Archive for the a policeman’s lot Category

A steaming cesspit of murder and perversion

Posted in gary dobbs, james herbert, slasher, a policeman's lot, the rhondda ripper on 05/29/2012 by vincentstark

THE SETTING:

Jack the Ripper’s rein of terror lasted for a ten week period in 1888 – London was then the world’s largest city –  the hub of an ever expanding empire. The city was in effect the financial capital of the world and it had enjoyed a long period of financial growth. Things were however starting to change and London was facing competition from America and Germany and a trade slump saw unemployment take a dramatic leap, which resulted in London’s already packed slum areas swelling to bursting point.

It was into this mixing pot that was London’s Whitechapel, that the killer known to history as Jack the Ripper practiced his or her deadly trade, and by proving that he/she could evade capture from the police and authorities only consolidated the general image of the East End as a hotbed of murder and perversion. One report, published in 1888, estimated that out of a population of 456,877 souls more than 60,000 were living on the brink of starvation. Whitechapel at the time was ready to explode – there were racial problems with the high influx of Jewish immigrants coming to the city after escaping persecution in Germany, Russia and Poland – Whitechapel’s Jewish population at this time was estimated as being around 50,000, and as the spectra of mass unemployment threatened the Jews found themselves vilified for stealing British jobs. Indeed when the Ripper killings started the press hinted that an Englishman could not do such a thing and the person responsible had to have come from the vast immigrant population.

 

THE KILLING BEGIN:

 

The Ripper killings took place over an area that was made up of little more than a square mile. The victims were all prostitutes and we can’t even be clear of how many killings the Ripper was responsible for. The so called canonical five victims come from a report made by Sir Melville Macnaghten who stated in a report in 1894 that he believed Jack the Ripper had killed five and only five women – these are Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly. There are many who dispute this and it is my own feeling that the same hand was not responsible for all of the woman in the so called canonical five.

A lady named Martha Tabran was murdered on 7th August 1888 and many believe, myself included, that she was the first Ripper victim. However in my opinion the double murder of 29th of September 1888 were carried out by two different hands, and not by the Ripper which popular wisdom suggests. I also don’t believe that Mary Kelly was a Ripper victim but I do believe the key to the murders rests with her. Indeed it is the mystery surrounding Mary Kelly that drives the central premise in my current novel, The Rhondda Ripper.

Was Mary Kelly a Ripper victim?

Was it Mary Kelly who was found dead, mutilated beyond identification, in her bed?

These questions can not be answered with any certainty, but logic would suggest that the chance of there being only  five victims is quite wrong, and that the double event of 29th September could not have been carried out by the same person. In order to stick with the canonical five we would have to believe that the killer was disturbed just after killing Elizabeth Stride and then in the middle of the biggest manhunt London, indeed the world, had ever known he runs less than a mile away and takes time to kill and mutilate Catherine Eddowes. Hardly seems likely and the known facts are,  like the legend, buried in myth and fancy. The fog lit image above of the man in the top hat and cape has become the popular image of Jack the Ripper, and at the time it was a person such as this whom the police were concentrating on – it is no wonder they never found him, since the likelihood is that he didn’t even exist.

 

JACK THE RIPPER – THE SOCIAL REFORMER:

Ironically some good did come out of the Whitechapel killings and that was in giving publicity to the campaigners who said something needed to change for the working classes in the East End. The killings generated so much publicity that The Lancet, the world famous medical journal, reported – modern society is more promptly awakened to a sense of duty by the knife of a killer than by many thousands of words from earnest writers.

Many social commentators claimed that Jack the Ripper was a product spawned by the dreadful conditions that men, women and children found themselves and was therefore the fault of society itself. None less a personage than George Bernard Shaw wrote to the Times Newspaper, stating the the fiend of Whitechapel had at least drawn attention to the dreadful conditions. He went onto theorize that the killings, although abhorrent, would do more for the areas affected than any of socialist movements could ever hope. And although Shaw was being ironic by congratulating the killer as a social reformer it was true that following the killings a massive program of redevelopment started in the East End.

