Monday 10 August 2015

What's Tha Up To This Time : More Memories of a Sheffield Bobby by Martyn Johnson

Martyn Johnson's What's Tha Up To This Time? continues his wonderful stories about policing during the 1960s and 1970s. 
As with his previous two volumes, the best selling What's Tha Up To? and What's Tha Up To Nah?, this book is written from the heart, not so much nostalgia as a genuine feeling for the people, animals, places and history of Sheffield. 
From naked young ladies at Wentworth Woodhouse to suspicious scrapyards and second-hand shops, shoplifters, burglars and pickpockets, Martyn takes you on an amazing journey through an almost lost world of crime and characters. 
Meet George and Albert Bloggs, Sadistic Sid, Mr Cellarman, Twirls the key man, Mr Furnaceman, Mr Handcuff-man; and not forgetting Big Ginge and the most glamorous of all, 'Diana Dors'. 
Why not let Martyn tell you about his hilarious 'contemporaneous' court experience and the day he became Lester Piggot and a very reluctant sea fisherman. 
Whether it's the story of the dodgy unisex haircut, the amystery of the lost fingers or insights into the Dog and Partridge characters or Banners Department Store, there's something of interest for everyone inside this book. 
Humour apart, Martyn's empathy and feeling for the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire shines through the pages, including some sad and difficult cases and times.

What's Tha Up To This Time is Martyn Johnson's third book in his series and was published by Pen and Sword books on 30 November 2014 . I reviewed his first book; What's Tha Up To in July 2011, and the second; What's Tha Up To Nah in November of the same year.

This latest book is just as well written and enjoyable as the first two. I have especially liked the humour that Martyn displays throughout the book, even when he has to deal with some quite serious and difficult crimes and issues.

It is Sheffield and the people who inhabit Martyn's beat that are the real stars of his story. He describes the area and its colourful population so well, really bringing to life a wide range of suspicious and comedic characters.

In this book, Martyn has moved up the ranks and is now a Detective - a position that he finds somewhat difficult at first. He's used to being a Bobby on the beat, in a uniform and well-known. As a Detective he finds himself in some really unsavoury places dealing with some very unusual crimes.

Life in Sheffield in the 60s and 70s wasn't always easy, but the sense of community spirit really shines through in Martyn's voice.

Martyn is a born storyteller, I've enjoyed this series very much

My thanks to Pen and Sword who sent my copy for review.

Martyn Johnson was born at Darfield, the son of a coal miner. Leaving school at the age of fifteen, his first job was as a blacksmith. 
His work changed dramatically four years later when he joined the Sheffield City Police Force where he served as a 'beat bobby' until 1969. 
A two-year spell in CID followed but, missing grassroots policing, he returned to the beat for a further seven years. 
Passionate about local history, Martyn is a well-known metal detector and has appeared on many BBC Radio Sheffield programmes talking about his hobby. 
A long-time resident of Wentworth village, he also assisted and advised Catherine Bailey when she was researching her best selling book, Black Diamonds.

Find out more at his website
Follow him on Twitter @whatsthaupto


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