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Beyond Belief: A Chronicle of Murder and Its Detection
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Beyond Belief: A Chronicle of Murder and Its Detection

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  381 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The Moors murders are the most brutal, senseless, and cold-blooded killings to have occured in Great Britan in many years. Between November 1963, October 1965, Ian Brady, clerk, and Myra Hindley, typist, killed at least three-and possibly as many as five-young people varying in age from ten to seventeen, for no apparent reason.
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published 1967 by Random House
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I was probably too young to have read this book when I did (early teens), but then I don't think you could ever prepare yourself to read a book like this. I remember hearing about the case and when I saw the book I wanted to try and understand how someone, especially a woman, could get involved in such horrific crimes against children.

The four stars isn't because I 'enjoyed' the book, but because it's a well written, though horrifying, look at a topic that is so shocking you don't want to believ
♥ Marlene♥
The Moors Murders are the most brutal, senseless and cold blooded killings to have occurred in Great Britain in many years. Between November 1963 and October 1965, Ian Brady, clerk, and Myra Hindley, typist, killed at least three—and possibly as many as five—young people varying in age from ten to seventeen, for no apparent motive. On May 6, 1966 the two murderers were sentenced to life imprisonment (capital punishment has been abolished in England). Beyond Belief, an uncanny feat of re-creation ...more
A brilliant "nonfiction novel" about the Moors Murders -- and in its own style, not Truman Capote's! Undercelebrated and fantastic.
Aug 16, 2009 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the genre with strong stomachs.
Shelves: true-crime
True crime fans, you've never read one quite like this. Emlyn Williams' searing true-life account of the "Moors Murderers" Ian Brady and Myra Hindley exceeds "In Cold Blood" for excellence in this genre. Based on fact, this is a harrowing story composed using equal parts court records, interviews, and the author's speculation. It's blood-curdling down to the last page. Myra Hindley died in 2002; Brady lives on in prison. If you need more current details, HBO's fantastic production of "Longford" ...more
Sophie Carsenat
I first read this in 1985 - a gift from my stepfather who encouraged my interests, no matter how morbid. Sort of a 'nonfiction novel', Williams writes half in straight reportage, and half from the imagined point of view of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. There is a slight danger with this; it made the otherwise revolting crimes seem a little glamourized to fifteen-year-old me. The dashing young psychopath and his bleached bride. Re-reading it later I recognized the false sheen that adolescence puts ...more
Paul E.
This book is completely out of date.Both factually and with it's immensely patronising, insulting and confusing method of trying to recreate the Yorkshire accent and dialect. It was actually embarrassing to read and somehow reduced the horror of the account.
I wanted to find out about this case as it all happened around the time i was born. I don't feel any the wiser.
This was a hard book to read. The subject definitely was beyond belief. But the book was published in 1967, 18 years before Hindley and then Brady confessed to the Moors murders (even tho they had been in prison since 1966). So there was a lot of speculation (most of the book was speculation) about what actually happened, and I got the feeling that the author took Hindley's version as "truth" when in 1985 it was revealed that she was much more involved than she had let on. He was (is - he is sti ...more
Classic true crime account of the Moors murders, a string of child murders in North England in the 1960s perpetrated by Ian Brady and his girlfriend Myra Hindley. I decided to read it after seeing it on David Peace's list of the ten best works of UK true crime. (Peace's Red Riding Quartet is hands down the best work of crime fiction I've ever read.) Listening to Throbbing Gristle's horrifying recording ("song" would be a stretch) Very Friendly further piqued my interest. Beyond Belief is bleak a ...more
Sheryl Roberts
People have criticised this book for the author's style of writing, but i find that exactly the opposite it true. I like Emlyn Williams' style as it is unique and i feel it gives the narrative a kind of driving urgency.
This book is a tour de force as a study of human evil. It is well researched and planned, and i recommend it unreservedly.
Lauren Beckett
Don't read this - hugely outdated as it was written before two of the murders were known about so it's not comprehensive.

