The Mayfair Mafia (Paperback)
The Lives and Crimes of the Messina Brothers
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It is a little known fact that one immigrant Italian family ran London’s thriving vice trade unchecked from the mid-1930s for some twenty years.
The five Messina brothers imported prostitutes from the Continent on an industrial scale, acquiring the women British citizenship by phoney marriages. Demanding 80% of earnings, the Messina became fabulously wealthy, purchasing expensive properties, cars and influence.
As this revealing and absorbing account describes, the brothers ruled with a ruthless combination of charm, blackmail and all too credible threats of disfigurement and death.
It took a sensational Sunday newspaper exposé to get the authorities to act. A series of dramatic arrests and trials followed and one by one the brothers were imprisoned and deported for crimes including immoral earnings, attempted bribery and firearms offences.
Such was their fortune that numerous potential beneficiaries came forward, most recently in 2012.
The author, a much published former Metropolitan police officer, has researched the remarkable criminal careers of the five Messina’s and the result is a riveting and shocking read.
A detailed and inherently fascinating account of the rise and fall of an organized crime family, "The Mayfair Mafia: The Lives and Crimes of the Messina Brothers" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Criminology collections and supplemental studies lists.Midwest Book Review
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Dick Kirby researches extensively and has an ability to draw together a narrative from a number of sources making a seamless tale usually of death and destruction within a long lost London and police force.Robert Bartlett
So if you’re a seasoned true crime reader, or just someone browsing Amazon for a good read, you will surely enjoy The Mayfair Mafia, for it is one of those little gems that you will not be able to put down.Amazon Customer
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It is only through meticulous research in various archives and interviewing people that an author like Dick Kirby can complete a truly magnificent book.Britain’s Gangland Magazine
Dick Kirby has further enhanced his reputation with this book … (he) relies on the court and official records as well as the personal memories from retired police officers that give Dick Kirby’s books such an extra dimension of authenticity.Alan Moss, author of The Victorian Detective
Dick Kirby has further enhanced his reputation with this book about the Messina brothers and how they came to organise prostitution in London on an industrial scale. It tells a salutary tale of how weak laws and poor enforcement enabled the Messinas to import young women to London, push them into false marriages to secure their residence in Britain, and force them into the prostitution that created an enormously lucrative income during and after WW2.Alan Moss
One of the heroes was the newspaper reporter Duncan Webb who did much to expose the Messina's vice empire; another was a female detective Margaret Heald. Throughout the book the author relies on the court and official records as well as the personal memories from retired police officers that give Dick Kirby's books such an extra dimension of authenticity.
It is a reflection of how street prostitution was not really officially recognised as a serious problem, but was nevertheless a driving force for organised crime; the weakened state of policing and politics after WW2 where those in authority did not grasp the problem until it was publicised by 'The People'; and how the vacuum left by the Messinas was filled by other characters who caused immense problems in the West End for many years afterwards.
There was a White Slavery Branch at Scotland Yard in the late nineteenth century, so the problem was not new; the lure of 'easy money' still runs strong. The lessons for today's police service in Rotherham and elsewhere are very relevant in that we need firm leadership and dedicated, diligent, fearless investigators to uphold, regardless of culture, vice and other laws that do not in themselves create records of reported crimes, but nevertheless exploit and ruin the lives of vulnerable girls and women.