The Secret Serial Killer Book Review from @kleffnotes

Kieran Kelly has been the subject of a three year investigation by journalist Robert Mulhern. This two-time convicted killer is believed to have actually killed 31 people. In 1983 Kelly confessed to having killed his cellmate and then went on to say he had killed many more people over roughly 30 years. These claims escaped public scrutiny until 2015, when a former police officer insisted the government had covered up these crimes. With media interest suddenly high a new investigation began and the Metropolitan Police chief at the time, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe committed to re-examining the case. The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story of Kieran Kelly spans two countries and three police forces as they search for the truth.

As both a true crime and English detectives lover I was immediately drawn into this story. I had previously spent two years delving into the history of crime in London during the Victorian period and while Kelly’s crimes and the investigations surrounding them fall closer to the present, it was still something I couldn’t put down. Through eyewitness testimony, Kiernan Kelly’s case has been rebuilt with new evidence from Britain and Ireland, which is full of twists and turns that will keep readers hooked until the very end. The murders Kelly committed are seen as something that would not have wide appeal or interest. The fact that he killed those often identified as drunken vagrants seems to have limited the urge to investigate, which speaks to a cultural issue that arises within true crime topics. Kelly’s hidden crimes show that victims who are considered outside of mainstream society do not often receive the attention they deserve.

When Mulhern first learned of this case he was shocked that as a writer for the London based Irish Post that he had never even heard about these crimes. As he began his own investigation, Mulhern contacted sources that had been close to the original investigation of Kelly, one of whom was Geoff Platt. This former beat cop insisted that he was the only person who truly knew Kelly. He had written his own biography of the serial killer, which makes him the perfect source for firsthand discussions of the subject of this work. What hindered some of Mulhern’s work was the lack of paper evidence, though a number of people were willing to discuss Kelly and their connections to him. Beyond Platt, he also spoke with a detective, Ian Brown, who shared that Kelly had revealed information about unsolved cases when he began confessing to his numerous crimes. This investigation continues to evolve with discussions of Kelly and his crimes, as well as his court appearances. The differing accounts of Kelly and his crimes provided by various men connected to the case shows that it is impossible to take everything at face value when you aren’t sure yourself what is fact and fiction. You can order your copy of The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story of Kieran Kelly today.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog,, and on my kleffnotes YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s