Also pretends to be factual with a disclosure at the start but then adopts a really odd style, oftentimes emulating Brady's voice and pretending he thinks he's a king. Those sections make for very weird reading and are dreadful.

Redeemed slightly by the presentation of the case at the end. One Of Your Own by Carol Ann Lee is much more balanced and is written really well with up
Carol Mcleod
This was the first book that I ever read on the infamous Moors Murderers and I must say that it has had me gripped and intrigued on the subject now since I first read it 26 years ago!
It was a good read and it fascinated me. However, it is not the best book that I have read on the subject, but it was my first and one of the few books on the subject available back then. Knowing now from what I have read and researched over the years, I now know that there are a lot of inaccuracies in the book, but
Simon Zohhadi
Read this as a teenager. Excellent account of the infamous Moors murderers.
Pure evil... but a very level balanced book.
Barbara Green

This is the second time I've read Beyond Belief - the first was shortly after it's publication. Sadly I was less impressed this time around. The book is harrowing dealing as it does with The Moor's Murders but it is also in my opinion slightly pretentious. One of the reasons is because Williams gives the characters dialogue and he uses badly crafted dialect. I think if he'd just stuck to telling the story it would have been better. The story is so horrific it didn't really need any embellishmen
difficult to read in more ways than one. The style takes some getting used to but also the details of the murders is pretty hideous. As someone who did not grow up in the era of the murders but remembers the publicity when Pauline Reades body was finally found I didn't really know all of the facts except that two evil people, one of them a woman, had killed children for kicks. This made things clearer but documented things that I really found disturbing to read, but i'm glad I did.
This is probably one of the most accurate and thorough accounts of the Moors Murders ever, and also one of the best True Crime books ever written.

Even more haunting when you know the area. Williams really delved into the psyche, particularly of Hindley, the devout catholic who met a scottish clerk and gave up her soul willingly.
One of those books that chills you to the bone because it is all horribly true.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
The Moors Murders have a special place in the memories of those living in the shadow of the Pennines around Oldham and Ashton in the 60s. I have vivid memories of the bodies being brought down to the coroner's offices and the whole, grim story being slowly revealed. This excellent book tells that story and manages to capture the atmosphere of those times in a dramatic manner.
Paul Valente
An interesting attempt to cover these notorious crimes, the author creates a part fictionalised account of the perpetrators motives and madness. It was written contemporaneously though so ignores the developments in the case in the eighties, thus undermining the timeline and plotting somewhat. It is very well written though, far superior to most true crime books.
Sep 15, 2012 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to read about The Moors Murderers
Shelves: true-crime
I have read this book a lot over the years, and I seem to read something new every time. This is a very interesting book. I can never put it down when I am reading it. This copy was published in memory of Emlyn Williams who died at his flat in Dovehouse Street, Chelsea, London on 25 September 1987 aged 81, from complications from cancer.
A harrowing account of the brutal Moors Murders in the 1960s. Great for all those true crime fans. Williams entertains with a fast pace, but is sensitive to the victims and seems to search for explanations about how Myra Hindley and Ian Brady could become so violent and sink to such degradation.
I vividly remember the events of those years. Emlyn Williams enters the world of Brady and Hindley and cinematically recreates the horror, suspense and grief. Not an easy book to read, even forty-six years after its publication. Still worthwhile.
This book is about Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the Moor's murderers.
The book covers the murders, their perpetrators and the detection that led to Brady and Hindley's arrest. Harrowing read.
Well written, but extremely disturbing. I will definitely never forget this book, it haunts my mind.
Bit disappointed in this. Too many phonetic accents. Great last section though.
David Bosworth
great read very haunting. very sad.
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Born George Emlyn Williams in Pen-y-Ffordd, Mostyn, Flintshire in northeast Wales on November 1905, he lived in a rural village in which Welsh was spoken until he was 12 years old, when his family moved to an English-speaking town, Connah's Quay. It changed the course of his life as it was there that the teacher Sarah Grace Cooke, recognizing his literary talent, encouraged him and helped him win ...more
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