Saturday, 19 June 2010

Book #41


Blood on the Streets: A-Z of Glasgow Crime by Robert Jeffrey


For more than a hundred years, Glasgow has been right up there in the major league of big-city crime. From Madelaine Smith and Oscar Slater, by way of the Bridgeton Billy Boys and the Norman Conks, through to modern villains like Paul Ferris and Tam McGraw, Glasgow's streets have spawned a succession of fascinating tales of true crime. Films, plays and books have long chronicled the evil-doings of experts in crime, such as Walter Norval and Arthur Thompson, and the hard men who never flinched at doing their bidding. Notorious gangs, like the Penny Mob, the Cheeky Forty and the Cumbie, have also had their stories told in print and on celuloid. Even in the twenty-first century, as the new Glasgow polishes a growing reputation for sophistication and culture, blood still gets spilled on the streets and scams of one kind or another are always in the pipeline. The A-Z of Glasgow Crime is a compelling journey through an extensive history of crime and crime-fighting in a city where the illicit is never far away. From the tough streets of the east-end to the leafy avenues of the west-end; from murder behind velvet curtains in the douce homes of the wealthy to the violent and bloody street battles on postwar housing estates - all this and more is covered in gripping detail in Jeffrey's definitive true-crime guide to a city with a notoriously violent history.


I don't read a lot of non-fiction. Maybe I should read more, I'm not sure. Maybe if I were more accustomed to reading non-fiction I'd have enjoyed this a bit more. Again, I'm not sure, but the fact remains that I didn't really enjoy it at all.

It started off okay, I was quite excited to read about Glasgow crime, but I lost interest pretty quickly.

I think this was mainly due to the structure of the book. It was set out using subtitles of alphabetical order, which was all very well and good, but since a lot of the stories involved were interlinked, it meant that certain people or events were mentioned before I had come to their section of the book. It also led to an abundance of repetitions, which was incredibly frustrating. I found myself quite confused with the chronology of events, thinking that one thing had happened before another, and being mistaken. I think the book would have worked better if it had been written in more of a chronological order, a timeline of Glasgow crime, rather than an A-Z.

There were also a number of spelling and grammar mistakes that were peppered quite frequently throughout. These were, however small, met with a huge sigh on my part, and ruined the flow of the writing for me.

However, most aspects of the book were interesting and enlightening and I feel that I've come away from the book knowing a lot more about Glasgow and its dark corners than I previously did.


41 / 66 books. 62% done!

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