* Prices may differ from that shown
This review is for the book "Murder on the Common - The Secret Story of the Murder That Shocked a Nation" by Keith Pedder.
The book is a true story and the author, Keith Pedder, was a senior policeman who was involved in investigating the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992. This sad crime led to the assault and murder of Nickell, but there was much controversy over the case as the wrong man was arrested and convicted for the crime.
Keith Pedder was in charge of the murder investigation, and this book is effectively his justification for the debacle that followed. It contains numerous letters that were sent by the police, and at the time the Metropolitan Police tried to get the book stopped from being published.
I found this book an interesting one, it is fascinating to see how a police operation worked, the pressures on the police and also the vast amount of resources which are put into an investigation of this kind. The book also reminded me how it must be hard for the police to try and emotionally detach themselves from really violent crimes such as this, especially as Nickell's young son was found with the body.
I would also say that I found this book well-written, but despite the interesting story behind the book, I was left unimpressed at Keith Pedder. His operation appeared to be a complete disaster, and this attempt to justify his actions, whilst publishing what I would have thought were quite confidential letters, didn't work for me. I understand that the public are rightly interested in cases like this, but I'm not sure whether books should be written by the police in this way.
There is a lot of information in this book, and it is quite a long read to get through, but this is a complex subject matter, and it seemed the right thing to do to give all the information that was available. I do though find that the book did become a little heavy going in places, especially given the emotional content of the book.
The book retails for 6.99 pounds, but is currently available at Amazon for 5.25 pounds including free postage. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available for around three pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The book is 420 pages long, and was first published by Blake Publishing in 2004. The ISBN is 184454057X (the new ISBN format is 9781844540570).
In summary, this was an interesting and well-written book, covering fascinating ground, and dealing with all of the emotional matters in a professional manner. However, I still feel a little uneasy that police officers should write books like this, but putting that to one side, if this is a subject area that interests you, you'll likely enjoy this title.
This is true story.
The 'author' Detective Inspector Keith Pedder headed up the investigation into the brutal murder of Rachel Nickell. Rachel was brutally killed on 15 July 1992. She was found, stabbed 49 times, on Wimbeldon Common with her 2 year old son clinging to her. He had witnessed it all. This true crime book follows some of the investigation during the early years.
The blurb on the back of the book states that Pedder's home was raided by Scotland Yard in am attempt to find the manuscript for the book in order to stop the book from being published, because of the fear of what was to be revealed.
The book details the involvement of Paul Britton, Forensic Psychologist (Author of Jigsaw Man) and the bearing he had on the case and creating the offender profile. The book also says that Britton was asked to design a covert operation in order for the number one suspect, Colin Stagg, to implicate himself. The 'honey-trap' operation was born and the case went to trial, Stagg accused of murder. The case collapsed and Stagg was acquitted on the basis that the police 'had tried to incriminate a suspect by "deceptive conduct of the grossest kind"'.
I found this book very difficult to read (which was around three years ago, having been only 10 years of age myself when Rachel was murdered). Because of the descriptive nature of Rachel's injuries . Pedder describes in depth the details of the police investigation, their failures and of course, the traumatic effects on Rachel's son, partner, family and friends. It was a very compelling read and being so young myself at the time I learnt a lot about the case through reading this book.
I did find the text/font very small in the book and often lost my place, being a fast reader so I had to keep going back over a few pages which was quite frustrating.
There was an awful lot crammed into the 553 pages of this book.
I am definitely pleased that I read the book as it gave me a insight in to the controversial investigation and the acquittal of Stagg. However, the book was very one sided, shown from the Police's standpoint and the investigating team still being convinced of Stagg's guilt, which I also found frustrating.
The case remained unsolved until 18th December 2008 when Robert Napper confessed and was convicted of Rachel's murder.
Published: John Blake Publishing Ltd 2004