Martin Fido




book review


Martin Fido

MARTIN FIDO lives in the same Stoke Newington tower block that housed the Krays in the '60s. Perhaps this started the idea for the book. It features thorough indexing (names and locations) and easy to follow maps pinpointing sites of famous and less famous (often more interesting because of their prior lack of publicity) toppings.

The curious, armed with this and an A-Z, can now comb the city impressing foreign visitors with observations such as: "Haigh dissolved one here ... Christie hid one there ... Ruth Ellis snuffed her beau on this spot. . . 'Jack The Ripper' lurked in this area", before rounding off a memorable day in one of London's finer cemeteries.

Yet it's also a book about changing London. From 17th-century lethal 'buttock and twang' partnerships in Clerkenwell Fields and the maid hanged in 1815 for serving suspicious dumplings, to organised crime and the most recent terrorist hits, Fido charts the shifting history and social make-up of the metropolis which lifts the whole exercise beyond the bounds of the morbid.

Reading it is compulsive and a pleasure and an insight into the city which may not have the most murders in the world but does have some of the most interesting.


mick sinclair

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