The Independent Magazine for Freemasons
By: Mike Neville
With a title like this who would not want to have a read! Mike Neville is a well-known writer and presenter. He was a serving police officer with the Met and also an officer in the Territorial Army. His great love has been to conduct walks and visits to places of Masonic and criminal activity (such as Jack the Ripper sites) and also to provide presentations to lodges throughout the country and farther afield. His background made him particularly well suited for this. He speaks well and provides interesting and informative talks. His latest book is jam-packed with fascinating insights into murder and mayhem and the involvement of the Masons who proved themselves somewhat light as men of sound judgement and strict morals as well as the Masons who chased and caught them to the Masons who tried and condemned them. As Mike points out in the first chapter, the story of the third degree is a story of murder, criminal investigation and subsequent trial and retribution. Some Masons have applied this to their real lives. The titles of over 50 chapters are fascinating – ‘Lord Wharton, Grand Master, Traitor and Flasher’, ‘The wicked Lord, Grand Master, killer and vandal’, ‘The strange case of the cross-dressing Mason, soldier and spy’, ‘Mutiny on the Bounty; the Masonic links’, ‘Jack the Ripper – Jack the Mason?’, ‘The Mason who applied to be the hangman’, ‘Worshipful Master, Worshipful Villain; the silver bullion robbery’, and ‘Evil Man, Evil Criminal, Evil Freemason; brother Kenneth Noye’. There are illustrations throughout to let you see the various antagonists. Mike has also provided a list of all the lodges mentioned in the stories so you can have a look and see if anyone from your own lodge has been involved in any of the events described. It looks like every London lodge is there – and why should we be surprised when the Craft attracted men who were police officers, lawyers, judges, scientists, politicians, writers – and even murderers and villains. This is not a quick read. It is jam packed with information. However, I think the reader will read one story and then put the book down to read another story another time. Mike is not afraid to tackle the old criticism that Freemasonry has been a cover for organised crime or that Freemasons have covered up for each other. He clearly discounts general conspiracy but agrees that the detractors will never accept this. He argues therefore for openness which will counteract conspiracy theorists and unscrupulous journalists. However, a few Masons have been wicked and greedy – such is human nature.