Published by Urbane Publications Limited
Available in ebook and paperback : 21 June 2018
I’m thrilled to be starting off the blog tour for Corrupted together with Lacey ace Book Reviews and my thanks to Simon Michael for a very timely and topical guest post. Thank you to Kelly of Love Books Group and Urbane for my place on the tour.
The Background to ‘Corrupted’
by Simon Michael
You may recently have watched Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal on television, the account of Jeremy Thorpe MP’s sexual abuse of a much younger and innocent man, which he tried to cover up by having the victim murdered.
According to Wikipedia, following Jimmy Savile’s death, the Metropolitan police identified 589 alleged victims of his sexual abuse, 126 indecent acts and 34 rape/penetration offences. His abuse ranged from prepubescent boys and girls to adults. At the time it was known about and covered up.
Professor Jay’s Independent Enquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was recently told that Cyril Smith MP targeted boys in Rochdale institutions in the 1960s and 1970s and that the Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently lied to the press over the case.
These are just three examples of scores of well-known cases of abuse by the rich and powerful of their public positions that occurred in my lifetime. We pride ourselves in this country on our lack of corruption, the openness of our institutions and integrity of our press when uncovering impropriety. The truth is that the British Establishment is as corrupt as any other; we’ve just had the hypocrisy to pretend otherwise. Perhaps, at last, things are changing.
Corrupted is the latest in the Charles Holborne series of London 1960s thrillers. It concerns another, less known, but perhaps even more shocking Establishment cover-up, which indirectly led to several deaths and into which I have weaved the ultimate outsider, Charles Holborne. If you’ve met Charles in the previous books of the series, you’ll know he is a working-class boy with a criminal and violent past who pulls himself up by his boot straps to become a barrister, only to find himself surrounded by corruption in the form of his former associates, the Krays, the Richardsons and the other gang leaders intent on carving up London’s criminal proceeds, and the bent Metropolitan police. We’re not talking here about the odd rotten apple; the Met had barrels full of them, like the Sweeney and the Dirty Squad, many of whom were eventually and belatedly imprisoned as a result of Operation Countryman.
In 1965 Scotland Yard set up a new and supposedly incorruptible intelligence unit called C11 to investigate organised crime. They began surveillance on the Krays and Ronnie’s flat at Cedra Court, Walthamstow. They were astonished to find that the invitees to Ronnie’s very select gay sex parties included not only pretty young East End hoodlums but also prominent members of the Establishment including Lord Robert Boothby, Conservative grandee and formerly PPS to Winston Churchill and Tom Driberg MP, chairman of the Labour Party. When the Sunday Mirror published a world scoop on the sexual relationships they had uncovered, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner was forced by the Home Office to lie about the investigation, and the ruling Conservative government and the incoming Labour administration combined to ensure that the story was buried. Harold Wilson’s fixer was drafted in to attack the newspaper; “fixed” questions were asked in Parliament. Eventually the newspaper was obliged, fraudulently, to pay enormous libel damages to Boothby for printing a story that was essentially true. And the result? The Krays got off the hook and were virtually untouchable for several years, during which they committed numerous further crimes, including murder.
Into this true story I insert maverick barrister Charles Holborne and his client, an innocent plaything of the rich and powerful; an angelic and disturbed boy who’s to be sacrificed to hide the truth.
All the Holborne thrillers are based loosely on my family history and my own experiences at the Bar. They follow the stories of the 1960s and Holborne’s troubled relationships with his family, his profession and his past – a past which haunts him and keeps intruding into his present. But this is the first in the series to follow actual events that occurred over a shocking and disgraceful period in English public life. It’s probably the darkest of the thrillers to date and some of the events portrayed make chilling reading, but then it’s based on a true story and innocent lives were damaged and lost. I can’t and won’t pull any punches.
| About the Book |
Corrupted is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Lighterman.
Charles is building his reputation as a brilliant murder trial lawyer and living the good life with partner Sally. But he can’t escape the influences and dangers of the past, and finds himself drawn once more into the orbit of the notorious Kray twins.
It’s not long before Charles is courting scandal and threats to his very life when investigating a sex ring that involves not just the Krays and the Mafia, but goes to the very echelons of the country’s power.
Simon Michael brings the past back to life across a beautifully rendered swinging 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.
| Author Bio |
Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy. The 1960s was the “Wild West” of British justice, a time when the Krays, Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked on the big stories of the 1960s.