My objectives on this website are to provide up-to-date information about my research interests, and publications. After a career in the biological sciences, my interests have shifted in recent years towards historical research. This transformation was prompted by unearthing (metaphorically) some ancestors who, during their lifetimes, were sufficiently newsworthy or literate to leave archival material of value to the history of crime detection in Victorian London, and to aspects of the history of the First World War. On the first of these topics my book "The Chieftain: Victorian True Crime through the Eyes of a Scotland Yard Detective" was published by The History Press in October 2011. My second historical book, which has the working title "Charlie Payne's Hatbox" is currently 'work in progress'.
Comments from Reviews and Features of 'The Chieftain'
" As well as a wonderful insight into crime in London during this important period in Victorian crime history, the author relates many other aspects of the Metropolitan Police and other parts of London life that were occurring at the time. The book is really interesting throughout, flows well and is thoroughly recommended." (Alan Moss. Amazon.co.uk May 2014)
" If you have an interest in Victorian crime, Victorian police, or simply enjoy a great non-fiction book, you should do yourself a favor and grab this. Rarely does the descendant of a historically significant person also turn out to be a fastidious researcher and talented writer, but Chris Payne is all of these things. The book was a true treat and worth more than the pittance I paid for it." (Tom Wescott. Amazon.com January 2014)
" ... superbly researched. Readers will find it offers great insights into crime and policing ... a more than adequate replacement for detective fiction." (Rohan McWilliam, History Today August 2012)
".... a gripping account of the Scotland Yard detective's life and the crimes he was instrumental in solving (among them some of the most notorious of the late 19th century)."(Claire Vaughan, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine June 2012)
"Victorian Super Sleuth of the Yard....a brilliant detective who brought murderers to justice...and ended up in the dock himself." (Simon Edge, Daily Express 17 October 2011)
"...an exciting read for anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller." (Family History Monthly, January 2012)
"As an avid reader of crime novels and true crime alike I would thoroughly recommend this one....I much liked the way that the crimes and George Clarke's life are put into the perspective of the social and political history of the time." (Dr Martin Richards at Amazon.co.uk)
"A well researched factual book about an early Scotland Yard Detective, which flows like a novel....I would recommend this book to any one who enjoys a historical read." ('Anngenie' at Amazon.co.uk)
"The book is a must for the serious scholar of policing and life in Victorian England" (G C Thorburn at Amazon.com)
"Chris Payne has written a fascinating account of the life of one of the Detectives who became embroiled in the 'cause celebre' of the 19th century police corruption scandal, The Turf Fraud affair....I heartily recommend this extremely well researched and written book." (Chris Forester, Police History Society Newsletter March 2013)
"I couldn't put it down....This would make a gripping television series." ('Dainty' at Waterstones.com)
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I have recently added two new titles to my portfolio of talks. Please go to 'Talks' to see the details of the topics on which I can now offer 45-60 minute talks to audiences in the United Kingdom.