We'll All Be Murdered In Our Beds: The Shocking History of Crime Reporting in Britain
‘If it bleeds, it leads’ – this maxim is as true now as it was 300 years ago. Crime is the staple of the news, and our appetite for these dark and dangerous stories shows no sign of abating.
In this colourful history of the wild world of crime reporting since 1700, Duncan Campbell reveals what it’s really like to deal with murderers, gangsters, robbers, cat burglars, victims, informers and detectives, looking at the ‘hacks in the macs’ and the ‘Murder Gang’ who would go to any lengths to get a story – and serve it up to an ever-eager reading public.
It is not a grim beat; the phrase ‘gallows humour’ did not come from nowhere. All of human emotion is here: hate, love, greed, desire, fear, jealousy, anger, revenge, redemption, compassion. Crime is a prism through which we see society and its phobias. As the relationships between the press, public, police and criminals are now being questioned as never before, We’ll All Be Murdered in Our Beds! tells the compelling, sometimes scandalous tale of the stories and storytellers that have entertained, shocked and appalled us – and will continue to do so.
“Very entertaining … plenty of scandal – and a nostalgic appeal” – The Spectator
“Cracking history of crime reporting” – Big Issue
“Duncan Campbell ... has gathered their tales and charted their folklore in this jolly book. In truth, it’s less an academic social history than a set of yarns, many garnered, polished and chortled over in saloon bars the length and breadth of Fleet Street from the days when the crime correspondents were the princes of the newspaper trade.” -- Literary Review
“The serious point about Duncan Campbell’s wonderfully titled and thoroughly enjoyable book is that crime is not really about cops v robbers ... the media are in there too....All grand stuff” -- Matthew Engel, The Oldie
“A cornucopia of Fleet Street lore and legend” -- Shotsmag
“Dozens of great stories… A compelling guide to a (sometimes) noble profession” -- Esquire
“Ace newspaperman Duncan Campbell sink[s] his teeth into the real stars of the show: the coppers and hacks - just as predatory in their own way - who caught the killers and reported on them.[It is] a zany catalogue of atrocity and achievement . . . there are plenty of laughs in these pages.” – Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard
“Duncan Campbell … has provided an account of his trade through the ages that is by turns amusing, engaging, horrifying and, yes, thoughtful. It is not merely a catalogue of the goriest and most notorious crimes, but a fascinating description of the often corrupt relationship between Fleet Street’s finest and the police … [a] commendable book” – Chris Mullin, Observer
“Commanding … will shock you & make you laugh in equal measures” – Kirsty Brimelow, QC, The Times
‘Here is a comprehensive history of crime reporting that will surely never be bettered. Its pages are peopled by the notorious, the cunning and the ghoulish - and that's just the journalists. Their coverage of murderers, gangsters, robbers and assorted villains from the dawn of newspapers until the current day is a fascinating story on so many levels. It tells how reporters have satisfied the public's morbid interest in crime and punishment in an unfolding tale that illustrates the symbiotic relationship between the press and the people. As the News of the World's famous motto stated: "All human life is here”.’ - Roy Greenslade, professor of journalism at City University London and former editor of the Daily Mirror
'When it comes to stellar crime reporting, Duncan Campbell is the absolute maestro. He captures the colour of the courts, the drama of events and the lives of those who appear there, in the most elegant and authentic way - without prurience and moral outrage, but with a keen eye to the social currents which affect human conduct for good or bad. Here, he charts the history of media coverage, with a range of stories that will make you laugh and weep. It also reminds us that good court reporting is fundamental to a decent and accountable justice system. A fascinating read.' - Helena Kennedy QC
“Fascinating … a wry history of the world of crime reporting and its daring, dodgy and sometimes heroic participants” – Camden Review
'Duncan Campbell remains one of the very few journalists who has retained the criminal fraternity's trust and respect... He is engagingly clever and writes like a dream.' - Howard Marks, author of Mr Nice
““If it bleeds it leads” or so the saying goes. Who would know better than Duncan Campbell, esteemed crime reporter? This clever, comprehensive and oftentimes funny book covers a history of crime reporting, from Charles Dickens’s Daily Mail articles right up to the Leveson Inquiry. Campbell divulges and re-draws the forever-blurring lines of crime to ask: what is the relationship between the press, the perpetrator and the people?” – Tank Magazine
“There are few people in the journalism game better placed to write a history of British crime reportage than Duncan Campbell (Julie Christie’s other half, fact fans), who spent a lengthy stint as the Guardian’s crime correspondent and has written several books on the subject ...We’ll All Be Murdered In Our Beds! is at its best when scrutinising the people behind the old, yellowing headlines, fleshing out twilight-world types” -- Sunday Business Post
“A smashing read so go get a copy” – Army Rumour Service, arrse.co.uk