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Scotland Yard's Murder Squad (Hardback)

British History True Crime London P&S History

By Dick Kirby
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 264
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526765338
Published: 29th June 2020


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In 1906 the Metropolitan Police Commissioner was asked by the Home Office to make available skilled investigators for murder enquiries nationwide as few constabularies had sufficiently skilled – or indeed, any - detectives.

Thus was born the Reserve Squad, or Murder Squad, as it later became known. Despite a reluctance by some forces to call upon The Met, the Murder Squad has proved its effectiveness on countless occasions with its remit extended to British territories overseas. A particularly sensitive case was the murder of a local superintendent on St Kitts and Nevis.

A former Scotland Yard detective, the Author uses his contacts and experiences to get the inside track on a gruesome collection of infamous cases. Child murderers, a Peer’s butler, a King’s housekeeper, gangsters, jealous spouses and the notorious mass murderer Dr Bodkin Adams compete for space in this spine-chilling and gripping book which is testament to the Murder Squad’s skills and ingenuity - and the evil of the perpetrators.

Brimming with gruesome killings, this highly readable book proves that there is no substitute for old fashioned footwork and instinct.

We owe an enormous debt to these officers who all stood up to the test of carrying through traumatic and high profile investigations relying on their own personal judgement and decision-making, sometimes without the unqualified support they needed. Dick Kirby has done a great service in creating this record of some of the achievements of this squad. Within the pages are some important lessons for upholding the law that should never be forgotten.

Read the full review here

Alan Moss

Princess Fuzzypants here: This is a quick read and a fascinating one. It tells a number of stories from the Yard’s Murder Squad from it’s very beginnings when detective work was less than a science. The stories are all fascinating and I liked how the author told the tales in great detail, much like the officers did in their investigations. I liked as well it told of successes and of failures. Even when the detective painstakingly put together a case in excruciating detail, something or someone could throw a monkey wrench into it and the killer was set free. It is frustrating to read the stories so one can only imagine how it must have felt to the men who worked so hard on the case.
Obviously the stories that were either set in London or the UK were fascinating but I also found the ones where for one reason or another Scotland Yard got involved because British Justice took precedence. The ones who went abroad certainly led far more colourful careers than the ones who stayed at home. And they too had lots of colour.
If you, like me, are a fan of true crime and like self contained units, you will enjoy this book. Four purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

I enjoyed reading this book and found the history behind the old cases fascinating.

NetGalley, Rebecca Sumner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely ONE OF THE BEST books that I have read this year! I absolutely loved the detail that went into each of the cases, as well as the development of the police officers who formed the murder squad. Scotland Yard helped to mold the development of how cases, evidence, and many other facets of each investigation would proceed in the future. While some of the tactics used by officers would raise eyebrows today, it was the norm at the time.

Each of the cases was laid out so that even those who are not familiar with the criminal justice system could follow the information that was presented here. I did not want this book to end! I found it fabulous and interesting. There were a few cases that shocked me to my core, but the justice that was meted out was somewhat of a consolation.

Grab this book now - its perfect for summer reading (okay, any time of year reading).

NetGalley, Rebecca Hill

As a true-crime writer myself specialising in Victorian crime. I found this book informative and interesting. This book includes highlights of some notable cases solved by the murder squad. Recommended.

NetGalley, Wendy M Rhodes

Are you a true crime lover. Then here is a book for you to read. A variety of various cases that have been investigated my Scotland Yard.

NetGalley, Cennin Thomas

This book covers many interesting cases from Scotland Yard's Murder Squad. It is fascinating to read how these cases, starting in the early 1900's, were investigated & solved. It is extensively researched.

NetGalley, Nicola Stevenson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There are, of course, more serious crimes committed in this country than most people can ever imagine. Books like this give an insight into some of them and how, over the decades, the investigative process has changed.

Written with the benefit of hindsight some of the more dubious practices are given short shrift and the successes are highlighted. The reputation of Scotland Yard's Murder Squad preceded it and the book includes cases not only from the Uk but also from across the world where it was only regional differences which changed the way the detective teams operated.

I enjoy reading about true crime and enjoyed this very much. It was written in a concise, informative manner by an author who clearly knows and understands his subject matter. While books which concentrate on only one case can obviously show a great deal of detail I didn't feel the stories here lacked any of the important facts or atmosphere of the time due to the number included. The tools at the disposal of the detectives in the earliest of these cases were basic to say the least but there was never any doubt the detectives would do their best to get the job done.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about the history of murder deduction.

NetGalley, Tracy Wood

This is an interesting read and I recommend it to true crime aficionados, especially those who enjoy police procedural and forensics topics.

NetGalley, Elvina Ulrich

Kirby - through his vast experience and network of contacts from his Flying Squad days - is able to present an eclectic range of cases from the annals of Scotland Yard. After presenting us with a brief history, representing a nostalgic view of bygone times, we are launched into our first case, taking place at the turn of the 20th century. As with many of the earlier cases, forensics was in its infancy, and detectives were still expected to put in the hard slog and discover or reveal the evidence for themselves. Fingerprinting was in use as was the traditional "line up", but it was the sharp-eye witness and the sifting through the circumstantial evidence that aided in a conviction. Only one case presented featured the "court room confession" and a number of cases are still unsolved; and not all our suspects paid the ultimate price. We meet along the way a mixed bag of detectives - a "suspicion" of detectives if you like - and I enjoyed the "what happened to ..." at the end.

