New Kray twins book to explore lives of gangsters 'aside from the crimes'

Notorious Ron and Reg Kray at Cedars Court in 1965 where they were living. Picture: Kray family

Notorious Ron and Reg Kray at Cedars Court in 1965 where they were living. - Credit: Kray family

A specialist on the Kray twins has penned a book on the gangster's stories which are often left untold. 

Jacky Hyams' new book - Vicious, Elegant Bastards - is on the infamous brothers who ran criminal activities from their mum's terraced cottage in the East End's Vallance Road in the 1950s and 60s.

She said it is "for people who want to know more about the Krays aside from the crimes". 

"It’s for people who are more interested in the Krays, their families, it's not just a crime book,” she added. 

Growing up in East London, Jacky said she has personal memories of the Krays.

She said: “My dad knew them. They approached him saying: ‘Could you write a letter for us for the court?’ So he wrote this letter saying they were well behaved good boys. 

“They did come back to him and ask him to join them. My father was far too smart. But they kept my parents on their list for parties.  

Most Read

“My mum would tell me all about it and how she met them and how they are, how polite they were. All these things resonated through my childhood, but I didn't carry an interest into them when I left home.

“What makes [the Krays] interesting for me started in 2012. [I saw] images of Frances Shea on her wedding day to Reggie Kray. She was so beautiful, so stunning. This big question popped up in my head: ‘How come nobody knows anything about her?’” 

This led Jacky to research into Frances, and later write her first book on the Krays called Frances Kray - The Tragic Bride. This research later fed into Vicious, Elegant Bastards. 

Jacky said: “Once you get into the story, really, there are always so many different angles.

"I found that other people come to you with ideas about other things that have happened. And I discovered certain things that weren't widely known.” 

The Kray twins still garner interest almost over 20 years after their deaths, particularly in east London where the twins lived. 

Jacky said: “I understand the people who get together to celebrate them, because it's a chance for them to get together and share stories. 

“And people in the area who don't like them, well, I can understand that. The Krays polarise people. The book is called Vicious, Elegant Bastards, which Ronnie Kray was reputed to have said that, and it does actually sum them up.” 

Vicious, Elegant Bastards: The Truth Behind the Legacy of the Krays is out on March 3.