A lot of books have been written about the Kray Twins over the years , from their biography “The Profession of Violence ” by John Pearson to their own accounts “My Story”, “Our Story” and “Born Fighter” not to mention various other associates memoirs but I ve never read anything quite as personal as “Inside the Kray Family ” by their cousins Joe Lee and Rita Smith.
Stripping away the glitz and the glamour , the legend and myth , it invites you right into the heart of an East End family through their permanently open front door as if you were their for a cuppa tea and a chat with your own relatives to reminisce about the past.
Its a side of the Krays and their family you havnt heard of before and brings to life exactly what their childhood was like but also of the strong family unit that surrounded them .
It gives insight into their mother, Violet s , harrowing and heartbreaking in places personal story – of a girl falling in love with the wrong man , elopement, estrangement from her family and then the devastating death of her daughter , only a few hours old , after a severe beating from her husband that caused premature labour and her subsequent depression afterwards to which the doctor shockingly advised get pregnant again quick or end up in the asylum ……
She chose to get pregnant again … and along came the twins. …..
Inside the Krays gives a fascinating insight into the family from the colorful characters of the grandparents Nanny and Grandad Lee , the history of mental illness in the family , and surprisingly shows that the twins actually had very good male role models in their life who worked hard jobs to provide for their families .
The dual narrative works well from cousin Joes older cousin and brother Charlies friends viewpoint of being very straight with the facts , with a hint of disapproval, telling it as it is contrasting with Rita as the adored only girl who adored the twins as much as she adored them and how she was , I believe like the rest of the woman in the family as opposed to the men , protected from the rumours that dogged them.
Ritas story is extremely emotive and I was near tears during her final chapter as she describes her battle to believe , her denial , how the family were left broken when the truth finally came out and how no matter how much she was hurting and in pain , there was no way she could stop loving those boys….
Of all the Krays books I’ve read this definitely has to be up there with the best . If you are looking for truth …then this is the book to turn to as it provides many unseen photos and a few unknown facts .