In December 1910, an armed gang of Latvian revolutionaries attempted to rob a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch, in the City of London.
In their escape, they killed three policemen and crippled another two.
After a manhunt of nearly three weeks, police were tipped off by an informant that two of the gang were hiding in a house in Sidney Street, in London's East End.
So began the siege and a gun-battle involving both the police and the army, and more controversially Home Secretary Winston Churchill, which ended with a burning house and two dead gunmen.
The final twist was to come with the release of the man who killed three English policemen and lived to become a mass murderer under Lenin and Stalin as head of the all-powerful Soviet Cheka.
Donald Rumbelow has drawn upon rare documentary and eyewitness material, including files unavailable to previous historians, to present a lucid and exciting account of these extraordinary events and of the trial that followed.
The result is all the more remarkable when one realises that the author rescued all the contemporary police documents and photographs about this case from destruction.