vivalabkshq

With thanks to NetGalley 





STALKERS:True Stories Of Deadly Obsessions by Eileen Ormsby


Published August 3rd 2020

ASIN B08BWL9F6F

Dark Webs True Crime #3


Book 3 of 4 in the highly moreish Dark Web series and this time the true-crime stories centre on stalking, stalkers, and the serious repercussions of such action. Whether online or off-line, stalking is insidious, difficult to define and even harder to prove. Stalking can cause fear, stress, confusion and anger and can be difficult to police in extremity. Stalking as a crime is a relatively new construct and the stories selected for this e-book are from the last decade or so. Keeping in style with the previous two books, Stalkers: True stories of deadly obsessions is four separate stories from around the globe. 


The first story is of young Hollywood actress Rebecca Schaeffer who was murdered by an obsessive fan, with stark parallels to the murder of musician, John Lennon. A stark reminder of the perils of fame, and a story we were not aware of!  



The second is from the UK and concerns a bookish highly-intelligent stalker that, although did not commit murder, he stalked hard and committed a litany of crimes before being caught. Countdown, crossing the country, and ASDA. Bizarre, entertaining, and a case of you can never really know what goes on in somebody’s head! Frightening. 



Sandwiched in the middle is a story from the beginning of the internet which includes; MSN chatrooms, a teenage temptress, bromance, MI6, and a stabbing in broad daylight. Once in court, this case was groundbreaking for UK litigation and must be read to be believed. 


The fourth, and final story from the USA, is common of many a true crime story; infidelity and jealously in marriage. It is also a story that involves Craiglist, a  deserted garage, mind-blowing deception, and a surprise twist in the end. Justice served but my word we did not see that coming! 


Overall, this is another brilliant book in Eileen Ormsby’ online book series, and this week we delve into the fourth book of this dark web series. 


Words by @rybazoxo for @VivaLaBooksHq 


Buy The Book


Murder on the Dark Web: True tales from the dark side of the internet by Eileen Ormsby

Format - Kindle Edition

Published - June 22nd 2020

ASIN - B08BFL9FH2

Series - Dark Webs True Crime #2

This is our second e-book True Crime review (courtesy of Kindle Unlimited) and we are pleased to report that; 

A) we read it in one sitting and B) there are more books in the series!!

The term 'dark web' needs little introduction in the internet ear of 2021 yet still poses many questions; is it all encrypted? It is as sinister as we imagine, and what will we find there? I've never ventured into the dark web myself, but I'm not new to TOR nor TAILS which are both needed to access this 'unseen' and criminal enclave of the internet. Imagine a heinous insidious version of eBay where you can buy or sell drugs, guns, and gangsters, even murder-for-hire. Often exaggerated with folklore, the prime real example would be the website SILK ROAD, which we heard about on a True Crime podcast.  

This second book in Eileen Ormsby' dark web series, Murder on the Dark Web tells two true crime stories, both which intrinsically linked by this very modern phenomena. One from the USA and one from the UK. The three-part format remains, however, a great introduction describing what the dark web is. This sets the tone for the reader giving insight, should it be needed. Both stories are intriguing, well known, and wonderfully told. The narrative remains objective, and the facts are dished out, with newspaper reports, interviews, phone call transcripts and masses of research in the storytelling. An absolute joy to read we can't wait to delve into the next book in this series. 

Buy The Book

 

By @rybazoxo for @VivaLaBooksHq 

We are www.vivalabooks.com 






Psycho.com: serial killers on the internet by Eileen Ormsby

 

Format -ebook, 180 pages

Published-May 2nd 2020

ASIN- B087X1JX56

Series- Dark Webs True Crime #1

This is our first e-book True Crime review (courtesy of Kindle Unlimited) and we are pleased to report that; 

A) we read it in one sitting and B) there are more books in the series!!

This is a wonderfully twisted exploration of criminal and human insanity. All of the required details are there; narcissism, psychopathy, fantasy, and necrophilia. The book is nicely split into three different parts, telling three true crime stories from around the globe, in relatively recent criminal history. Each crime has pure murderous intent at its heart and infamous due to internet/youtube folklore. 

