Fraud- a lonely, penniless couple left at the end
Bookxpert Rating: 3.7/5
A huge thank you to Sarah Hardy and author Kim Booth for having me on this tour! Please find the banner of the entire tour below.
For Joan and Ted Warner, an innocent and trusting couple, a chance encounter with Barbara Hendry, a cunning con-woman who turned their settled lives into a living nightmare.
The Warners were not victims of a remote scam, carried out over the internet by fraudsters from afar. For six years, faking a friendship face-to-face, this plausible woman carried off the impersonation of a member of the nobility fallen on hard times, manipulating the emotions of her victims, deceitfully draining them of every penny they had set aside for their retirement, and plunging them into debt.
Hendrys intention was to slip away, having sucked the Warners dry of all their hard-earned savings. But for some dogged investigative work by a determined detective she would have succeeded- and remained free to prey on other vulnerable victims.
Follow this journey of fraud and depravity in the company of the one man who knows the full story – the British detective who cracked the case and brought Barbara Hendry to justice.
A Cruel Deception is an insightful and gripping work of true crime, which illustrates the depth of wickedness and the possibility that we can all be deceived.
The author retired from the Lincolnshire Police as Detective Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit. He now provides anti-fraud advice and fraud investigation on a consultancy basis together with assisting authors with police procedural issues and story lines.
- “Two men jailed over €5.5m forestry investment fraud.”
- “Financial scams wash away petty investors earnings; fraud cases mushroom”
- “Michigan woman sentenced for fraud and identity theft in Nebraska”
You all might have noticed the commonality between the above three items that made headlines in the past week. The word FRAUD. This is in the year 2019.
A Cruel Deception by Kim Booth, however, is a story of fraud set in the 1970s-80s. Fraud cases were uncommon then. Access to telephones was very limited. Internet and smartphones didn’t exist. There was no need to train detectives and personnel especially for fraud detection, unlike now.
First and foremost, all through the book, even though the police detective assigned to the case (also the author of this book- Kim Booth), insisted that the Warners were being defrauded, I kept hoping that somehow Barbara Hendry really did mean to return their money.
So much so that till about halfway through the book, I was very suspicious of all the characters. Literally ALL the characters- even the victims of the fraud and the investigators too.
When the suspect had been arrested, her and her accomplices’ statements recored, I still wasn’t satisfied that the suspect was really the mastermind. There had to be someone pulling the strings!
So yes, the factor of whodunit is all over the book.
Kim somehow made me care about the Warners. They were extremely sweet and caring people who got robbed of their savings for no fault of theirs. And the fraudster Barbara Hendry- Oh! How I hated her.
For a fraud to last seven years is very rare but does demonstrate the determination, greed and disregard for others shown by the fraudster. The offence can know no bounds and the effect on the victim in my mind can be as damaging as other serious offences.
I loved how the Kim has described all aspects of the investigation. The appointing of witnesses, visiting old government records, other people who knew the fraudster.
Also, this makes us aware of the exact nature of detective work. And you’re very mistaken if your mind went to Sherlock Holmes. No. Detective work is lengthy, meticulous and intensive. Not just solving murder crimes and meeting Dukes and Lords, but about protecting the rights of the common people.
On the flipside, this felt quite repetitive. Facts that we have already been made aware of in A’s statement, are repeated in B’s. I felt like the book would have been much more exciting the repetitions and jargon were left out.
One more point that struck me forcibly is the era of the book. Based in the 1970s, the main method of communication is letters and landline telephones. Letters are no more used for personal communication, and landline phones are outdated too. A person in their middle or old ages will relate to the book way more than a youngster.
The last part of the book really touched me. Kim has mentioned how he had promised the Warner’s that he’d write a book about their fraud case so people would become aware, and I really appreciate that he kept it, and immensely respect him for it. Believe me, writing an entire book is hard work.
After general talk and a cup of tea I got up to leave when she said, “Kim you won’t forget our agreement will you?”
