The language of crime has a long and venerable history - in fact, the first dictionary of words specifically used by criminals, Hye-Way to the Spittel House, dates from as early as 1531. Jonathon Green is our national expert on slang, and in Crooked Talk he looks at five hundred years of crooks and conmen, from the hedge-creepers and counterfeit cranks of the sixteenth century to the blaggers and burners of the twenty-first. Not to mention a substantial detour behind bars into the world of prisons, and, of course, the swag, the hideouts, the getaway vehicles and allied 'tools of the trade' - not forgetting the cops, peelers, fly cops and all other varieties of the boys in blue.
Arranged thematically, the book shows where particular words came from, how they have evolved and why they mean what they do. If you have ever wondered when the police were first referred to as pigs (the eighteenth century), why prison guards became known as redraws ('warder' backwards), or what precisely the subtle art of dipology involves (pickpocketing), then this book has all the answers.