For those interested in true crime and / or police methods, this will prove an enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Melisende d'Outremer

This book is filled with fascinating short stories of the Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad from back in the day, when the tools at hand for investigators were few, mostly just the new fingerprinting and smarts. The cases held my interest and were varied, with different investigators handling them. This was at a time when many murderers could find themselves with hanging as a punishment if found guilty! So follow back in time and read about these cases and see how serious investigations were done back then, if they were lucky enough to still have evidence available by the time they were notified and then had time to get to the scene. Recommended for true crime lovers.

NetGalley, Valerie Shampine

I first heard of Scotland Yard from Sherlock Holmes stories. This is a book of short stories of interesting cases that Scotland Yard, specifically its Murder Squad, have dealt with through its history. For example, we hear about the first time fingerprint evidence is used in court. We also read about various investigative techniques used through the years. It's also informative, like finding out that Scotland Yard have helped investigate crimes abroad, mostly in Commonwealth countries. I thought they're confined to just Britain. Reading this book is like having a retired cop uncle tell you stories of the olden days. Overall, an interesting read for those with an interest in police history.

NetGalley, Wendy C

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Scotland Yard's Murder Squad is the latest book True Crime author Dick Kirby, who saved as a Policeman in a variety of elite units.

The book is a collection of stories,each featuring a notable case solved by the Murder Squad, these stories range from the early days of early days of squad up the 1990's and included cases involving child murderers to gangster's with locations from London to the crime ridden Islands of St.Kitts and Nevis islands.

The book also gives the reader an interesting insight into how the police used their instincts to get their man before the development and use of forensic evidence/ technology.

The author writes is an easy flowing manner making it a enjoyable read.

NetGalley, S Ballinger

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is incredibly well researched and has some super fun. Everything you need for an armchair adventure. I really enjoyed all the stories in here and the writing is really lovely.

A true crime and history lover's DREAM

NetGalley, Caitlin Stamper

In 1906 the Metropolitan Police Commissioner was asked by the Home Office to make available skilled investigators for murder enquiries nationwide. This was firstly called the reserve Squad and they later became known as the Murder Squad.

There is a lot of infamous cases included in this book. It ranges from child murderers to gangsters with everything inbetween. I love true crime and the investigation into it so I was pleased when I saw this book up for request. This is an interesting insight into how the police used their instincts to get their man as they didn't have the forensic evidence technology they have today.

NetGalley, Louise Wilson

This title piqued my interest as a lover of both true crime and history. I found the early history of the flying squad the most fascinating, particularly the early forensic developments. Equally fascinating is the description of people’s day to day lives. The writing style is fast paced and hard hitting.

NetGalley, Rachel Dixon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Scotland Yard's Murder Squad is the latest book from my favourite True Crime author Dick Kirby. Kirby had a very distinguished career as a Policeman in a variety of elite units and his first-hand experience of many of the events and people he writes about give his books the benefit of being fact rather than the semi-fiction peddled by a couple of well-known "True Crime "writers , you know who you are Gents.
The book is a collection of episodes,each featuring a notable case solved by the Murder Squad, even if in some cases the Courts didn't see it that way, in fact the failure of our legal system at times to convict very obviously guilty people is disturbingly apparent throughout the book.
The stories range from the early days of the first Detectives until the 1990's with locations from London to the crime ridden St Kitts and Nevis islands , which has been turned into a virtual war-zone as a hub for drug dealing and double dealing..
As always with Kirby's books the tales are full of "characters" on both sides of the law, old lags who were back into a life of crime almost within hours of ending their latest sentence and Policemen who rolled up their sleeves and took on violent criminals toe to toe. The latter,as Kirby says,wouldn't be welcome in today's Police force,neither would my Great Grandfather who as a Constable in London's Dockland early last century told my Dad,as a boy,that he'd dealt with more criminals in alleyways than via the courts!
I really enjoyed this book, up to Mr Kirby's usual high standard, and as soon as I'd finished it I ordered 2 of his early books online..

NetGalley, Dave Blendell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I Enjoyed everything about this book there was nothing I didn't like about the book. I like the setting,the writing style,the plot,the plot twists and the characters in the book were amazing.I would gladly reread it again.

NetGalley, Nicole Bannister

The book is really detailed and had me intrigued from the beginning, the book is well written and uses language that is easy for any reader to understand.

NetGalley, Natalie Drury
 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, The Brave Blue Line, Death on the Beat, Scotland Yard’s Gangbuster, Scourge of Soho, London’s Gangs at War, The Mayfair Mafia and Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad are all published under the Pen & Sword True Crime imprint and he has further other published works to his credit. In retirement he lives near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Kirby can be visited at his website: www.dickkirby.com.

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