I thought for a second trying to remember what it was we had agreed.”
Joan said, “The book.”
I said, “What book?”
Joan replied, “About the whole story.”
It was during a very rare, lighter period whilst recording the statement from Ted that he said “Do you know this would make a good book you know.”
At the time I laughed it off but then realised he was being serious.
Ted said, “It is important that people should realise two things, firstly that it is so easy to become a victim of fraud and secondly it is important that people should realise that we are not fools. The only thing I ask is that if you do write our story that it should be done after we have both died.”
Upon realising Ted was serious I replied “Ok Ted I give you my word.”
About the Author:
Prior to joining the police I had numerous jobs, Worked in a chicken factory for next to nothing, In a Bakery, Royal Mail as a Postman, With my dad who was a civil engineer construction roads and sewerage works and finally in a hotel. Had dealings with the CID and thought “I can do that” and joined the police with the sole intention of being a CID man! Joined Lincolnshire Police in July 1975.
Walked the streets in uniform for 18 months sorting yobbos out then given a car and latched onto drink drivers for a year then went into the CID at Louth in Lincolnshire for a year or so then Skegness for a summer season. Stayed in the CID for twelve years at various location including regional Crime Squad now National Crime Agency conducting static and mobile surveillance nationally dealing with murders extortions Kidnaps and the like then promoted to Uniform Sergeant for two years then back in the CID in the drug squad for four years as a Detective Sergeant, The next move was Detective Sergeant Special Branch dealing with all terrorist matter including surveillance, regional risk assessments on Economic Key points ie Oil and gas terminals, National Infrastructure Gas Electricity and Water and all Military establishments, threat assessments on high profile individuals such a Judges MP’s and witness protection subjects etc. Worked with the Security Services ie MI5 and MI6 and was a member of Home Office National Anti- Terrorism Exercise Programme setting up terrorist exercises both in the UK and abroad to test response of the local enforcement agencies. Promoted to Detective Inspector within Special Branch with 14 staff. Stayed there for five years then moved to Uniform Inspector in charge of the Lincolnshire Police Control room 36 staff dealing and resourcing whatever came in authorised to deploy firearms officers to incidents. Two years in there (more than enough!) the moved to be in charge of the Economic and Hi Tech Crime Unit dealing with all frauds , Internet Crime together with the Paedophile Unit and Proceeds of Crime Unit 27 staff, Stayed there for four years, retired on the Friday and started work the following Monday being the Senior Investigating Officer in charge of a $300 million fraud investigation involving 3300 investors worldwide, worked with colleagues in New Zealand, Japan, America, Hong Kong, Bahamas and Canada, The case concluded in 2010 I retired again! Went fitting UPVC windows with a mate. Did that for 9 months, wrote a book on fraud, did some qualifications at Uni then came to work for TUI (Thomson and First Choice)as a Corporate Security Manager investigating fraud within the travel industry, Hobbies- Property restoration, DIY and motor cycling. That’s a quick snap shot!
Three children, eldest son is a Police Officer in Lincolnshire. Middle daughter is a first aid trainer and the MK 3 model daughter is a primary school teacher. Met the wife on the docks at Boston Lincolnshire (where she was working as Policewoman I should add!)
Connect with Kim here-
- The sweet Warner couple- I would loved to have them as friends.
- How Kim has described all aspects of the investigation!
- Suspense element in the book- are the Warners really being defrauded? Who is the scamster?
What could have been:
- Less repetition of facts we have already been made aware of.
Other Stuff :
The Title:- The Warner couple was deceived by someone they explicitly trusted, which made it cruel.
Best Line :-
Fraud is a crime that is relentless in its nature and will only come to an end either by the intervention of the police or other authority or due to the fact that the victim is of no financial use to the fraudster who will then move on.
Genre :- Non-ficiton
Final Thoughts :- Old id gold! So all oldies pick this one up to relive a little 1970s air!
Up Next :- ‘The Onyx Crown’ by Alan Hurst