Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of Playboys and Mayfair Men
Cover image of Playboys and Mayfair Men
Share this Title:

Playboys and Mayfair Men

Crime, Class, Masculinity, and Fascism in 1930s London

Angus McLaren

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

The shocking true story of a diamond theft gone wrong.

In December 1937, four respectable young men in their twenties, all products of elite English public schools, conspired to lure to the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel a representative of Cartier, the renowned jewelry firm. There, the "Mayfair men" brutally bludgeoned diamond salesman Etienne Bellenger and made off with eight rings that today would be worth approximately half a million pounds. Such well-connected young people were not supposed to appear in the prisoner’s dock at the Old Bailey. Not surprisingly, the popular newspapers had a field…

The shocking true story of a diamond theft gone wrong.

In December 1937, four respectable young men in their twenties, all products of elite English public schools, conspired to lure to the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel a representative of Cartier, the renowned jewelry firm. There, the "Mayfair men" brutally bludgeoned diamond salesman Etienne Bellenger and made off with eight rings that today would be worth approximately half a million pounds. Such well-connected young people were not supposed to appear in the prisoner’s dock at the Old Bailey. Not surprisingly, the popular newspapers had a field day responding to the public’s insatiable appetite for news about the upper-crust rowdies and their unsavory pasts.

In Playboys and Mayfair Men, Angus McLaren recounts the violent robbery and sensational trial that followed. He uses the case as a hook to draw the reader into a revelatory exploration of key interwar social issues, from masculinity and cultural decadence to broader anxieties about moral decay. In his gripping depiction of Mayfair’s celebrity high life, McLaren describes the crime in detail, as well as the police investigation, the suspects, their trial, and the aftermath of their convictions.

Jump to
Quick Add
Playboys and Mayfair Men

Angus McLaren

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Inventing the Pinkertons; or, Spies, Sleuths, Mercenaries, and Thugs
Inventing the Pinkertons; or, Spies, Sleuths, Mercenaries, and Thugs

S. Paul O'Hara

$32.00
Quick Add
Binding Type
Cover image of Murder and the Making of English CSI
Murder and the Making of English CSI

Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton

$27.00
Quick Add
Murder and the Making of English CSI

Ian Burney and Neil Pemberton

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Notorious Mrs. Clem
The Notorious Mrs. Clem

Wendy Gamber

$21.00
Quick Add
The Notorious Mrs. Clem

Wendy Gamber

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Mad-Doctors in the Dock
Mad-Doctors in the Dock

Joel Peter Eigen

$42.00
Quick Add
Mad-Doctors in the Dock

Joel Peter Eigen

Publication Date
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Replayed
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins
with a foreword by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum and an interview by T. L. Taylor

$50.00
Quick Add
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins
with a foreword by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum and an interview by T. L. Taylor

Publication Date: June 6, 2023
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

a detailed contextual analysis of the period and its obsessions.

I found Playboys & Mayfair Men riveting.

[McLaren] succeeds in extracting from a seedy tale some novel insights into the culture of pre-war Britain.

McLaren uses an impressive range of sources, both primary and secondary, to plunge deeply into the world of Mayfair men not only in the 1930s but also in the postwar world. In a sense, they were the successors of the flappers and the Bright Young Things of the 1920s.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
272
ISBN
9781421423470
Illustration Description
9 b&w photos, 1 map
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I
1. The Robbery
2. The Investigation
3. The Suspects
4. The Trial
5. The Aftermath
Part II
6. Pain
7. Masculinity
8. Crime
9. Class
10. Fascism
Epilogue
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Angus McLaren

Angus McLaren is emeritus professor of history at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History, Impotence: A Cultural History, and A Prescription for Murder: The Victorian Serial Killings of Dr. Thomas Neill Cream.