***WINNER OF THE GOLD DAGGER AWARD FOR CRIME NON-FICTION***
Dennis Nilsen, who died in May 2018, murdered at least 15 people before his arrest in 1983. This groundbreaking criminal study of his killings was written with Nilsen's full cooperation, resulting in a fascinating - and horrifying - portrait of the man who worshipped death.
On February 9th 1983 Dennis Nilsen was arrested at his Muswell Hill home, after human remains had been identified as the cause of blocked drains.
'Are we talking about one body or two,' a detective asked. Nilsen replied 'Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978. I'll tell you everything.'
Within days he had confessed to fifteen gruesome murders over a period of four years. His victims, all young homosexual men, had never been missed. Brian Masters, with Nilsen's full cooperation, has produced a unique study of a murderer's mind, essential reading for true crime aficionados.
Dennis Nilsen was arrested in February 1983 after the plumbing in his suburban London apartment was found to be clogged with body parts. ``Are we talking about one body or two,'' a detective asked. Nilsen, a 35-year-old civil servant, replied: ``Fifteen or sixteen, since 1978. I'll tell you everything.'' Besides confessing to the police, Nilsen wrote extensively to Masters from prison and offered him his journals. Using these sources and his considerable journalistic skill, the author ( Moliere ) fashions a stunning account of the largest mass murderer in British history. Nilsen is depicted as a lonely, articulate man who met men in pubs and cafes, invited them to his flat for drinks and killed them, fearing that they would leave the next day. Nilsen's trial was brief and expert testimony cast little light on the grisly events (Nilsen dismembered his victims, stuffying body parts under floorboards or boiling off flesh in a soup pot). Noting that the plea of insanity was not accepted either for Nilsen or for Jeffrey Dahmer, who was convicted of similar acts in the U.S. in 1992, Masters suggests that the current legal definitions of insanity need reworking. Photos not seen by PW. True Crime Book Club selection.