THE WRITING WAS ON THE WALL:

 

At 2.55 am on 30th September P.C. Albert Long found the missing portion of Catherine Eddowes’, whose body had been found earlier,  apron in a doorway on Goulston Street. A further investigation found a message scrawled in chalk upon the wall – THE JUWES ARE THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING.

There was a large Jewish community and fearing race riots the police wiped the writing from the wall. This was done on the orders of Sir Charles Warren. It was a highly controversial decision but Warren always defended what he had done and claimed that far greater crimes would have been carried out against innocent Jews had it been left for further examination.

The facts are that After the murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes , police searched the area near the crime scenes in an effort to locate a suspect, witnesses or evidence. As reported above it was Constable Alfred Long of the Metropolitan Police Service who discovered a dirty, bloodstained piece of an apron in the stairwell of a tenement, 108 to 119 Model dwellings, Goulston Street The cloth was later confirmed as being a part of the apron worn by Catherine Eddowes. Above it, there was writing in white chalk upon the wall.

THE SUSPECTS:

Suspects were legion – many were considered suspects totally due to general speculation, others because of descriptions, locations or occupations. One popular theory named Queen Victoria’s grandson who was known as Eddy and was known to have consorted with prostitutes. It was alleged that the Royal physician William Gull performed the murders in order to hide the fact that the prince had fathered a child with one of the victims, supposedly Mary Kelly. Another theory was that the prince carried out the killings himself because of brain damage caused by contracting syphilis of the brain.

Over the years there have been many suspects ranging from the plausible, George Chapman to the ludicrous, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

WHY THE RIPPER WAS NEVER CAUGHT:

 

The Victorian police have been the subject of much criticism by the media over the years, and some of it is likely deserved. But it must be remembered the criminal science was in its infancy at the time of the Ripper killings. Fingerprinting was not even an established practice and the locations where the killings took place were connected by an intricate warren of alleys and passageways, all of them unlit.

The Ripper is widely considered the world’s first serial killer, and given that the area of operation was one of the most densely populated, not to mention transient, areas in the entire city then it is little wonder that he/she was able to evade the police.

AND NOW THE ANSWER:

 

Police Inspector Frank Parade carries out his daily duties in Pontypridd, duties complicated by the presence of 500 members of Buffalo Bill Cody’s touring Wild West Show, not to mention the thousands attending the show every day. A series of depraved murders quickly makes things even more complicated for the policeman.

Soon Frank Parade find himself on the trail which stretches backs to London’s Whitechapel killings and Jack the Ripper. Secrets are revealed and the answer to the greatest mystery in criminal history is answered by a British policeman and an American legend.

Click HERE

Reviews:

It’s difficult to say too much in this review without giving away some major points that would ruin this well crafted story. It’s set in South Wales in 1904 and features a visit by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Circus – apparantly this actually took place. And concerns itself with a series of killings that ultimately reveal Jack the Ripper in an original and plausible way. Amazon readers review

Gary Dobbs partners up Parade and Buffalo Bill making for an enjoyable detecting duo. He does a fine job of bringing the famous Wild West showman to life and his descriptions of Pontypridd, the era, and people sparkle. I’m hoping Mr. Dobbs doesn’t leave Frank Parade on the sidelines too long because I’m betting there are more adventures in him. Or, maybe Bill Cody — there’s an idea worth exploring — Buffalo Bill as a world-traveling crime-solver. The Education of a Pulp Writer

Gary Dobbs (AKA Jack Martin) continues his string of fast paced books with “The Rhondda Ripper” Not a western per se, as are his Jack Martin books, “The Rhondda Ripper” still has some of that western sensibility and it even features Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show on a visit to England, Wales in particular.

The story takes place a number of years after the Whitechapel murders but ties back to those murders in a most interesting way. I won’t give more away because the twist at the end is original and took me well by surprise. Yet, it made perfect sense within the storyline of the book. Mack Captures Crime

One word: Wow. This is a good book.

