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Killers, Kidnappers, Gangsters and Grasses (Hardback)

On the Frontline with the Metropolitan Police

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > True Crime

By Dick Kirby
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 20 mono
ISBN: 9781399074322
Published: 4th October 2022


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In his latest thrilling book, much published crime author Dick Kirby draws on his fast moving policing service, much of which was with Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad. As if that was not enough he brings in accounts of fellow coppers during the final decades of the 20th century to add a fresh dimension.

It quickly becomes clear to the reader that Kirby and his colleagues practised their art in a markedly different style than that prevailing today. Corners were cut, regulations ignored and pettifogging rules trampled on in the wider public interest of bringing criminals to justice and preserving law and order. Above all the best senior detectives led fearlessly.

Kirby describes front line policing where the public came first and the criminals a poor second. There are great stories of arrests, ambushes, fights and meeting informants in unlikely places.

Eyebrows may be raised at the book’s contents but many will feel that there is no place in the fight against serious crime for ‘woke-ness’ and political correctness and regret the passing of no-nonsense law enforcement.

This was a totally different genre of book for me but I really enjoyed it!!
An excellent and exciting read. Candid, forthright and a fascinating insight into policing back in the day, written by a top detective who was at the sharp end. I will be looking out for similar and by the same author.

NetGalley, claire harrison

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I would wholly recommend to anyone as it’s not too heavy but really makes you more aware of the effort that goes into policing
Really very funny at times.

NetGalley, Hannah Chapman

Dick writes about his experiences whilst being part of the policing team. He starts off from his earlier days, and the introduction of the CPS.
As the book progresses, as a reader you can see how things have changed. It's definitely one of those you can leave on the coffee table and read as and when.
A fascinating read!

NetGalley, Kerry Foyle

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Incredibly well written and put together, I enjoyed it and found it was something I could keep coming back to.

Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Odette Lattimer-Gittins

An easy to read book in a relaxed but written in an informed manner.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Another excellent read by the master of real police crime writing, Dick Kirby.
The cases and characters are described with the author’s first hand knowledge and marvellous sense of humour bringing back to many the ‘golden age of policing.

Diedre Bonner

A fascinating and interesting book about true crimes and life in the MET. I enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book, well-written and well researched. My favourite topics all together. Recommended.

NetGalley, Wendy M Rhodes

It’s amazing how different policing is now compared to the recollections of Kirby. I must admit, I wasn’t prepared for this book to be quite so brutal after reading some other police officer titles but in a way I am glad it was. It added to the experience of being a metropolitan police officer in the ‘old’ force

NetGalley, Georgia Clayton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Killers,Kidnappers,Gangsters and Grasses is the latest True Crime book from one of my favourite authors of the genre Dick Kirby. Mr Kirby had a long and eventful career in the Police Force ,most notably in the infamous Flying Squad and the shadowy environment of "Troubles"era Northern Ireland.
The latest book from this prolific,and always entertaining, author is mostly a selection of anecdotes from his own service. Dick Kirby has no time for what he sees as the desk jockeys and careerists who now fill Senior Ranks or the touchy-feely policing of today with political correctness seeming more important than maintaining law and order. Anyone thinking Mr Kirby has mellowed with age will finish reading his prologue feeling slightly battered as he hammers his point home forcefully about the state of the Police today.

>From the pugnacious start Mr Kirby begins on a series of entertaining anecdotes from the days when criminals lived in fear of the Police, who often regarded the law as flexible if that flexibility would get the job done and believed in ,often literally, hands on policing.
If you remember the original "The Sweeney" TV series you'll read this and realize that there wasn't much artistic licence taken by the program makers, with Jack the Lad Coppers almost a law unto themselves dealing with dregs of London society and not afraid to hand out rough justice.

As always from Dick Kirby a very entertaining read that will make you think, not least reading about how the Police used to be out on the streets pro-actively harassing thugs and hooligans to leave them under no illusions about who was in charge in London, when the "human rights" of the majority trumped those who thought they could behave with impunity.

NetGalley, Dave Blendell

A fascinating glimpse into policing through the flying squad cases. How policing has changed over the years.

NetGalley, Helen Wilkinson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is part memoir and a bunch of True Crime. It is written by Dick Kirby who I must say is a great writer awesome storyteller and clearly a great cop. He covers stories that make the cops look good in those that make them look bad but all are interesting in a great book to read in an afternoon. If you like True Crime you will definitely like this book. The narrative isn’t ego driven at all he tells it like it is whether that be good or bad. The stories unlike other True Crime books flows like fiction and I can’t say enough about this book I love that it’s funny interesting and OMG so good! I cannot wait to read other books by the author who was a policeman in Scotland yard for many years and he tells his stories, his coworkers and those told him by criminals and all look great.

NetGalley, Janalyn Prude
 Dick Kirby

About Dick Kirby

Dick Kirby was born in the East End of London and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1967. Half of his twenty-six years’ service was spent with Scotland Yard’s Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad.
Kirby contributes to newspapers and magazines on a regular basis, as well as appearing on television and radio. The Guv’nors, The Sweeney, Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad, Brave Blue Line, Death on the Beat, Scourge of Soho, Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad, London’s Gangs at War, Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster, The Mayfair Mafia, Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, Racetrack Gangs, IRA Terror on Britain’s Streets, Scotland Yard’s Casebook of Serious Crime, The Brighton Police Scandal and Missing Presumed Murdered are all published under the Wharncliffe True Crime imprint and he has further other published works to his credit. On retirement he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Kirby can be visited at his website: www.dickkirby.com.

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Murders in any form, and the more gruesome the better, hold a morbid fascination to the British public but never more so than when the bodies of the victims are never found. Aside from the lack of closure for relatives and friends, this factor creates problems for police and prosecutors and has macabre appeal for the public. Muriel McKay, wife of a senior News of the World Executive was kidnapped in 1969. Although her body, believed to have been fed to pigs, was never found, the perpetrators were convicted. The same fate was suffered by the business partner of a Polish farmer. James Camb murdered…

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