Fred and Rose
I have previously shied away from reading 'true crime' books, because of their often sickening content and Fred and Rose is in fact the first such book I have read. I read it after I so recently watched Appropriate Adult, the excellent BAFTA winning drama starring Emily Watson and Dominic West.
I was young when 'The House Of Horrors' murders occurred but I remember watching News At Ten each night as yet another name was added to the list and thinking it would never end. I realised watching Appropriate Adult that I remembered very little of the case and that was part of the impetus to read this account by a journalist who reported on it.
It sheds light on the earlier lives of Fred and Rose and how the two personalities combined became an explosive cocktail of deviance. Alone, they would each have been a bad lot, but together reached heights of depravity they would not have reached solo, a desperately unfortunate meeting of minds.
The descriptions of the murders and sexual acts is graphic and at many points disturbed me, made me uncomfortable and made me question why I was reading it, but, turning away from it after I had begun felt like turning away from their victims and the terrible injustices they suffered. It is a competent and thorough expose of the case and provides hitherto unknown background information.
It didn't make for enjoyable reading, nor should it have, but it was a well written record of those terrible events. One wonders exactly how many women are lying out in Gloucestershire unfound. 8/10