The Hunt for the 60s’ Ripper

TELEVISION has offered several superb true-crime documentaries and dramas recently.

Making a Murderer and The Keepers have been thought-provoking and absorbing. Meanwhile, dramas such as Code of a Killer and Rillington Place have sensitively explored crimes that seem inexplicable and shocking.

I have now made a contribution to the true-crime bookshelves with The Hunt for the 60s' Ripper. This is a reinvestigation into a shocking unsolved series of murders from the 1960s – and one that today is largely forgotten.

More victims than Jack the Ripper

The Nude Killings occurred in west London in 1964-65 and saw six prostitutes murdered and left naked in public places. The unknown culprit, indelicately called Jack the Stripper by the media at the time, claimed more victims than Jack the Ripper 77 years previously.

In addition, two other killings – in 1959 and 1963 – were tentatively linked to the tally.

The killing spree sparked the biggest police manhunt ever seen, with hundreds of officers scouring west London for the perpetrator, including WPCs disguised as prostitutes. 

Swinging London's dark secret

It is an extraordinary case, touching the Kray gang and the Profumo Scandal. London was Swinging – the Beatles were performing at the Hammersmith Odeon that year and the Who were making a name for themselves in clubs around the Goldhawk Road. Meanwhile, a calculating killer was stalking those same streets for vulnerable women in the sex trade.

Why was he never caught? Who might it have been? And why is this shocking case unknown to many people these days?

These questions are all explored in The Hunt for the 60s' Ripper, which is currently on discount – £3.85 – on Amazon and at Tesco.

Oh, and one or two TV producers have been prompted by the book to consider the case for a new series…

Michael Connelly book launch in Harrogate

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Michael Connelly’s new book is The Wrong Side of Goodbye

FANS OF thriller writer Michael Connelly and the Amazon Prime series based on his character Bosch may be interested in a special book launch the author is attending in Harrogate next month.

Presented by Harrogate International Festivals, an Evening with Michael Connelly is at 7.30pm on 18 October at the Crown Hotel. Attendees will be able to get his new book, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, on the day of its UK release. Connelly will be holding a book signing afterwards.

Gemma Rowland, Operations Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, which delivers the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, said: ‘Our crime writing festival is considered the best in the world. Michael Connelly routinely comes up as one of the most popular authors audiences want to see in Harrogate. It’s an honour that he has chosen Harrogate to appear on the date his book launches. The ticket price of £25 is also brilliant value. It includes a copy of the new hardback, which costs £19.99.’

Harry Bosch on Amazon Prime Instant Video

Connelly attended the Crime Writing Festival in 2005. He said: ‘Harrogate is a must. With beautiful locale, smart panels and superb author interaction, it’s one of the best festivals I’ve attended.’

The Florida-based author has sold over 60 million books. The multi-award winning novelist is known for his detective series featuring LA detective Harry Bosch. His novels routinely enter the number-one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. The first Bosch book, City of Bones, was released in 2002.

Connelly is also one of the writers/producers on the TV show, Bosch, streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

A former journalist, he was formerly a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He has written several stand-alone thrillers alongside his Bosch series, including the acclaimed legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club.

Book online www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or Box office: 01423 562 303

Post Mortem, Kate London – book excerpt

Kate London 1 credit Tim FlachTHERE IS a lot of crossover between crime TV and books – Vera, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Morse and many more started life on the page and transferred brilliantly to the screen. Because many of our followers enjoy both forms of entertainment, we’re taking a break from TV for a moment to offer this exclusive extract from an exciting new crime novel – Post Mortem by former police officer Kate London.

Kate graduated from Cambridge University and trained in theatre in Paris. In 2006 she joined the Metropolitan Police Service, first working in uniformed response and then moving to the CID. She qualified as a detective constable and went on attachment with the police nationale in France. Kate finished her career working as part of a Major Investigation Team on SC&01 – the Metropolitan Services’ Homicide Command. She resigned in August 2014 to write full time. Post Mortem is her first novel…

 

9781782396147

POST MORTEM 3

The ambulances and fire engines had gone and Collins had moved her car up into the outer cordon. She sat in the front seat working through the printouts of the linked dispatches that were the police records of the incident. Head down, she scribbled in her counsel’s notebook.

