Former Aylesbury detective releases seventh book covering Jack the Ripper

Steven uses his experiences as a former Thames Valley detective to write books that mix fact and fiction

By James Lowson
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 3:58 pm

Former Aylesbury detective, Steven Thrift uses his own experiences as a detective to create fictional reimaginings of the crime world.

During his time in the police force Steven experienced 'sliding doors' moments and the lasting impact of these decisions heavily influenced his writing style.

Steven, who lives in Aylesbury, had a confrontation with Michael Telling, a dangerous man who murdered his wife in his Bucks mansion in the 80s.

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Steven Thrift, right, at Sunday's book launch

Carrying a gun at the time, Steven could have shot the man who would go on to behead his wife.

Steven confesses this is something which still plays on his mind, and has had a substantial role in the way he approaches his writing.

He spent 10 years in the police force and uses these influences to create books that mesh fiction and non-fiction.

Steven likes to refer to his writing as 'faction', a combination of factual storytelling, combined with fictional concepts.

Jack by Steven Thrift

Each book is on a topic that Steven covered or had some involvement in from his police days.

His latest book exemplifies this theme.

Called, Jack, Steven is retelling the Whitechapel murders, as if they took place in 1988 rather than 1888.

Jack the Ripper remains one of the best-known villains in UK history and the murders attributed to the never-identified serial killer remain of great interest to the former Thames Valley Police detective.

Steven Thrift

When the stories were brought to life in a limited series television show, Steven was involved in researching and writing the scripts for the programme.

His best friend, Lewis Collins, acted in the show which also starred Michael Caine.

"I was asked my opinion as everyone was. You had to write down on a piece of paper who you thought Jack the Ripper was and sign it," Steven says.

"We got given 20 envelopes to put our guesses in. Then the police revealed who they thought had done it based on the new evidence, as far as they were concerned.

One of Steven's books chronicling the Kray twins

"I didn't have the same person as them. But I stuck to what I thought, as I'd put a lot of research into it."

Since focusing on writing three years ago, Steven who has dabbled in acting, has written seven books, Jack is his second piece of work to get published.

He's received an endorsement from Fred Cutts a former senior police officer who was based in Whitechapel for the new novel.

Also the book has been hailed by Anita Dobson and Gillian Taylforth who both worked close to Whitechapel in the late 80s, when they were starring in Eastenders.

Steven added: "[Fred] loves the story. It was a bit nerve-wracking to actually give the book to the man in charge of the police then and ask him what he thought.

"I thought he might pick holes in it, but he didn't, he enjoyed the story. It is just that a story, and it should be read as such."

To celebrate the book's launch an event was organised in Whitechapel on Sunday (13 February).

Many of Steven's friends from the show business industry attended, including Football Factory actor, Frank Harper.

Television's Bernie Fineman, was also there, Bernie has developed a strong friendship with Steven, since featuring in three of the former detective's books.

Bernie is an antihero of sorts, in Steven's first trilogy of books which all focused in a fictional retelling of the notorious Kray twins' story.

Bernie, enjoyed the way he was reimagined as a more villainous person, in Steven's fictional reworking of the Krays' organisation.

A key focus for Steven was telling these fictional stories in a responsible way. Referring to Jack, he said: "I've tried to be quite sensitive with it, I tried to not make the story too gory.

"There is some of that, because whoever he was, he wasn't a nice guy.

"But I've tried to be quite sensitive and considered about it, because it would have affected the police who dealt with it and everyone who came into contact with him."

You can order Steven's latest book, Jack, on Amazon now.