Each story is in a factual narrative, that's subjective when required, forensically analytical, gory, and possibly not one for the faint-hearted.

Online omniscient obsessions have undoubtedly changed the world we all live in. This book is a good start in the dark web series. 

Follow the author here

Learn more about the Dark Web series here 



We are www.vivalabooks.com 


History of a Drowning Boy by Dennis Nilsen, Mark Pettigrew (Contributor)


Publish date - 25th of February 2021

Published by - Red Door Press

Narcissistic, introverted, insular, & paranoid; all hallmarks of a psychopath and by his own admission, Dennis ‘Des’ Nilsen displayed all of these signs by his early teens. Like most serial killers, Des has himself marked down as anal intellectual, a psychopath so warped with self-indulgence that upon being sentenced to life for the murder of 12 innocent men and boys, the institutionalised serial killer decided to write about his life and ‘struggle’ on the inside. Co-written with longtime confidante Mark Pettigrew, this book offers a remarkably fascinating insight into how those killings are comprehended and understood by the killer, first hand, and in retrospect.

From a young age, Nilsen has a macabre fascination with death and warped sexual fantasies which may or may not relate directly or otherwise to several cases of sexual abuse admitted on Denis as a child and young man. In childhood, his relationship with this grandfather, sexual abuse by him (we only have the authors word) and his death, seems to have marked the young boy with an ingrained perversion of passive male bodies and necrophilia. It’s a warped juxtaposition and one that subsequently, is the reason we are reading this book. As a young man, Des seems to start life quite respectably, 11 years as an army cook ( he became a trained butcher), and even a year in the police force, before settling for life as a militant civil servant. What’s striking throughout this book is that Nilsen explains his necrophilia fantasies, incest, and psychopathic tendencies with such blatant ease. 

Scottish Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen (Image: UGC)

Little recognition (even in hindsight) of his heinous acts is quite astonishing considering that between 1978 and 1983 Nilsen murdered, mutilated, and dismembered 12 men picked up on London’s gay scene procured for his perverse sexual passions. Less ambiguous than Brian Masters ‘Killing for Company’, ‘History of a Drowning Boy’ is a curated collection of Nilsen’s autobiographical notes written whilst he was in prison and offers a frightening first-hand insight into the mind of the serial killer. Fresh off the back of ITV drama DES, this book is sure to fly off the shelves when published in February of 2020  

Dennis Nilsen died in prison in 2018 and often fought the law to have his autobiography published whilst still alive, his level of narcissism was unbounded. 

@rybazoxo 

www.vivalabooks.com 



Babes in the Wood: Two girls murdered. A guilty man walks free. Can the police get justice?


Author - Graham Bartlett, with Peter James

Publisher PAN MACMILLAN

Published- 20-02-2020


Justice delayed is always justice denied. 32 years though, is better late than never, in the case of child killer and paedophile, Russell Bishop


On the 9th October 1986, two young girls are found murdered in Wild Park, Moolsecoomb, a suburb of Brighton. A well-known working-class estate, the crime rocked the local area and remained unsolved for 32 years. Similar in execution to the Soham murders, the two young girls were best friends and their disappearance was out of character. PC Graham Bartlett was assigned to the case and this is the fascinating inside story of the subsequent investigation as the net tightens around local man Russell Bishop. The trial that follows is one of the most infamous in the history of Brighton policing – a shock result sees Bishop walk free. On the 4th February 1990 however, another young girl is attacked in the area, and due to the victim's incredible recall, Russell Bishop cannot escape a second time. Guilty and jailed, Brighton CID reopened the so-called ‘Babes in the Wood’ murders ( I despise tabloid murder monikers) and through sheer determination, DNA advancements, quashed convictions, and witness testimonies, Bishop was finally convicted of the heinous crime, 32 years later...


The book is an incredibly detailed account of the original and reopened investigations, police procedurals, a pragmatic fight from the victim’s families, and the dogged determination of a police force under fire. 


This is a highly commended True Crime book and a must-read for fans of UK crime history, police procedurals, and criminology. 