There was a tap on her car window. Detective Chief Inspector Baillie was leaning down looking at her. His thin, intelligent face was dusted with freckles, and above his pale blue eyes was a shock of flaxen hair. He smiled, pleased to have caught her off guard. She flicked open the door lock so that he could join her on the passenger side. As he crossed in front of the car, she saw how his dark pinstriped suit hung off his coat-hanger shoulders. He slid the seat back to its full extent and stretched his legs into the footwell.

‘Bit of a problem, Sarah. Don’t know whether you are aware? We’ve been looking at informing the families. Turns out that Younes Mehenni, the father of the dead teenager, is currently in police custody on remand to court tomorrow.’

Collins felt immediately wrong-footed: she should have known this. ‘I’m sorry, sir…’

[Read more…]

Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil

CareerOfEvil_230I DID A COUPLE of rather cryptic  #makemeadetective tweets last week and it’s time to clear up the mystery of what they were all about.
I’ve teamed up with the ingenious folks at Sphere to recruit some dazzling new detectives, to launch the latest addition to the Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) series: Career Of Evil, which is on shelves on the 20th October.
Some of the lucky people who participated in my challenge will be invited to the famous London escape rooms on the 21st October to participate in some Galbraith-themed challenges. Lucky them!

MP Wright on adapting Callan and Heartman for TV

Mark WrightCRIMETIMEPREVIEW talks to writer MP Wright, who turns 50 next month and has just had his first crime novel, Heartman, published to wide acclaim. Not only is it in the running for four CWA Awards, but the BBC and World Productions are adapting his evocative, dark story – about a Barbadian former police sergeant turned private detective in 1960s Bristol – into a series. 

The hero of Heartman is JT Ellington, who we meet in the book when he’s virtually down and out during a bitter 1960s winter. He is approached by a wealthy Jamaican businessman in Bristol to find a missing girl, and embarks on a perilous search that takes him into privileged circles, where sexual depravity rides hand in hand with corruption.

Having previously worked as a roadie for the likes of Duran Duran, as a private investigator and in the youth offending and probation services, Mark harboured dreams of becoming a writer for many years. Now, famine has turned to feast and he is in demand, writing more Heartman stories, working on a reboot of classic late-1960s series Callan and even talking to Channel 4 about adapting a story set during the Spanish Civil War.

He lives in Leicestershire with his partner, a school teacher, and their two children.


Can you tell us a bit about Heartman and JT Ellington?

I’ve never been into police procedurals. A lot of my crime-writer friends write them, but I’ve never been into them. But because I’ve worked in that field [probation, youth offending], procedurals always felt dull and unreal to me. I’m looking at my bookshelves now and I can see Ross Macdonald and Raymond Chandler, and I’ve always loved those kinds of writers. Jim Burke and Walter Mosley. I love stories about the downtrodden and downbeat. When you meet Ellington he’s a broken man, and when you leave him, he’s doubly broken, but there is hope. The hope comes from Vic [his cousin, a budding criminal but loyal friend].

You are working on your next Heartman book, All Through the Night. What happens in that?

I was desperate to use real events, so All Through the Night involves corrupt orphanages, which was actually happening in the Sixties in Bristol, and the sale of children to members of US Air Force in based in Somerset. The children were moved out to wealthy childless couples in the US.

I liked the idea of Ellington going on the run with a white child in 1960s Bristol. And the only to do that is all through the night. The TV company loved it. The opening is that Ellington is asked to find a Jamaican doctor who is also an illegal abortionist. He’s run off with a number of death certificates for children who’ve apparently died at orphanages. The certificates are false and the doctor knows this. He’s agreed to sign the certificates for children that have been sold. The doctor takes the next child that is to be shipped out. I take the story to places like the Cheddar Gorge, and TV dictated that we’d end the next book at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

[Read more…]

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