Dick Kirby – The Books


Rough Justice

The first book was Rough Justice – Memoirs of a Flying Squad Detective (Merlin Unwin Books, 2001) and the proceeds from the sales were split equally between two police charities, the Police Pensioners’ Housing Association and the Metropolitan Police Combined Benevolence Trust.

“He treats criminals the only way they understand.  His language is often shocking, his methods unorthodox.”   NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED POLICE OFFICERS MAGAZINE.

“His style of writing pulls no punches and he tells it like it is.  Highly recommended.”   POLICE HISTORY SOCIETY JOURNAL.

“Real Boys’ Own stuff, this.  Tinged with a wry sense of humour makes this an excellent read.”  METROPOLITAN POLICE HISTORY SOCIETY.

“Rough Justice is a fast-paced, amusing and enjoyable read, full of absorbing crime stories.”   SUFFOLK JOURNAL.

“ …the continuing increase in violent crime will make many readers yearn for yesteryear and officers of Dick Kirby’s calibre.”  POLICE MAGAZINE.

“ …an exciting and fascinating insight into a highly experienced and effective detective’s approach to some of the most difficult areas of policing.”  LONDON POLICE PENSIONER.


The Real Sweeney

After the sell-out success of this initial book, the next was The Real Sweeney (Constable & Robinson, 2005) and it contained stories of some of Kirby’s most famous exploits.

“Everyone’s talking about The Real Sweeney … Tough, fast-paced and funny, this one’s a must.”   LONDON POLICE PENSIONER.

“His reflections on the political aspect of law enforcement will ring true for cops, everywhere.”   AMERICAN POLICE BEAT.

“Its no-nonsense portrayal of life in the police will give readers a memorable literary experience.”   SUFFOLK JOURNAL.

“A Scotland Yard legend … has had a second hard-hitting volume of memoirs published.”  ILFORD RECORDER.

“A must for the true-crime bookshelf.”  METROPOLITAN POLICE HISTORY SOCIETY.

“ … these are the real-life accounts of a tough London cop.”   DAILY EXPRESS.


You’re Nicked!

You’re Nicked! (Constable & Robinson, 2007) followed, the book being split into three sections dealing with his life with the Serious Crime Squad, Divisional CID work and finally, some more of his Flying Squad cases.

“Dick Kirby … gives a gruelling, gritty, yet funny look at life on the front line against crime.”   ROMFORD RECORDER.

“It’s full of dark humour, tense busts and stand-offs.  As crime rates rocket, this book will go down well”.   DAILY SPORT.

“A great read with fascinating stories and amusing anecdotes from a man who experienced it all.”   SUFFOLK NORFOLK LIFE MAGAZINE.

“You’re Nicked! is a gritty series of episodes from his time in the Met – laced with black humour and humanity.”   EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES.

“In You’re Nicked! he describes his hair-raising adventures  … with an equal measure of black humour and honesty.”  NEWHAM RECORDER.

“Once again, Dick Kirby has produced an exciting, entertaining and readable account of his exploits and I would strongly urge its perusal at an early opportunity.”  THE PEELER.



Villains (Constable & Robinson, 2008) contains stories told from the opposite side of the fence by some of Kirby’s choicest customers.

“… Kirby is all too happy to spill every metaphorical bean … your reviewer’s favourite section looks at the so-called toffs abandoning their fine-living backgrounds and falling victim to the long arm of the law.”  BARKING & DAGENHAM RECORDER.

“All of the stories are told with Dick Kirby’s acerbic, black humour in a compelling style, by a detective who was there.”  AMERICAN POLICE BEAT.

“I’m a huge Dick Kirby fan … this is a fast-paced, riveting read, made even more enjoyable by Kirby’s trademark humour.”  TANGLED WEB WEBSITE.

“ …the humorous and lively telling keeps the reader enthralled.  Tales of escapees and con after con keep the reader engaged and Mr. Kirby’s stories have a flavour of Life on Mars and The Sweeney.”  BURY FREE PRESS.

“Kirby’s style is strong and energetic … the humour and honesty keep the pages turning, while the reader can’t help but dream up characters befitting the television hit show, Life on Mars.”  NEWHAM RECORDER.

