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Jera's Jamboree

I’m an avid reader, loving nothing more than expanding my microcosmic world. I enjoy escaping into all sorts of worlds through reading and also love to challenge my opinions and thoughts.

Frenzy!: Heath, Haigh & Christie: The First Great Tabloid Murderers - Neil Root The three British serial killers were caught and executed after WWII (1946 – 1953) and although covered in the past, the book tells us that new material has been released. I had no previous knowledge of the three murderers Neville Heath, John George Haig, or John Christie so Frenzy! for me, was new information.

I found it thought provoking that ‘the chaos and savagery of war had desensitised people and in many ways cheapened human life.’ Another side of war I would imagine is not even thought about by many.

When you read or hear news like this I think it crosses your mind how the perpetrators can be so distanced and seemingly unaffected by what they’ve done. I’ve always thought there must be mental illness or a chemical imbalance. It was interesting to read the murderers had in common domineering fathers and were psychologically able to compartmentalise their lives. Not that there should be an excuse! But I do look for reasons.

I was intrigued by the premise ‘modern news coverage of murder finds its roots with these three men ……………..’ Certainly there are payments made from the press to help the murderers out when they’re on the run. The book highlights the power of the media (choosing what they published – knowing what the public wanted to increase sales) and the parts they played.

The murders did change laws on how the media covered such crimes and the killers were paid for their stories while they were in custody so their families benefited after they were executed.

Our judiciary system flaws were highlighted by the mistaken execution of Timothy Evans – what use a pardon after taking a life?

I was surprised to see one of Heath’s murders took place in Bournemouth where I live. I can just imagine the panic and fear of residents in 1946 at Branksome Chine! I feel I might just have a look through old newspapers in the library ……………..

Frenzy! is not a bland read. It is well-written in the third person. The biographies read like stories and it is interesting to read about the investigations. In places the author crosses over stories (ie; while this is happening here, over there in London at the same time).

I think this book will appeal to people who are not only interesting in criminal or reporting/newspaper history but also to those interested in family history/places where there families lived.

The introduction asks (based on the level of detail reported in newspapers) ‘Just how did we get to this incredible level and detail of murder coverage?’ and my response is …………….. to fulfil the needs of what the public wants!

I would like to thank the publisher Preface Publishing for providing me with a copy to review.