This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 25 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 11 May 2024


The shocking true story of one of Britain’s most secretive, groundbreaking and successful police covert operations

Bristol, 1979.

An attacker roams the streets…

Young women are warned not to go out alone…

Enter the Decoys.

For several years, a prolific predator haunted Bristol. Avon and Somerset Police had tried all their usual tactics to catch the ‘Clifton Rapist’, and public pressure was mounting.

In 1979, a daring new plan was introduced, unlike anything previously attempted by a UK police force. A small group of young female officers – some aged just 18 – put their lives on the line, walking the quiet residential roads late at night, acting as bait.

Drawing on in-depth research and first-hand interviews with the women at the heart of the operation, Decoy is a dramatic retelling of one of the most groundbreaking agent provocateur stings in British history.

The shocking true story of one of Britain’s most secretive, groundbreaking and successful police covert operations

Bristol, 1979.


Available Editions

ISBN 9780008666828
PRICE £4.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 2 members

Featured Reviews

I wasn't aware of the decoy's or the crime that pushed the decoy's to be put in place but to read this and see the truth behind it is both very scary and in awe of the bravely of the female officers who put their life's on the line to protect young women.

Was this review helpful?

Decoy is the fascinating story of a massive, but largely unsung, police undercover operation in Bristol in 1979. A vicious predator is targeting lone women and with the Avon and Somerset Police under immense public pressure and the offender seemingly always being one step ahead drastic new tactics are brought into play. Under a cloak of strict secrecy,not least as the possibility of the offender being a policeman has been suggested, a small group of policewomen ,some of them teenagers and with very little experience,are used as bait.

This is a fascinating insight into a squad of extremely brave young people doing a very tough and dangerous job, often in below zero winter weather conditions. In Robert Murphy's capable hands this is very far from a dry documentary-type true crime story,not least as he's met and become close to many of the extraordinary people involved. When he describes the young policewoman turning off of the main road and into the dark and empty side streets that are the predator's hunting ground,just hoping that their "spotters" have their back and can actually see them, the tension is palpable.

Without resorting to spoilers,despite this being a true crime book; the story is told in 2 timelines and there's also a twist at the end,the whole thing is quite a story. The sexism of the era is front and centre with the patronising ,bawdy comments and leering continuing even after the female members of the team have been commended for their bravery.

A fascinating story about an extraordinary group of very brave people and a groundbreaking police operation.

Was this review helpful?