Indie publisher The History Press has scooped a book on the forgotten female gangsters from the last four centuries found in the archives of Holloway Prison.
Publishing director Laura Perehinec acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, to Queens of the Underworld – A Journey into the Lives of Female Gangsters by Caitlin Davies from Robert Kirby at United Agents. The book will be published in October 2021.
The synopsis reads: “These were the women who were once Public Enemy No.1, from Moll Cutpurse who ruled the Jacobean underworld, to Ann Duck from the 18th century Black Boy Alley Gang, from Mary Carr, the first Queen of the Forty Thieves, to Lilian Goldstein, the Bobbed-Haired Bandit of the 1920s.
“The book includes women whose true stories have never been told before, including Emily Laurence, the elegantly dressed Victorian diamond thief; Lady Jack the 1920s Eton-cropped gang girl and her partner in crime Queenie Day, the Terror of Soho; gold smuggler Norah Price, the post-war Queen of the Contraband Coast; and ‘Zippy’ Zoe Progl, Britain’s top female burglar of the 1960s.”
Perehinec said: “I’m delighted to be working with Caitlin on a book which brings these women out of the shadows. Her research within the archives at Holloway Prison has already revealed some formidable characters with more to come. They are part of a forgotten criminal aristocracy and their stories deserve to reach a wider audience.”
Davies received a grant from the Authors’ Foundation, administered by the Society of Authors in order to research the book. Her previous book Bad Girls: a History of Rebels and Renegades was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing.
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