@rybazoxo 


ISBN 9781529025569

Categories - True Crime, Police, UK Crime, 1980's  


www.vivalabooks.com 



One of Your Own: The Life and Death of Myra Hindley by Carol Ann Lee

Author - Carol Ann Lee

Published - 14th of April 2011

On 15 November 2002, Myra Hindley died in prison, one of the few women in the UK whose crimes were so indefensible that a life jail term did mean an indefinite jail term. Without a doubt, Britain's most notorious, heinous and recognisable murderess, her death did nothing to diminish the dark shadow she cast across our collective consciousness and cultural criminal history. 

Even as a Christian name, Myra remains synonymous with the wuthering bleakness of Saddleworth Moors, Ian Brady, countless books, TV documentaries, and even the music of Manchester band, The Smiths. It's a strange cultural significance in UK crime and a case that got our writer interested in True Crime in the first place. 

This book by crime biographer Carol Ann Lee presents a well researched and vigorous study of Hindley from birth until her death. Medico psychology does little to explain her actions and her upbringing, although marked, was largely uneventful and more of her time, than anything else. So what explains her coercion in such crimes? 

Between 1963 and 1965 she actively participated with her boyfriend Ian Brady in the murders of a 10-year-old girl, two 12-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. As we all know, in such cases of serial murder, you can guarantee there will be more undiscovered, and the body of Keith Bennett has never been found.  

Myra peddled the line that she had been under duress and abuse before the offences, after and during them, and largely blamed coercion by Ian Brady for her part in the crimes. Its a ludicrous notion and the book helps to diminish such a myth. She was convinced that if she portrayed herself as Brady’s puppet she would eventually get paroled and even managed to cajole a team of supporters from the upper echelons of society to help her cause. Seldom seek repentance, she often relied on her religious upbringing to portray some sort of remorse. Religion is also synonamous with criminality;  a warped ideology does wonders for a murderers sub-conscience, after all.   

This book is an exhaustive and impressive account of the UK’s most evil woman. Being subjective in delivery, the book is also graphic and paints a perfect picture of this notorious 1960s crime. IF you’ve read ‘Beyond Belief’ and such like, you will know the forensic details of the crimes already, however, if you are unsure of Myra’s prison history, this is the book to read.

 

@rybazoxo

www.vivalabooks.com 




The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the killing of his family. The definitive investigation

Author CAROL ANN LEE

Published March 2020 by Sidgwick & Jackson (first published April 22nd 2014)

In the 1980s in middle-class rural middle England, Nevill and June Bamber were wealthy, landed gentry (almost) with farmland, farmhouses, property in central London and were cash-rich- often described as ‘The Archers’ (Link) of Essex. There are some things that money can’t buy though, and unable to have children, the couple adopted a daughter, Sheila, and a son, Jeremy. 

June Bamber was a religious zealot with mental health problems, Sheila was a wannabe glamour model with mental health problems, son Jeremy was a bight and intelligent ‘yuppie’ of his time, interested in cash only, and the trappings of inherited wealth. During the night of 6-7 August 1985, Nevill and June Bamber was shot and killed inside the farmhouse, alongside Sheila, and her six-year-old twin sons. There was no sign of a break-in, 25 expelled gun cartridges, and a ‘missing’ silencer. The police assumed that schizophrenic Sheila had committed murder/suicide, but this was only the beginning of the story. The prime suspect was son, Jeremy Bamber who was eventually charged with five murders and jailed for life in October of 1986. 

Although Jeremy Bamber still professes innocence, he remains in jail. 


I knew nothing of this case until ITV dramatised the crime in White House Farm which aired in the UK in 2020. Following the incredible TV dramatisation I thought the book would be the perfect companion piece, and wow was I correct! Carol Ann Lee’s book is the definitive crime biography on the case and rightly so. With an undoubtedly exhaustive investigation and equally thorough research, the story is well balanced, doesn’t push opinion and is a thoroughly enjoyable crime book. The case itself is horrendous, so I would tread very carefully if you are triggered easily, however. 