“This is magic.  The artfulness of these anti-heroes has you pining for the bad old days.” DAILY SPORT.


The Guv’nors

The Guv’nors – Ten of Scotland Yard’s Greatest Detectives (Wharncliffe Books, 2010) recounts the lives of some of the CID’s most charismatic leaders.

“It takes a great detective to recognise and explain the craft of others.  Dick Kirby’s latest endeavour, The Guv’nors is an informed and thrilling account of the work of these great men.”  PAUL MILLEN, AUTHOR OF CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR.

“Fred Wensley, Nutty Sharpe, Hooter Millen, Fabian and other colourful New Scotland Yard legends are vividly brought to life by a man who had walked the walk, the Flying Squad’s own Dick Kirby.  What a brilliant TV series this would make!”  JOSEPH WAMBAUGH, AUTHOR OF THE CHIORBOYS AND HOLLYWOOD MOON.

“The Guv’nors focuses on ten of the Yard’s greatest detectives – a group of intrepid crime-busters the likes of which we will not see again – who were feared and grudgingly respected by the villains.”  THE LONDON POLICE PENSIONER.

“The Guv’nors is a gripping account following the lives of Scotland Yard’s ten best crime-busting detectives.”  THE BURY FREE PRESS.

“They were heroes at times when heroes were desperately needed.”  THE AMERICAN POLICE BEAT.


The Sweeney

The Sweeney – The First Sixty Years of Scotland Yard’s Crimebusting Flying Squad (Wharncliffe Books, 2011) tells of the highs and lows of the élite Flying Squad before it was devolved from Scotland Yard.

“It’s a rollercoaster ride; detectives who took crime by the scruff of its neck and wouldn’t let go.”  THE EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES.

“Dick Kirby’s trademark humour is laced throughout this anecdote-packed book.” TANGLED WEB WEBSITE.

“The book is certainly a meticulously recorded document, full of colour and a fitting tribute to those who have served with the Squad over the years.”  POLICE ORACLE WEBSITE.

“Dick’s book is full of characters, car chases and criminals.  From the beginning, he lets the action tell the history ...”  THE BURY FREE PRESS.

“ ...this thoroughly researched and enjoyable history, crammed with vivid descriptions of long-forgotten police operations, races along like an Invicta tourer, at full throttle.”  DAILY EXPRESS.


Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad

After twenty years of painstaking research, Scotland Yard’s Ghost Squad (Wharncliffe Books, 2011) has emerged – the story of the men who ran the top secret post-World War Two undercover squad.

“A superb description of crime-busting at the front end.”   BERTRAM’S BOOKS.

“A dedicated police historian”  POLICE ORACLE.

“Another ‘Dick Kirby Special’ that tells some wonderful stories about how Scotland Yard responded to London’s crime problems after World War Two.”  HISTORY BY THE YARD.

“Dick Kirby has recaptured the spirit of the post-war era ... in this wonderfully detailed and deferential book.”  TANGLED WEB.

“ ... the fascinating true story of a talented squad of gang-busting detectives who were there when special deeds were essential.  Dick Kirby ... knows how to bring his coppers to life on the page.”  JOSEPH WAMBAUGH, AUTHOR OF ‘THE CHOIRBOYS.


The Brave Blue Line

The thrilling tales of the brave men and women of the Metropolitan Police who received gallantry awards – with a foreword by Lord Stevens, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

“Through a series of gripping, individual stories ... the author highlights the incredible courage often shown by officers on the front line.” DAILY EXPRESS.

“The Brave Blue Line pulls together nearly two dozen inspiring stories.” 

“Dick Kirby’s wonderfully evocative volume of Metropolitan history ... beautifully illustrated, this would make an impressive gift for any historical true crime fan.”  TANGLED WEB WEBSITE.

“Dick tells inspirational tales of police bravery.”  ILFORD RECORDER.

“Get a copy of The Brave Blue Line and then urge friends and acquaintances to do the same.  It’s a well-written, well-presented book that really does deserve the widest-possible audience.”  POLICE MEMORABILIA COLLECTORS CLUB.

