Rough, tough and glamorous

D.A.N. Jones

  • That was business, this is personal: The Changing Faces of Professional Crime by Duncan Campbell
    234 pp, £14.95, April 1990, ISBN 0 436 19990 4

This quaint and inconclusive book is a compilation of tape-recorded interviews, presented as a discussion of professional crime in Britain, primarily London. A montage on the dust-cover promotes a man called ‘the Prince of Darkness’: we may wonder if this satanic figure is ‘Mister Big’ – a successor to the famous Kray brothers, a capo of the Mafia, a leader of the Yardies or the fiendish Chinese Tongs. But no: he is a veteran crime reporter, diabolically nicknamed for his habit of wearing a long black cape. He is the subject of one of Duncan Campbell’s 23 interviews. The other subjects ‘on the right side of the law’ are a judge, a barrister and a solicitor; three policemen and a prison officer; an Indian victim of crime, a (female) ‘victim supporter’ and a (black, female) probation officer. Although Campbell works for the Guardian, there are not many women in his book, and they are only there to provide the pathos.

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