Friday 5 April 2013

Criiminal London - Kris and Nina Hollington

Criminal London, newly published by Aurum Press, is written by Kris and Nina Hollington and has an explanatory sub-title: A Sightseer's Guide to the Capital of Crime. It's a very attractively produced book (I've noticed before that Aurum produce some good-looking volumes) with a lavish selection of excellent illustrations. And it's just about compact enough to fit into a large pocket when roaming the capital in search of murderous sites.

It's a book to dip into, I think, rather than one to read from cover to cover, and I've enjoyed my dipping so far. The range of cases covered is eclectic and I've yet to spot any obvious omissions, although the reality is that no single book can ever be totally comprehensive. What matters is the blend between what is well known and what is obscure - always desirable, I think, to include some material that seems fresh and unfamiliar. This is a test that the book passes with flyinig colours.

Among the classic crimes of the past that are featured, we have the fascinating Fahmy case, which is linked to the Savoy Hotel, and the Left Luggage Office at Waterloo Station, associated with Patrick Mahon's bungalow murder, which also made headlines in the Twenties. The authors also highlight a range of places linked with more modern crimes and criminals, such as the Krays.

There is a Jack the Ripper trail and a long section about the London of Arthur Conan Doyle. More than enough, I'd say, for the most crime-hungry tourist. There is a great deal of useful information here, and much of it was previously unknown to me. All in all, I'd say the Hollingtons have done a very good job.

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