“In our opinion, this is simply the best book about police gallantry ever written and arguably the best book about any sort about gallantry awards.  It comes with our highest possible recommendation.”  HISTORY BY THE YARD.


Death On The Beat

The stories of fifteen men and women from the Metropolitan Police who paid the ultimate price for patrolling the streets of London – with a foreword by the acclaimed film director, Michael Winner.

“Rarely, if ever, have I been so captivated and moved by a book ... the way in which Mr Kirby has gone about it is exceptional.  The straight and factual style works superbly, putting the reader there on the scene of these tragedies as they developed.”  POLICE MEMORABILIA COLLECTORS CLUB, OCTOBER 2012.

“I am delighted that Dick Kirby has written this book.  I am sure those who read it will realise how very hazardous the life of a policeman is.”  MICHAEL WINNER.

“ ...another excellent book by the redoubtable Dick Kirby ... Nobody reading this book can fail to be sobered and impressed by the courage and humanity of the men and women working to keep our streets safe for us”.  HISTORY BY THE YARD WEBSITE, SEPTEMBER 2012.

“Dick Kirby, a former Flying Squad officer who has ‘walked the talk’ writes ...with his usual trademark humour, twinned with impeccable research.  This is a fitting tribute to the many officers killed in the line of duty and exemplifies how the pain felt by their families and friends continues to this day.”  TANGLED WEB WEBSITE, JULY 2012.

“Latest book by ex-Sweeney mainstay-turned-author remembers officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  The result is Death on the Beat – a study of 10 stories of courage spanning some 50 years and highlighting the ever-present danger to those who take up the vocation of policing.”  CLIFF CASWELL, POLICE ORACLE WEBSITE, 8 AUGUST 2012.

“An extremely well-researched and well-written book.  Thank you, Dick Kirby, for placing your extensive research before us all in an informed read”. PAUL MILLEN, AUTHOR OF CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATOR.


The Scourge of Soho

The story of the Metropolitan Police’s most controversial cop – Detective Sergeant Harry Challenor, MM.

‘A gripping story, superbly told by a former Met policeman, turned crimewriter’. BERTRAM BOOKS.

‘ ... impeccable research, interviews and documentation, written in Kirby’s delightful, conversational style’.  POLICE MEMOROBILIA COLLECTORS’ CLUB.

 ‘Dick Kirby’s ... colourful yet tragic period ... of the Metropolitan Police’.  EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES.

‘Police history buffs need look no further for their latest reading material’.  TANGLED WEB.

‘Dick Kirby has chosen his fascinating subject well.’  LAW SOCIETY GAZETTE.

‘A sensational and gripping account’.  PEGASUS YEARBOOK 2014. 

‘Well-written in Dick Kirby’s inimitable style’.  HISTORY BY THE YARD.


Whitechapel's Sherlock Holmes

The story of Scotland Yard's greatest detective - Frederick Porter Wensley, OBE, KPM.

“This is a welcome biography of a distinguished detective whom many would argue to be one of the best detectives of all time”.  HISTORY BY THE YARD.

“Thrilling stories of gang busting, murder and insurrection from his (Wensley’s) controversial yet highly successful police career”.  BERTRAMS BOOKS.

“This is a particularly well-researched book in Dick Kirby’s inimitable style and is thoroughly recommended”.  LONDON POLICE PENSIONER.


“The book paints a fascinating picture of a man dubbed 'The greatest detective of all time'”. ICENI MAGAZINE.


“Dick Kirby has done an excellent job and I hope he keeps on writing biographies of the policemen who kept order during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Their stories deserve to be told”. THE RIPPEROLOGIST MAGAZINE.


The Wrong Man

The shooting of an innocent man and the hunt for the most dangerous man in London.

“ … a scrupulously honest and detailed account of the unfortunate events leading to police shooting an innocent man … nobody is better qualified to write an account of this story than Dick Kirby”.

“ … an amazing joyride of a true story, expertly recalled by Dick Kirby”.

“ … a well-researched book about a milestone incident in the police use of firearms in London … written by an experienced, natural raconteur”.

“Dick Kirby knows his stuff!” SURREY-CONSTABULARY.COM.

“Dick Kirby gives us the gritty reality of this subject.  I did not put this book down, reading it in one day, deep into the night”.

