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Dark Valleys (Paperback)

Foul Deeds Among the South Wales Valleys 1845 - 2016

P&S History > Social History P&S History > True Crime World History > UK & Ireland > Wales

By Gary Dobbs
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 130
Illustrations: 40
ISBN: 9781473861787
Published: 4th October 2016


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Dark Valleys collects together more than a century of murders that took place in and around the valleys of South Wales. These horrific crimes shocked not only Wales, but also made national headlines. Although treated with compassion and sensitivity by the Welsh author and crime historian Gary M. Dobbs, these true stories are often gruesome and harrowing, with no details spared in chronicling what were truly terrible events. The reasons behind such violent crime are explored, and we see the changing attitudes of society to crimes fuelled by alcohol, poverty, passion or, increasingly so in modern times, drug abuse. The book also highlights the changing procedures of both the police and the courts in dealing with such crimes. It contains stories of hardship and incredible poverty, and of ordinary lives suddenly transformed by brutal and sickening violence.

Many of the killings contained within these pages remain unsolved, such as the 1862 Tyntyla Farm Murder and the 1993 execution style killings of Megan and Harry Tooze. The latter case remains one of South Wales’ most infamous unsolved murders.

Along the the way we look at the case of Rhoda Willis, the first woman to be hanged at Cardiff Prison, and many, many more gruesome but fascinating cases.

In all cases the author has painstakingly collected together every available piece of evidence to provide as clear a picture as possible. Gary Dobbs’ carefully researched, well-illustrated and enthralling text will appeal to anyone interested in the darker side of history.

This is a book which will interest not only those keen to learn more about the criminal past of the South Wales Valleys but anyone with an interest in true crime, historical criminal cases and just how much our world has changed over the last 160 years which is reflected in the criminals, crimes and police investigations that have taken place across this timeframe. A gentle but gripping walk through history, Dark Valleys takes you back in time before gradually bringing you forward and into present day ensuring at each step the cases you read are not ones you will easily forget.

Read the complete review here.

Crime Traveller

This experienced author has written a book that is easy to read, the chapters passing at a pace with a variety of dastardly acts over the generations.

Robert Bartlett

For aficionadoes of murder and darker crimes - this amazing book uncovers a hotbed of foul deeds in South Wales - well-researched and very well written.

Books Monthly, November 2016 – reviewed by Paul Norman

As featured in

True Crime Library, Bulletin No.394, November 10th, 2016

As featured in

True Crime Library Bulletin, November 3rd 2016
 Gary Dobbs

About Gary Dobbs

Welsh author Gary Dobbs is best known as a fiction writer. Using the pen name Jack Martin, he is responsible for a string of best-selling westerns as well as the popular crime series, Granny Smith. The latter published under his own name.

Cardiff and the Valleys in the Great War is his first major non-fiction work and he felt both humbled and proud to tackle the project. Hours of research were involved in compiling the stories presented within these pages, and alongside the grim statistics the author feels that there is a very human story that he was deeply privileged to tell.

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