Billy Stokes book ‘The Riddle Exposed’ is looking for a publisher (October 2020)

William Stokes kindly provided me a copy of The Riddle Exposed : The Whiskey Firebombing’s Link to the McCulkin Family Murders.  He has printed twenty copies (CPX Printing & Logistics) and I was privileged to get one, as he seeks a major publisher, so it can get its deserved major release.

To those unfamiliar with the Whiskey story, Billy Stokes, was a central character in the riddle that was the Whiskey massacre.

Billy knocked about with a group of misfits called the Clockwork Orange gang. They were important because John Stuart, although not naming them individually, threw out multiple hints to reporter Brian Bolton, that this group would firebomb an empty club first and then hit the Whiskey Au Go Go.

And that’s exactly what happened.

One of the gang in particular, Tom Hamilton, was linked to the Whiskey fire. Jim Finch named Hamilton as accompanying Finch and McCulkin when the Whiskey was hit.

Stokes reveals Hamilton and Finch had known each other a lot longer than anyone thought, at least 10 years. 

Stokes knew all the players; the gang, Billy McCulkin, serial killer Vince O’Demsey, the Whiskey management and many others. His voice needs to be heard, as he not only knew them, he correctly linked the McCulkin’s murders and rapes to the Whiskey when he edited the Port News.

He named O’Demsey and Dubois as the McCulkin killers and gave a motive, Mrs McCulkin knew too much. Stokes published this in the mid 70s. After being ignored for more than 40 years, Stoke’s thesis proved correct when O’Demsey and Dubois were jailed for life.

In his book Stokes provides a vivid portrait of how his editorship of the Port News came about, the personalities of  the aforementioned main characters and those on the periphery.

One of these was perjurer Arthur Murdoch, whose evidence was used to convict Stuart. Stokes describes Murdoch as, ‘so sex crazed that he would practically root an empty jam tin’.

Stoke’s has a lot more to contribute, including how Hamilton’s and his life entwined after the McCulkin murders.  Stokes is a great writer who has a book published by MacMillan. I look forward to the next instalment.