“ … a fascinating look at those events, relayed by veteran crime historian and former Flying Squad officer, Dick Kirby”.

“Reading Dick Kirby’s gripping account, as only a Flying Squad insider could tell it, of a manhunt for London’s most dangerous and deadly escape artist is like watching a suspenseful cinematic thriller.  And it’s all true!”


Laid Bare

The investigation into the serial killer in 1960s London, who murdered and stripped eight prostitutes.

“… Dick lays out the evidence and challenges you to come to a conclusion regarding the culpability or otherwise of the suspects … he holds our hand in search of the answers to this mystery”. 

“Dick Kirby brings … his superb detective skills to this meticulously researched new examination of the infamous, unsolved murders of London prostitutes”. JOSEPH WAMBAUGH, AUTHOR OF ‘THE CHOIRBOYS’.

“Kirby looks to untangle facts from speculation and questions everything”.

“Kirby writes with authority and clarity … it’s highly recommended”.

“This engaging book, which is written in Kirby’s take-no-prisoners style … will appeal to police buffs and true-crime historians, alike”.

“Dick Kirby (is) a prolific thief-taker and gangbuster with a wealth of experience … his forensic attention to detail is reflected in this latest book”.


London’s Gangs at War

Amazon’s ♯ 1 Bestseller

The story of the post-war London gangsters.

“This is a riveting book and Dick has done his usual amazing research”.  LONDON POLICE PENSIONER.

“Dick Kirby pulls no punches as he looks in depth at some of the most infamous names from the criminal underworld”. 

“Another excellent book in the impressive list of titles by Dick Kirby”. 

“Murder, torture and extortion all feature prominently as Mr Kirby investigates some of the most famous incidents of the post-war era”. 

“Ex-cop Dick Kirby has now laid bare the Krays’ empire”. 


Operation Countryman

The Flawed Enquiry into London Police Corruption.

“Operation Countryman was on every police officers lips in the late 70s & 80s and Dick Kirby outlines in depth the flaws in the investigation”. 
Steve Collins, author of The Good Guys Wear Black.

“Only an insider with the engaging style of Dick Kirby could have produced this nakedly forthright page-turner”. 
Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Choirboys.

“A CID officer throughout the ‘Operation Countryman’ era, Dick Kirby is uniquely placed to draw on those sources which really matter … to this meticulous and outstanding volume of police history”. 
The London Police Pensioner Magazine.

“This book is a comprehensive account of an enquiry that created enormous controversy … the value of Dick Kirby’s book is that it sets out systematically the train of events that led to the enquiry being set up”. 
Alan Moss, co-author of The Victorian Detective.


Scotland Yard's Gangbuster


“Dick Kirby is to be congratulated; this book is difficult to put down”. 
The London Police Pensioner Magazine.

“Old school, but effective – how the Met took the fight to the underworld”. 
The Scotsman.

“This book is an important tribute to Bert Wickstead but also to the active and honest CID officers of that period”. 
Allan Moss, co-author of Scotland Yard’s History of Crime in 100 Objects.

“A good biography of an enigmatic and controversial copper”. 
Ripperologist Magazine.

“It’s one of those books that every true-crime fan needs to put on their reading list”. 
Britain’s Gangland Magazine.

“… a vivid & fascinating account of policing some of the era’s most serious crimes, written by an experienced and retired police officer”. 

“… a worthy tribute to a very successful detective”. 

The Mayfair Mafia

“Dick Kirby has further enhanced his reputation with this book … (he) relies on the court and official records as well as the personal memories from retired police officers that give Dick Kirby’s books such an extra dimension of authenticity”. 
Alan Moss, author of The Victorian Detective.

“It is only through meticulous research in various archives and interviewing people that an author like Dick Kirby can complete a truly magnificent book”. 
Britain’s Gangland Magazine.

“Kirby’s wit and extremely dry humour comes on straight away as early as the prologue which, of course, makes reading heavy subjects easier and creates a relationship between the author (narrator) and the reader”. 
The Love of Books.

“A detailed and inherently fascinating account of the rise and fall of an organised crime family”. 
Midwest Book Review.


