David Swindle, a retired Scottish detective, delivers a lengthy lecture about a fairly familiar collection of serial killers with the addition of one – Peter Tobin – who he was responsible for bringing to justice. Swindle, who spent 34 years in the Glasgow CID, is about to embark on a 100 date tour which will take him all over the United Kingdom and will end on 10 December in Plymouth. This one night stand at the Adelphi was the launch of the tour and he had attracted a nearly full house of people wishing to hear what he had to say. It was a bit like listening to Mark McManus who played Taggart with whom Swindle in his Glasgow days used to drink in the same pub. He rambled through the stories of a collection of famous mass murderers starting with Jack the Ripper and moving on to Harold Shipman, Peter Sutcliffe, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley and Fred and Rose West about of all of whom he had nothing much that was new to say. When he got to the case of Tobin, however, things got rather more interesting although not all he had to say one wished to hear. What might be bearable between hard covers tends to sound ghoulish as part of a lecture to an ice cream and glasses of wine consuming audience.
His talk is interspersed with some video clips and lists of what a detective needs to do when building up a case which will have to stand up when the defence attacks it in court. The latter was interesting. He described serial killers as cunning, conniving, controlling and clever, killers who often like to keep souvenirs of their crimes and his account of Operation Anagram which led and resulted in the arrest of Tobin bears all that out. It made chilling listening. Whether this show is a good night out depends on the individual and his or her taste for learning more about serial killers than one does on the endless television series or in newspapers. Swindle – who comes across as a kind of MacVera – was warmly applauded at the end and lots of the audience took up his invitation to be photographed with him in the foyer in front of a credits board so clearly such folk exist. He also asked for questions to be sent to him during the interval which he would answer at the beginning of the second half and then conspicuously did nothing of the sort.
For details of the tour Google The Makings of a Murderer.