The story begins slowly, a man’s morning routine as he gets ready for duty and faces the possibility of a busy day, but he has no idea how “busy” it’s going to get! Throw in Buffalo Bill, a Wild West show, murders that may or may not be connected to Jack The Ripper, and you have a really hot read. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving something away, but it’s a well-written yarn and you will get hooked right away. It’s also, for me, a nice change of pace from the modern urban hard-boiled junk I’ve been digesting lately. Brian Drake 

 

 

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Is the identity of the world’s first serial killer buried in secret Scotland Yard files?

Posted in gary dobbs, a policeman's lot, the rhondda ripper on 05/22/2012 by vincentstark

Scotland Yard are currently fighting a bizarre court case in order to keep a selection of old files, relating to the Jack the Ripper case a secret. There is much speculation as to why the authorities in 2012 would want the files to remain a secret, leading many to believe that the files contain the answer and that it was all hushed up  at the time of the murders in order to avert a scandal.

The Met Police is fighting the legal battle to keep files detailing the investigation into the notorious Jack the Ripper case secret because and in their words, ‘To maintain confidentiality for Victorian ‘supergrasses’. The documents are said to include four new suspects for the serial killings which terrorized Whitechapel in 1888 and have become one of the world’s most infamous unsolved cases.

The historic ledgers have 36,000 entries detailing police interaction with informants between 1888 to 1912.

However, Scotland Yard reportedly believes disclosing the names could hinder recruiting and gathering information from modern informants, affecting terrorism investigations – and even lead to the Victorians’ relatives being attacked.

Trevor Marriott, a Ripper investigator and former murder squad detective, has spent three years attempting to obtain uncensored versions of the documents.The ledgers provide details of the police’s dealings with thousands of informants from 1888 to 1912, including some who provided information during the original Ripper investigation.

A sample of about 40 pages from the Scotland Yard ledgers was released to last week’s tribunal, but with the names of informants and other key details blacked out.

According to Mr Marriott, the files contain the names of at least four new suspects, as well as other pieces of evidence.He said: “I believe this to be the very last chance that we may have to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

“To have any possibility of getting near the truth about those horrific crimes we must see what these ledgers contain.“It may be that within them we find the final piece of the jigsaw that would unlock this mystery and lead to the identity of the killer, or killers, albeit 123 years too late.”

Jack the Ripper slaughtered at least five women between August and November 1888 in the slums of Whitechapel, east London, but various experts have claimed other murders may have been committed by the killer on earlier and later dates.

The police made several mistakes in the inquiry and detection techniques of the time were basic – with no fingerprinting and science unable even to distinguish between animal and human blood.
As a result, there is no conclusive evidence to point to the true identity of Jack the Ripper and the case remains one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries. Among a long list of possible suspects are Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of Clarence, who died in an asylum in 1892, and the painter Walter Sickert.

Mr Marriott, who joined Bedfordshire Police in 1970 and worked as a detective constable until the mid-1980s, began researching the Jack the Ripper case in 2003. He has previously published one book on the subject which put forward the name of Carl Feigenbaum, a German merchant executed for the murder of a woman in New York, as a new suspect.

On uncovering references to the ledgers in 2008, Mr Marriott applied to see the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The Met refused and he appealed to the Information Commissioner who also decided the books should not be revealed.Now Mr Marriott has undergone the final appeal stage to the Information Tribunal, in which the case is heard by a panel of three judges.

The three-day hearing involved a detective inspector, identified only as ‘D’, speaking to the court from behind a screen because of his sensitive role running the force’s intelligence-gathering operation from informants.Detective Inspector ‘D’ told the tribunal that unveiling the files could deter informants from coming forward in future, and could even put off members of the public from phoning Crimestoppers or the anti-terrorist hotline.

