by Viv Croot
Published by Snake River Press
SUSSEX BOOK REVIEW
Another beautifully produced book from Sussex's Snake River Press, Salacious Sussex is a guide to some of the seedier characters who have called our county home over the years.
Viv Croot has chosen 28 misfits and bad 'uns from Sussex's past, conveniently divided into five main sections - Hanky Panky, The Smuggling Game, Chicanery, Murder and Cads & Bounders. While some of Viv Croot's choices are predictable, there are plenty of tales you might not know.
Sussex PeopleMore books about West Sussex characters and notable people.
For this is tabloid history.
The book is well researched, but like any good tabloid journalist today, Viv Croot has a nose for the scandalous.
Her writing style is pacy and appropriately impatient - like us, she wants to get to the juicy bits as soon as possible.
If this selection of bad folk from Sussex is representative by the way, then we should all be pleased to conclude that there have been considerably more bad people in East Sussex over the years than there have been in West Sussex - where the purity of the people is matched only by the benevolence of the climate and the beauty of the countryside of course.
For the record, John Olliver (the smuggling miller of Highdown Hill), adultress Kitty O'Shea (Steyning), John George Haigh (the Acid Bath Murderer with a lock-up in Crawley) and Squire Orme of Graffham are the West Sussex characters to appear in Salacious Sussex.
The remainder are associated with places east of the county's dividing boundary.
On page 31 there's the assertion that "there were times in the mid-18th century when the county was indistinguishable from 1920s Chicago or modern-day Compton".
I liked this. Next time I visit Compton (West Sussex) I'll keep an eye out for the gangs and drug dealers and feel glad that I'm a long way from Compton (LA).
As with all the Snake River Press books, the illustrations are masterful. Curtis Tappenden's work is outstanding.
I laughed out loud when I noticed that Tappenden had partially dressed Eric Gill for his appearance on the cover of the book, while keeping the sex-crazed Sussex artist naked in his drawing of him inside the book.
Book reviewed by Mark Hoult, West Sussex.info
- Art Clubs
- Art Galleries
- Art Trails
- Visual Arts
- Arts Funding
- Sussex Artists
- Theatre listings
- Arundel Guide
- Bognor Guide
- Burgess Hill Guide
- Chichester Guide
- Crawley Guide
- East Grinstead Guide
- Haywards Heath Guide
- Horsham Guide
- Littlehampton Guide
- Midhurst Guide
- Petworth Guide
- Shoreham-by-Sea Guide
- Steyning Guide
- Worthing Guide