Book review: Brink's-Mat robbery still sparks interest

In The Curse of Brink's-Mat: 25 Years of Murder & Mayhem, Wensley Clarkson tells the tale of the biggest heist of the 20th century, one that continues to reverberate in London's criminal underworld today.

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The Curse of Brink's-Mat: 25 Years of Murder & Mayhem
Wensley Clarkson

At least 21 people linked to the Brink's-Mat bullion robbery, both innocent and guilty, have so far wound up in the morgue since the daring raid on the security firm's warehouse at London's Heathrow airport in 1983. And the death toll is expected to rise as new generations of criminals try to get their hands on the millions of pounds worth of unrecovered gold still believed to be stashed around England's capital and beyond.

Wensley Clarkson first covered the heist, the most lucrative of the 20th century at £25 million (Dh140m), when he was a young news reporter and has tracked its impact on the city's underworld ever since.

With a colourful cast of characters including The Fox, Stevie the Butcher, the King of Catford, Sid the Wink and the infamous Kenneth Noye, this gritty true-crime story is as entertaining in parts as any Guy Ritchie gangster movie. However, the chronological, play-by-play narrative style makes for rather tiresome reading after several chapters for all but those who are deeply interested in the logistics of running criminal enterprises.

* Paul Muir