“The interpretation on the street will be that the police have revealed the identity of informants,” said ‘D’.“Confidence in the system is maintaining the safety of informants, regardless of age.”
Det Insp ‘D’ said the passage of time did not make publication of informants’ identities less sensitive because their descendants could be targeted by criminals with a grudge.

“Look at one of the world’s best-known informants, Judas Iscariot. If someone could draw a bloodline from Judas Iscariot to a present day person then that person would face a risk, although I know that seems an extreme example,” the officer said.Another senior officer, Detective Superintendent Julian McKinney, told the tribunal that releasing names would make police officers less capable of preventing terrorist attacks and organised crime, and make informants vulnerable to attack.
Det Supt McKinney said: “Regardless of the time, regardless of whether they are dead, they should never be disclosed.

“They come to us only when they have the confidence in our system that their identity will not be disclosed.”

But Mr Marriott said a number of historical files have previously been released which contained details of informants.He argued there was no evidence to show descendants of informants who have been named had come to harm.

The tribunal decision is expected later this year.

The blood runs FREE – the final stages

Posted in HORROR MOVIES, HORROR WRITERS, vincent stark, the dead walked, horror fiction, horror magazines, zombies, the walking dead, horror novels, thrilles, WALKING DEAD, a policeman's lot, classic horror campaign, george romero, the undead, classic horror, wild bill williams, walkers walkers everywhere, the rhondda ripper on 05/12/2012 by vincentstark

We’re on the final stages of the free eBook promotion – Indeed Arkansas Smith II, has now reverted to the usual price but there’s still time  to grab free downloads of The Dead Walked and The Rhondda Ripper. So if you haven’t secured your free copies then do so now.

The aim of this promotion was to kick start the books in the increasingly competitive Amazon market place and I do hope that those who downloaded free books will eventually leave reviews on Amazon, and that all those who downloaded the first part of The Dead Walked trilogy will be back for the second book in the series later this summer.

And please, all my Blogging buddies, publicize this offer on your blogs, websites etc. Let’s make these final two days go with a rush of downloads.

Sill available for free:
The Dead Walked Book One by Vincent Stark

The Rhondda Ripper by Gary M. Dobbs

THE RHONDDA RIPPER: The story begins slowly, a man’s morning routine as he gets ready for duty and faces the possibility of a busy day, but he has no idea how “busy” it’s going to get! Throw in Buffalo Bill, a Wild West show, murders that may or may not be connected to Jack The Ripper, and you have a really hot read. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving something away, but it’s a well-written yarn and you will get hooked right away. It’s also, for me, a nice change of pace from the modern urban hard-boiled junk I’ve been digesting lately. Brian Drake

THE DEAD WALKED – Vincent Stark, otherwise known as Gary Dobbs, presents a new look at the zombie story. A group of people trying to survive in a world gone nuts. Sound familiar. Of course.But Stark has injected his own elements into the story. A pregnant woman and a plot thread I’ve not seen in a zombie story before. The ending threw a twist in and sets up the next part of the story, coming soon.

Zombie stories are not a type I read a lot of, but I’ve come to expect good stuff from Stark/Dobbs/Martin, whatever genre he writes in.I read this one straight through while drinking coffee early this morning.Recommended.  George R. Johnson

The blood runs FREE

Posted in a policeman's lot, the rhondda ripper on 05/11/2012 by vincentstark

For the last few days I have, in association with Amazon, been running a promotion where several of my titles are available for free download for a limited period.

Now obviously I’ll not make any money from this but I do believe the promotion is a success – in terms of gaining readers, some of which will hopefully come back for more, it has been a mega success. And besides money is not the motivator, if it were I’d find a far more lucrative use of my time than writing. For me I write because I MUST and to have people reading my books is always the chief concern. So if you haven’t downloaded any of these titles then please do so now – you’ve got nothing to lose, not one single blood stained penny

At the time of writing there are still several days to run on the promotion and the total worldwide downloads per title stand at:

The Rhondda Ripper  700 downloads
Arkansas Smith II 768 downloads
The Dead Walked 1178 downloads

 

It is worth pointing out that The Rhondda Ripper is only on its second day of the promotion, while the other titles are going into their third. Now there are two things I want from this promotion – I am hoping that some of the readers leave a review, good or bad, on Amazon and also that many of these readers will return to my work – The second part of The Dead Walked trilogy is only a few weeks away and so if only a fraction of those who downloaded the freebie return for the paid for sequel I will be happy.

