The Moors Murders: The Trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady
Goodman's account of the Moors Murders remains the most dispassionate and factual overview of the case in print.
The bulk of the book is taken up by verbatim transcripts of the court case as it unfolded during those dramatic days of 1965 that first revealed to the public the true horror of Brady and Hindley's crimes and cemented their place in the pantheon of evil.
This approach avoids the sensationalist tabloid view of the case that continues to colour the almost folkloric impression held by the public. By focussing on the legal proceedings, the main players - witnesses, perpetrators and investigators alike - come to life through their own words.
Even if the case itself holds no interest for you, it is a fascinatingly complete record of how a criminal case such as this actually plays out away from the headlines.
The reader sees how Brady and Hindley's lies are exposed by the careful, forensic probing of the prosecution. Likewise, through their own words their characters are revealed as small-minded and evasive. Later in life, Brady claimed grand philosophical motivations for his acts (an "existential exercise" as he claimed in 2010) so it is highly instructive to see how he squirmed under questioning and aimed to put the blame onto others.
The introductory chapters also give a concise overview of the story overall, but the armchair reader who prefers a longer more detailed narrative with a little more 'juice' should look elsewhere.
This is a minor quibble about a book that, rightly, remains a classic.
Paul Carpenter: 2014-09-08