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July 21 , 2009

A Mix of Murders

Fifteen Historic English Cases from the Twentieth Century


A Mix of Murders forms Grahame Farrell's exciting debut within the true-crime genre, and treats the reader to fifteen in-depth accounts of 20th Century murders. Researched meticulously, and possessing a clear, eloquent style, this book explores cases such as that of William Bisset, an older, well-to-do gentleman, who was given to exhibiting his wealth somewhat brashly. His murder appeared simply to be a fatal mugging, yet ever-growing factual contradictions threw the prime suspect's guilt into ever greater doubt, to the point of strengthening his defence.
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In the intricate case of Paul Vickers, we learn of a driven and accomplished medic, with aspirations to high political-status, and a predilection for vulnerable women. Married unhappily to a once-promising but handicapped mathematician, the doctor took numerous lovers, meeting his demise in the form of the attractive and worldly Pamela Collison. She informed the police of complicity with Vickers, and thus we discover a near-perfect murder-weapon along with counsels' imaginative and polarising arguments during Vickers's trial. Was Vickers the 'new Dr. Crippen', as Collison asserted? Farrell delivers the uneasy sense that facts and outcome were never wholly matched; read it and form your own view.

In notable contrast, we find that Michael Queripel's conviction hinged on a single and rather unusual piece of evidence, and that his murder trial was one of the very shortest in legal history - just how short is surprising - and it is through such accounts that the broad spectrum this book presents becomes apparent. Scrutinising hitherto unexplored cases, Farrell gives accounts of murder driven by poverty, disaffection, social pressures and vaunting ambition. Comparing and contrasting those all-too-human forces that motivate people to kill, this volume forms a fine addition to the library of any fan of true crime.

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A review from

A Mix of Murders is an e-book released for Kindle [in May 2012] that features British murder cases from the twentieth century, from the early years of the century to the 1980s.

Author and librarian Grahame Farrell covers a really interesting mix (as the title suggests) of 15 crimes. The latest crime in the book is a chapter on Kenneth Erskine, known as 'The Stockwell Strangler' who murdered elderly people in South London in the 1980s. This is a particularly disturbing chapter as Erskine was simply so brutal and dangerous. His victims so vulnerable.

Another intriguing case is the 1955 murder of Elizabeth Currell in the quaint and respectable commuter village of Potter's Bar, South Hertfordshire. Mrs Currell was on her regular evening stroll on the local golf course when she was brutally attacked and murdered.

I enjoyed this book because the murder cases are ones that are lesser known and have a touch of 'Midsomer Murder' to them. The book is Farrell's true crime debut and it's definitely worth a read.

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A review from

...Fascinating studies of human behaviour. Each story is well written and detailed, and progresses logically through the crime, arrest, trial to the final outcome. It was a book I enjoyed reading.
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