Tony's Reviews > The Crust on Its Uppers

The Crust on Its Uppers by Derek Raymond
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's review
Dec 23, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection
Read in December, 2009

Raymond, Derek. THE CRUST ON ITS UPPERS. (1962). *. First published in 1962, the author (born Robin Cook in 1931; aka used so as not be confused with the real Robin Cook) tells the story of three men and their failed deal to distribute counterfit money in England that was printed in Russia. Two of the three men were supposedly from the British upper classes and flunked out of the best British public schools and have taken up a trade that only requires a large degree of street smarts. Their trade involves a series of scams, heists, and crooked deals carried out mostly in the Chelsea and Soho areas of London. The action takes place in the sixties, when London was in full swing. Aside from being terribly dated, the book is written in mostly uncomprehensible Cockney rhyming slang. Although there is a glossary, it becomes tedious to flip back and forth in order to understand what is really going on. If you are a student of Cockney slang, you will find this book to be a veritable mine of that genre. The narrator, who remains unnamed throughout, tells the story, and how the gang of three manage to move from petty crimes and card-sharking, to sales of stolen goods – selling hot tape recorders in Spain – to an ultimate deal in counterfit five-pound notes. It is written in the style of the “hip” sixties, and this, together with the preponderance of slang, manages to date the tale to its extreme detriment. Today it seems quaint, but irrelevant. This is for hard-core nostalgia buffs only; certainly not for me.

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