by Eleanor Parks
Charlie: The Final Word Mine For The Taking tells the true story of South London gangster Charlie Richardson and his remarkable life and crimes in South Africa. This unique story was told to author Eleanor Parks by Charlie himself, over the course of many days when Eleanor stayed as a guest of Charlie at his home in Kent.
By 1964, London was effectively ruled by two gangs: the Krays and the Richardsons. Their reputation for violence preceded them wherever they went; even today the fearsome tales of Ronnie and Reggie Kray stamping their authority on the North and East End, while south of river, Charlie and Eddie Richardson headed up the so-called “Torture Gang”, enthral and appal in equal measure. Such tales have been told with a frequency undiminished by the passage of time. Indeed, some have been told so often that they are known almost by heart. One story, however, has never been told…at least, not in its entirety.
Between 1964 and 1966 Charlie Richardson was at the zenith of his power in the London underworld. From his headquarters in Peckford Scrap Metal Yard, Charlie presided over an empire encompassing five scrap yards, two swanky West End clubs, and several spielers (illegal gambling joints). Charlie had money, he had influence and he had power. And yet, in spite of all this, one thing eluded him. Ever since he was a small boy, traipsing over bomb sites searching for scrap metal and shrapnel he could hawk for pin money, he had harboured a secret ambition: to own his own mine. So when he was offered the chance to be partners in a South African diamond mine, it was an offer Charlie could hardly refuse.
By the time Charlie arrived in South Africa, the country was a tinderbox ready to burn, and its wealth of riches was there for the taking. Intent on following his mining ambition, Charlie was oblivious to the fact that he was sailing into the murky waters of international espionage and into direct conflict with the British police and MI5. In addition, his intense, passionate love affair with Jean La Grange, a beautiful spy and the wife of South Africa’s number one secret agent, meant that the pursuit of his dream placed everything in jeopardy: his businesses, his marriage, and even his life.
This book is the culmination of three years extensive research, during which the author conducted numerous lengthy interviews with Charlie Richardson, delving deep into memories long since buried to unearth the true and remarkable story behind a fascinating part of British gangland history.
Charlie: The Final Word Mine For The Taking is no ordinary gangster book; for Charlie Richardson was no ordinary gangster.
Charlie: The Final Word Tortured, also by Eleanor Parks, is the sequel to Charlie: The Final Word Mine For The Taking and is now available on Kindle.
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