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February 06 , 2014

Billy Hill: Godfather of London - The Unparalleled Saga of Britain's Most Powerful Post-War Crime Boss

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There will never be another Billy Hill - Reggie Kray. Bill had a great brain. There's no two ways about it - Frankie Fraser. I made Billy Hill. Then he got over the top of me. I should have shot Billy Hill. I really should. I'd have got ten years for it but it would have made me happy and I'd be out now - laughing - Jack Spot. I have no doubt that during his career Hill had some very senior officers in his pocket - Leonard 'Nipper' Read, legendary Scotland Yard detective. Billy Hill was Britain's first celebrity gangster. Born in London's impoverished Seven Dials, by the early 1950's he had control of the city's gambling rackets and masterminded a heist that set the template for the Great Train Robbery. He ruled the roost in the bloody era when the underworld's choice of weapon was the open razor. His violent clashes with onetime ally turned enemy Jack Spot became the stuff of legend, as Hill and his henchmen left the streets of Soho running red. But Hill was astute enough to choose his moment to get out, abdicating in favour of his gun-toting young protégés, the Kray twins . . . In this fast-moving biography, Wensley Clarkson charts the life of the only post-war British villain to truly make crime pay.
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