It’s a new world out there and we are all struggling to make a dent in the eBook market. There’ll be a lot of trial and error but rest assured we will be talking about both our successes and failures along the way. And at the end of it all, when the end is near and I face my final curtain, I will, at the very least be able to croon – I did it my way.

Available for FREE download now


The Dead Walked Book One by Vincent Stark
Arkansas Smith II: The Tumbleweed Trail by Jack Martin
The Rhondda Ripper by Gary M. Dobbs

Jack the Ripper – case solved

Posted in a policeman's lot on 01/25/2012 by vincentstark

Patricia Cornwell in her mega selling book, Portrait of a Killer fixated squarely on painter, Walter Sickert and presented a wealth of evidence to suggest that he was the fiend responsible for The Whitechapel Killings, that he was indeed Jack the Ripper. Before her Stephen Knight had in his, The Final Solution provided a link to the brutal murders and the British Royal Family.  In the early 1990’s we were asked to believe in the sensational find of the century when Jack the Ripper’s Diary turned up in Liverpool, but after some initial excitement the book has been denounced as a fake. Over the years there have been a long list of names suggested as to being the Ripper, but in all these names never has the theory given in my novel, A Policeman’s Lot been put forward. Is this because the suspect has been pulled out of left field? Hell, no – the name I have put forward in my novel has been associated with the case since the murders were first investigated.

Why then has this name never come forward before?

Well, simply because it turns all the previous theories, all the speculation and indeed the killings themselves on their head. It provides a credible explanation for what happened during that autumn of terror. Was the Ripper real or an invention of early tabloid journalism?

But it’s a work of fiction, right?

Indeed it is, but I firmly believe the basic concept behind the plot – that Jack the Ripper was never discovered because….well, that maybe giving too much away. The book’s out there – in PRINT and eBook. It’s had a number of good reviews and I’ve had several readers give me the grand praise that they couldn’t put it down.

It’s been out digitally for the best part of a year and in print only a few weeks. It’s sold a few but has not reached the audience I genuinely feel it deserved. Why? Blowed if I know – I keep pushing it in posts such as this and reviews have been turning up on Amazon. Hopefully it’s a slow burner and it will explode anytime soon.

Should I give away the name of the person I have identified as the Ripper, I wonder? The book is not so much a whodunnit after all and the reader knows a few chapters in who the guilty party is, but it is only when the book has played out that all the elements come together, and a credible explanation is found. I feel that if I gave away the identity of the suggested killer here that it would push sales, but I’m not going to. Although I secretly hope some reviewer will let the cat out of the bag and start a debate.

And so all I can say is that the book is the result of several years of research into the Ripper Killings and leave you with some quotes from the various reviews. But if anyone does buy a copy then I thank you and hope you will see fit to leave a review on Amazon – even if you hate the book. Though without wanting to sound arrogant I don’t think that will be the case. Click on the relevant image for either the print or eBook version.

And so those reviews:

Dobbs has done his research and packs a lot into his novel. We become immersed in a time and place on the cusp of the twentieth century. Old methods of law enforcement are yielding with the introduction of new technologies. Economic changes create new problems and social pressures. 

What an end.  The author uses Parade and Buffalo Bill to offer his own truly unique solution to the greatest unsolved serial killer mystery in history.  