Even for a true crime fan, the murder of children is incredibly insidious. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this case watch ‘White House Farm’ on the ITV HUB

BUY THE BOOK

Also, Jeremy Bamber’s brother-in-law wrote his own personal account of the crimes, which I gather is also very good. You can BUY that BOOK here At The Rainbows End

In the interest of balance, you can find out more about Jeremy Bamber's case here

Facing The Yorkshire Ripper - by Mo Lea

On the 20th of October 1980 (a few days before her 21st Birthday) art student Mo Lea spends a night out with friends in Leed’s university student area. The air of a city under siege is clear to the local student population. A serial killer is on the loose and on the attack. In his fifth (and final) year, the Yorkshire Ripper's modus operandi has shifted from prostitutes to random young women and students in and around the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, in the heart of urban England. Even in this insidious atmosphere, Mo Lea takes the risk of taking a short dimly lit walk home. What follows is a life-threatening attack, a stoic and emotional recovery, yet one that causes reflection on what it means to be a survivor and how far you would have to go to recover from such a crime.  A gifted artist, Mo Lea plays on her strengths art itself is the leitmotif that runs throughout this true-crime biography. The creative process begins with exhibitions of dark imagery, and portfolios full of macabre drawings and paintings. The artistic and emotional torture is conveyed in excruciating detail. 

As the year’s progress, Mo Lea takes us on a journey through the United States, Leeds, Bedfordshire, and even a life-affirming meeting with a woman that changes the artist’s life, and sexuality, in one swift move. Like brush strokes on a blank canvas, Mo’s paints her prose well and delivers a harrowing yet engaging account. Although the book is a bit dry on the more titillating details of Sutcliffe’s crimes (maybe not one for all true crime fans) it is, however, an inspiring story of recovery, reinvention, and the ability to overcome. By the time the book concludes, those early macabre drawing of dark insidious creations are visually inspired seahorses, photography, and working with Victim Support charities. 

Mo also delves deep into her emotionally fraught and tiresome dealings with the gross incompetence of West Yorkshire Police and their notorious mismanagement of the Yorkshire Ripper case. 

For some, it would leave a sour taste but Mo’s story is one of positive recovery and enlightenment. 

@rybazoxo for Vivalabooks 

Facing The Yorkshire Ripper - The Art Of Survival by Mo Lea was published on 6th of October 2020 by Pen & Sword Books 

View Mo Lea's artwork here 

www.vivalabooks.com 



'She Must Have Known' The Trial Of Rosemary West by Brian Masters

She MUST have known, right? She being Rosemary West, resident of the notorious house of horrors, 25 Cronwell Street alongside her mass-murdering psychotic sex-obsessed husband, Fred West. He murdered (at least) 10 women and buried numerous bodies under the patio, basement, and even the bathroom of the family home. Implicit in his sexual depravity, that part is undoubted, but was Rosemary West also an assistant to the murders or was she completely oblivious? 

Upon the uncovering of the 1994 crime, Fred West almost immediately spilt his secrets and was subsequently charged with the multiple murders. Rose, however, had little evidence against her, circumstance, DNA nor otherwise but, following Fred’s suicide, Rose was in the firing line subsequently being jailed for life. 

Was Rose West a serial killer,  an unwitting accomplice under her husband’s duress, or did she know all along and choose to ignore it? 

Originally published in 1996, this true-crime biography by Brian Masters is a classic of the genre. The book dives deep into the case;  analysing the medico- psychology of this murderous duo, the legal parlance, and court evidence in painstaking and forensic detail. What unravels is a as dark and insidious as you can imagine, with Brian Master giving a first-hand account having attended the trial itself. A cacophony of questions raised, Master's gives a largely objective analysis, and in Rose West's favour, but is he right? 

In summing up, Judge Brian Leveson stated 'The evidence that Rosemary West knew nothing is wholly unworthy of belief' and having completed the book, I tend to agree. 

However, Brian Masters delivers a fascinating argument to say otherwise, that could cause ambivalence for less seasoned true crime readers or newbies to the case. 

It is a book we definitely recommend! 

@rybazoxo

www.vivalabooks.com