Angus McLarenJan 23, 2018
Playboys and Mayfair Men
Crime, Class, Masculinity, and Fascism in 1930s London
Johns Hopkins University Press 2017
In December of 1937, four men robbed a representative of the diamond company Cartier of eight diamond rings in the Hyde Park Hotel. What made this crime unique was the identity of the perpetrators: all four men were from well-respected, wealthy London families. The trial and eventual punishment of these four men sent the London presses into a frenzy. In his brilliant historical analysis, Professor Angus McLaren (Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria) documents the crime, trial, and tribulations of these four Mayfair men. In this analysis Playboys and Mayfair Men: Crime, Class, Masculinity, and Fascism in 1930s London (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), McLaren discusses how this particular crime and the perpetrators involved intersected with larger societal forces of 1930s Britain such as appropriate sex roles, class differences and anxieties, crime and punishment as well as growing fascistic ideas. Significantly, these men and others like them were referred to as "playboys" decades before the 1950s---which is largely regarded as the era that the playboy emerged onto the social scene. Anyone interested in masculinity and gender studies generally will be fascinated by the crimes of these playboys.