The colour of the setting, the atmosphere and the characterization are all top-class. The story starts rather low-key, but once you get to the killings, everything steps up a notch and grabs you by the throat. A “historical police procedural” is the most effective way I can describe it. The storyline’s multiple, concurrent strands reminded me a bit of the J. J. Marric (John Creasey) Gideon books, as did the well-observed “common people” characters. The difference here is the way they’re thrown into greater relief by their contrast with the celebrated Buffalo Bill and his show people. Your choice of this background for your first Pontypridd novel was a stroke of genius. From Keith Chapman AKA western writer, Chap O’Keefe

Another review from THE MACK CAPTURES CRIME WEBSITE – Police Inspector Frank Parade prepares for duty after the last good night’s rest he will enjoy for a while. For Parade, the policeman’s lot is to maintain order in a six mile area with a handful of constables. But today is going to be more hectic than usual: several hundred cattle have to be moved through town on market day and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show has just pitched camp. This is just the beginning of Parade’s problems which will include deaths, robberies, fights, an escaped convict, illicit tavern activity, an overly attentive landlady, and a revelation in the Jack the Ripper case.

The hook that gets readers’ attention is the connection to Jack the Ripper and a satisfying and well set hook it is. But A Policeman’s Lot is, at its core, a police procedural. Pontypridd in 1904 was cosmopolitan in many respects but still retained a frontier flavor: …the streets were often lawless — river traders, gypsies, pickpockets, drifters, even escaped convicts had to be contended with. The story follows Inspector Frank Parade as he puts in long hours monitoring the activities in town, investigating crimes, and schooling a likable but inexperienced young constable. At the time and place the book is set, the police were still developing as a professional organization and didn’t have a widespread trust among the public, telephones were not widely available making communication over distances a problem, and forensic analysis was limited. In this environment, the police had to rely on techniques still used today: collect evidence, interview everyone, observe, find patterns.

Frank Parade makes for a quite interesting character. I see him as the kind of man that made the British empire — brave, honorable, and dedicated to service. As a soldier, he saw action in the Second Boer War then traded Army khaki for the blue of a policeman. He is unwavering in his defense of the law, sets high standards for himself and his men but is not a martinet. Watching the sober Frank deal with the freewheeling Wild West Show made for a fun study in contrasts.

About the Ripper connection I’ll only say that it fits nicely into the story and has enough fact to make it a credible plot line. It also lets us see Parade performing good, solid police investigation. I checked some of the Ripper forums after I finished the book and was astonished at the passion with which the case is studied.

A Policeman’s Lot is an entertaining story that brings together one of the last icons of the American West, a look at British police work while the force was still in its infancy, and one of the most widely known murder cases in history. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical crime fiction and police procedurals.

Jack the Ripper – The Solution awaits

Posted in gary dobbs, jack martin, jack the ripper, a policeman's lot on 08/04/2011 by vincentstark

Patricia Cornwell in her mega selling book, Portrait of a Killer fixated squarely on painter, Walter Sickert and presented a wealth of evidence to suggest that he was the fiend responsible for The Whitechapel Killings, that he was indeed Jack the Ripper. Before her Stephen Knight had in his, The Final Solution provided a link to the brutal murders and the British Royal Family.  In the early 1990’s we were asked to believe in the sensational find of the century when Jack the Ripper’s Diary turned up in Liverpool, but after some initial excitement the book has been denounced as a fake. Over the years there have been a long list of names suggested as to being the Ripper, but in all these names never has the theory given in my novel, A Policeman’s Lot been put forward. Is this because the suspect has been pulled out of left field? Hell, no – the name I have put forward in my novel has been associated with the case since the murders were first investigated.

Why then has this name never come forward before?

Well, simply because it turns all the previous theories, all the speculation and indeed the killings themselves on their head. It provides a credible explanation for what happened during that autumn of terror. Was the Ripper real or an invention of early tabloid journalism?

But it’s a work of fiction, right?

Indeed it is, but I firmly believe the basic concept behind the plot – that Jack the Ripper was never discovered because….well, that maybe giving too much away. The book’s out there – in PRINT and eBook. It’s had a number of good reviews and I’ve had several readers give me the grand praise that they couldn’t put it down.

