Item #39750 The Life and Death of Michael X. James SHARP, pseud. Alexander Manson Kinghorn.
The Life and Death of Michael X.


The Life and Death of Michael X.

Waterford, Ireland: Uni Books, 1981. First edition. 8vo. Red boards, titled in gilt. 130pp. + 28pp. photo-insert. Preface by Judge Evan Rees (the presiding judge at Malik’s trial).

Inscribed on the front free endpaper: “Pam with best wishes from the Author”. Kinghorn was the author of several scholarly works on Scottish poetry and English drama (each of the book’s chapters features a Shakespearian epigraph), held numerous academic posts, including at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica (beginning in 1960), and later in life wrote ghost stories, as well as this pseudonymous biography.

The dustwrapper blurb claims it as “The true story of Michael de Freitas alias Abdul Malik alias Michael X, a Trinidadian who became the darling of the London ‘media’ and whose wheel of fortune turned full-circle to carry him down to the death-cell in a Port-of-Spain gaol. The author, who lived for some years in the West Indies, has written about this pasteboard hero who tried to reach the heights but only succeeded in plumbing the depths, with an authority based on personal knowledge of the scene and a scrupulous regard for recorded opinion. The weird, near-surrealistic personality of ‘Michael X’ comes to life again in this definitive account of his rise and fall.”

A fairly straightforward biography, despite the blurb’s sensationalist tone, and illustrated with a good selection of photographs, the last three of which (featuring Joseph Skerritt and Gale Benson) are, like the dustwrapper illustration, somewhat ghoulish.

Offsetting to endpapers, o/w Near Fine in slightly rubbed and lightly edge-worn dw. A fugitive title, not mentioned by John Williams in his more recent biography of Michael X.