There was a time, not so very long ago, when cadres of specialist newspaper correspondents clumped like herds of bull elephants across the land, racking up expenses, trumpeting their deeds and revelling in their influence as they pursued the latest strike or scandal. Some even designed their own ties. Many of these troops have now gone, or seen their esprit de corps weakened as the old Fleet Street hegemony has fragmented, but there is still a Crime Reporters’ Association. Duncan Campbell, a former chairman, 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. They were all men until the 1970s,