It’s been out digitally for the best part of a year and in print only a few weeks. It’s sold a few but has not reached the audience I genuinely feel it deserved. Why? Blowed if I know – I keep pushing it in posts such as this and reviews have been turning up on Amazon. Hopefully it’s a slow burner and it will explode anytime soon.

Should I give away the name of the person I have identified as the Ripper, I wonder? The book is not so much a whodunnit after all and the reader knows a few chapters in who the guilty party is, but it is only when the book has played out that all the elements come together, and a credible explanation is found. I feel that if I gave away the identity of the suggested killer here that it would push sales, but I’m not going to. Although I secretly hope some reviewer will let the cat out of the bag and start a debate.

And so all I can say is that the book is the result of several years of research into the Ripper Killings and leave you with some quotes from the various reviews. But if anyone does buy a copy then I thank you and hope you will see fit to leave a review on Amazon – even if you hate the book. Though without wanting to sound arrogant I don’t think that will be the case. Click on the relevant image for either the print or eBook version.

And so those reviews:

Dobbs has done his research and packs a lot into his novel. We become immersed in a time and place on the cusp of the twentieth century. Old methods of law enforcement are yielding with the introduction of new technologies. Economic changes create new problems and social pressures. 

What an end.  The author uses Parade and Buffalo Bill to offer his own truly unique solution to the greatest unsolved serial killer mystery in history.  

The colour of the setting, the atmosphere and the characterization are all top-class. The story starts rather low-key, but once you get to the killings, everything steps up a notch and grabs you by the throat. A “historical police procedural” is the most effective way I can describe it. The storyline’s multiple, concurrent strands reminded me a bit of the J. J. Marric (John Creasey) Gideon books, as did the well-observed “common people” characters. The difference here is the way they’re thrown into greater relief by their contrast with the celebrated Buffalo Bill and his show people. Your choice of this background for your first Pontypridd novel was a stroke of genius. From Keith Chapman AKA western writer, Chap O’Keefe

Another review from THE MACK CAPTURES CRIME WEBSITE – Police Inspector Frank Parade prepares for duty after the last good night’s rest he will enjoy for a while. For Parade, the policeman’s lot is to maintain order in a six mile area with a handful of constables. But today is going to be more hectic than usual: several hundred cattle have to be moved through town on market day and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show has just pitched camp. This is just the beginning of Parade’s problems which will include deaths, robberies, fights, an escaped convict, illicit tavern activity, an overly attentive landlady, and a revelation in the Jack the Ripper case.

The hook that gets readers’ attention is the connection to Jack the Ripper and a satisfying and well set hook it is. But A Policeman’s Lot is, at its core, a police procedural. Pontypridd in 1904 was cosmopolitan in many respects but still retained a frontier flavor: …the streets were often lawless — river traders, gypsies, pickpockets, drifters, even escaped convicts had to be contended with. The story follows Inspector Frank Parade as he puts in long hours monitoring the activities in town, investigating crimes, and schooling a likable but inexperienced young constable. At the time and place the book is set, the police were still developing as a professional organization and didn’t have a widespread trust among the public, telephones were not widely available making communication over distances a problem, and forensic analysis was limited. In this environment, the police had to rely on techniques still used today: collect evidence, interview everyone, observe, find patterns.

Frank Parade makes for a quite interesting character. I see him as the kind of man that made the British empire — brave, honorable, and dedicated to service. As a soldier, he saw action in the Second Boer War then traded Army khaki for the blue of a policeman. He is unwavering in his defense of the law, sets high standards for himself and his men but is not a martinet. Watching the sober Frank deal with the freewheeling Wild West Show made for a fun study in contrasts.

About the Ripper connection I’ll only say that it fits nicely into the story and has enough fact to make it a credible plot line. It also lets us see Parade performing good, solid police investigation. I checked some of the Ripper forums after I finished the book and was astonished at the passion with which the case is studied.