Scotland Yard's Flying Squad


“A no-holds-barred illustrated history of the celebrated police unit, written by an ex-Scotland Yard author, with unrivalled contacts”. 
The Bookseller.

“Dick Kirby is a master of recording anecdotal evidence, quick-wittedness, use of informants and tricks of the trade”. 
The London Police Pensioner.

“Every page of this book is fascinating”. 

“Dick Kirby’s book on London’s Flying Squad evokes memories of The Sweeney”. 
Books Monthly.

“Dick Kirby’s book gives precious insight into its exploits for over a century”. 
Paul Millen, author of Crime Scene Investigator..




Scotland Yard's Murder Squad

“Dick Kirby has done a great service in creating this record of … the achievements of this squad”. 
History by the Yard.

“Another great read from Dick Kirby, a noted police historian”. 
The London Police Pensioner Magazine.

“Dick is able to combine his inherent understanding of the force with the testimony of his many contacts”. 
Romford Recorder.

“I can recommend this book”. 
The Sherlock Holmes Journal.

“Kirby – through his vast experience and network of contacts from his Flying Squad days – is able to present an eclectic range of cases from the annals of Scotland Yard”. 
Melisende’s Library.







The Racetrack Gangs


“Well-researched and graphically detailed”. 
Uncle Tatty’s Reading Blog.

“So if you’re a fan of Peaky Blinders and want to read the true stories behind those characters and tales … this is the book for you”. 
Britain’s Gangland Magazine.

“Kirby really immerses the reader into this dangerous and seductive world”. 

“Well-researched and abounding in details”. 
Barnes & Noble.

“What a neat subject to read about, great idea for a book and so well researched!”. 
Net Galley.








IRA Terror on Britain’s Streets, 1939-1940

“A fascinating read”. 
BBC Radio Coventry.

“You won’t want to be left out and miss the opportunity to read this engaging book”. 

“A gripping book which, once started, I couldn’t put down”. 
The ReCIDivists.

“This is an essential book for anyone collecting books on Irish history to add to their collection”. 
Federation of Local History Societies Newsletter.

“…this fascinating and engrossing book”. 
Genealogical Society of Ireland Newsletter.






Scotland Yard’s Casebook of Serious Crimes


“… Kirby writes with huge pride in the achievements of the force. A fascinating read”. 
The Law Society Gazette.

“Terrific Stuff”. 
Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Choirboys.

“A definite must-read for those who like Dick Kirby’s books”. 
History by the Yard.

“A well-researched and grippingly written book covering ‘The Golden Age’ of London policing”. 
Legal Eagle.

“No-nonsense writing from a man who lived the life … the only negative thing about Dick Kirby’s books is that once you’ve read them, you’re left wanting more”. 
Britain’s Gangland Magazine.









The Brighton Police Scandal

“What a fantastic read it was”. 
Britain’s Gangland Magazine.

“This is a welcome, detailed account of the prosecution of Brighton police officers around 1957 and their chief constable”. 
History by the Yard.

“This is another excellent book from an established writer on the history of police and crime”. 
Law Society Gazette.

“Reveals the inside story of arguably the most notorious and long-running scandal in British policing history”. 

“Kirby has researched the events in great detail, while always emphasising how shocking they seemed at the time”. 
Sussex Life Magazine.







Missing, Presumed Murdered


“Good compilation by Dick Kirby”. 

“Another great read from Dick Kirby, highly recommended”. 

“Once again, a truly fascinating read from one of the best crime writers in Britain”. 

“Another excellent book by Dick Kirby”. 






Killers, Kidnappers, Gangsters and Grasses

“Dick Kirby should be applauded, not just for his career within the force but also for his second career as one of Britain’s finest true crime authors”. 

“Anyone thinking Mr Kirby has mellowed with age will finish reading his prologue feeling slightly battered as he hammers his point home forcefully about the state of the police, today”. 

“I enjoy Kirby’s books because you get the opinion of those on the front line, sometime warts and all”. 

“This book demonstrates him at his forthright, unapologetic best. It is a great read from which many a police officer could learn”. 

“Reading this book is like having him in your front room with a glass or two, telling wonderful stories of policing at the sharp end”.