Knifing the Famous!

ABOUT Carolyn Allen

Carolyn Allen
I am a midwife, counsellor and therapist who helped introduce the work of American psychologist Carl Rogers to the UK. 

I am also an artist who painted an eighty foot mural of the River Thames in Dolphin Square, London, and who has exhibited in both the UK and Australia, a pi More...



John Watson was a pioneer British plastic/reconstructive surgeon, operating originally on 'The Guineapigs' - pilots who had been shot down in flames during WW2 and grossly disfigured - who rose to the top of his field with clients ranging from Lord Lucan and a wife of the Kray Brothers, to Lady Churchill and members of the Royal Household.

This is an intimate, emotionally complex, portrait of an archetypal man of his generation who was proud, ambitious, dutiful and enquiring, and yet ultimately private and even secretive, as recorded from the inside in his own words, and from the outside as he was observed by his daughter Carolyn Ann Allen, full of sharp, funny and extraordinary anecdotes as he lived under the shadow of one immense tragedy and one equally towering question - did he operate on Lord Lucan a second time immediately before he disappeared after the murder of his children's nanny Sandra Rivett?

The book is about my father who died in 2009 and was a pioneer in plastic / reconstructive surgery. In his later years he told me about his experiences in India, Burma and the Far East during the war and I wanted to capture both those and my impressions of him.

"I just found this book fascinating, in small ways, like entering a secret garden. Carolyn Allen captures her father as a person so well - and indeed he captures himself pretty well too. The book is full of quirky little stories which I found endearing, intriguing and constantly surprising. It's a wonderful book, very hard to categorise. You almost feel like you have been chatting with John Watson for hours, perhaps sitting in his idyllic garden as it got dark, which must have been a highly entertaining experience as he was a superb raconteur. Well, he was probably more of a 'ranconteur' - somebody you meet by chance who captivates you for an evening, and then moves on to the rest of his life. I think he would have been very proud of his daughter in writing this, but he may well not have openly shown that he was," Tim Roux, author of 'Missio' and 'The Dance of the Pheasodile'.