A Policeman’s Lot is an entertaining story that brings together one of the last icons of the American West, a look at British police work while the force was still in its infancy, and one of the most widely known murder cases in history. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical crime fiction and police procedurals.

Jack in print

Posted in gary dobbs, jack the ripper, a policeman's lot on 06/24/2011 by vincentstark

I am pleased to announce that my novel, A Policeman’s Lot, previously only available as an eBook, is now available in a handsome paperback edition – check it out HERE

Product Description

Think you know the Jack the Ripper story? Think again! Inspector Frank Parade carries out his daily duties in the Welsh industrial town of Pontypridd, duties complicated by the unprecedented presence of 500 members of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show encamped outside the town, not to mention the thousands attending the show every day. A series of depraved murders quickly makes things even more complicated. Buffalo Bill stands squarely in his path when Parade tries to investigate the likely possibility that one of the hundreds of show members is involved. And soon enough Parade’s own superiors are blocking his inquires, too. Still more deaths occur as Parade sifts through the thin evidence available and finds a trail that may lead to the perpetrator of the most heinous crime of the 19th Century—London’s “Ripper” murders. Shocking revelations come thick and fast. The greatest criminal mystery in history is about to be solved by a Welsh copper and an American Legend.

AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEWS:

It was no surprise that I would like this book. The author had previously entertained me with two fine westerns(as Jack Martin).

Inspector Frank Parade of the Welsh town of Pontypridd heads a two man police force that is busy enough. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show arrives with it’s five hundred performers and eight hundred livestock, never mind the thousands attending the shows, things get a lot worse.

Then the murders start up, involving a sixteen year old series of unexplained deaths. Throw in a thief, once arrested by Parade, who had threatened his life and had escaped prison by murdering a guard, a number of home break-ins, and superiors who want a fast, easy solution, and you have a fast moving novel that doesn’t let up until the end.

And what an end.

The author uses Parade and Buffalo Bill to offer his own unique solution to the greatest unsolved serial killer mystery in history.


4.0 out of 5 stars Jack the Ripper revisited,July 3, 2010
By
Charles Gramlich (Metairie,, LA United States) -Gary Dobbs (AKA Jack Martin) continues his string of fast paced books with “A Policeman’s Lot.” Not a western per se, as are his Jack Martin books, “Policeman’s Lot” still has some of that western sensibility and it even features Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West show on a visit to England, Wales in particular.

The story takes place a number of years after the Whitechapel murders but ties back to those murders in a most interesting way. I won’t give more away because the twist at the end is original and took me well by surprise. Yet, it made perfect sense within the storyline of the book.

“A Policeman’s Lot” is only availble at this time on Kindle or as a PDF file. Fortunately, I have a Kindle and was able to enjoy it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wild West Wales . . .,June 21, 2010
By
Ronald Scheer “rockysquirrel” (Los Angeles)This tightly plotted and cleverly conceived crime fiction novel is set in the Welsh town of Pontypridd in 1904. Our central character is police inspector Frank Parade, who on a normal day has his hands more than full. Parade’s job gets even more complicated when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show comes to town. There is Bill Cody, larger than life, and not all that cooperative, especially as one of his employees turns up with his throat slit. And thus begins a murder investigation that generates a slag heap of difficulties for Inspector Parade and produces a string of corpses.

Dobbs has done his research and packs a lot into his novel. We become immersed in a time and place on the cusp of the twentieth century. Old methods of law enforcement are yielding with the introduction of new technologies. Economic changes create new problems and social pressures.

And there’s the entertaining collision of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with turn of the last century, coal-mining Wales. Cowboys and Indians wander through some of the scenes, and Bill Cody himself figures into the plot at key points. Well drawn, he is a self-important presence used to being regarded as a living legend. Meanwhile, Inspector Parade is a thoroughly enjoyable creation. Happy he is when he’s on duty, which is nearly all the time. Such is a policeman’s lot.