The Black Widow… a story telling of a woman who has lived her entire life within the confines of East End Gangland. A fascinating premise, a story told by a female gangster.

As expected, the book was written in the vein of a novice, true to reality, however not a work of literary genius. This book gave an insight into how gang life can be thrilling and intoxicating, but also balanced this with the consequences of prison and death.

Linda Calvey is clearly a passionate woman, firm in her beliefs, and the book is testament to her truth. The stories of her blunt nature and growth as a woman were inspiring and provided a human element to the criminal world. The impact on her family was also well documented, outlining the complexity of working as a gangster and balancing family life, without glorifying the nature of crime.

Some elements of the book, however, appeared contrived and exaggerated, such as the countless references to high profile criminals and their ‘love’ of Linda. Although these accounts were Linda’s own, the volume and emphasis on these characters gave the book a feel of gimmicks rather than glamour.

Ultimately, this is a solid, easy read, providing a glimpse into the world of crime from a woman’s perspective, although it lacked the intensity and gritty nature of a sublime gangland story.

Rekha Duggal 3/3

The Black Widow by Linda Calvey
Mirror Books 9781912624591 hbk Jul 2019