I am trying to recall a British crime thriller I read in the late 1990s/early 2000s. It was set in the 1960s and featured twin gangsters very obviously based on the real-life Kray twins, with some of the events based on ones experienced by the Krays. The storyline concerned their downfall due to the machinations of a rival gangster. The twins had a corrupt policeman as an ally, who killed himself when everything started going wrong. I seem to recall that it was a paperback original.

  • 1
    I thought this might be Twins (1977) by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, but (a) it's American and (2) it's the wrong twins
    – verbose
    Mar 30, 2023 at 20:49
  • Could the twins have been named "the Ryan twins"? Apr 2, 2023 at 0:24

1 Answer 1


This mostly fits the plot of Flesh Wounds by John Lawton. First published in 2005, it is just about compatible with the OP's memory of having read it in the early 2000s.

The story concerns a police officer, Chief Inspector Frederick Troy, tracing a series of bizarre killings to a pair of identical twins, Patrick and Lorcan Ryan. The twins are very clearly modelled on the Kray twins. They have carved out a criminal empire in London's East End, and in particular, like the Krays, they run a glamorous nightclub visited by celebrities, politicians, and famous entertainers.

The Ryan twins indeed had a corrupt policeman, Detective Sergeant Al Mazzer, who fed them information. He did not kill himself as the twins' empire crumbled though. Once Troy realised that he was keeping the twins informed, he first isolated him, then injected him with truth serum to get the location of the twins' hideout - a "very Boys' Own" solution, as one of the characters remarks.

The novel is available for free loan from the Internet Archive.

  • "celebrities, politicians, and famous celebrities" - so the first group are non-famous celebrities? :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 19 at 21:13
  • @Randal'Thor Indeed - now rewritten to what I intended to write (damn fingers...) May 19 at 22:10
  • No, definitely not the same book, I've read all John Lawton's Troy books over the years.
    – Carfilhiot
    May 21 at 19:16
  • @Carfilhiot Thanks for letting me know - it seemed worth a shot though. May 21 at 19:26

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