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Underbelly: Squizzy

Underbelly: Squizzy

By Andy Muir.

Les Taylor  wanted to be famous.  He wanted respect. He wanted everyone to know his name.  Instead, they called him Squizzy. This is the epic true story of Australia’s first superstar gangster of the 20th Century – Joseph Theodore Leslie Taylor, known to all as ‘Squizzy’.

In the 1920s, Squizzy Taylor was a household name for all the wrong reasons — armed robbery, fraud, sly grog and prostitution rackets, race fixing, extortion, jury rigging and illegal gambling. Squizzy was a dandy, a bootlegger and Melbourne’s most notorious criminal. From 1915 to 1927 he and his gang waged open warfare against their rivals across Melbourne. Not only was he Melbourne’s most notorious criminal, he was a dandy, a dancer, a ladies man, and a movie star but as Squizzy’s celebrity grew so did the misery and heartache for those who knew him best— the women in his life and the members of his gang.

Underbelly: Squizzy tells the remarkable story of Squizzy Taylor’s relentless quest for power and recognition, as he rose through the ranks of the Underworld, ending with his brutal death. Ultimately, though, Squizzy got what he wanted most: people still remember his name.

Author Andy Muir joined the high-rating Underbelly television series back in 2007 as a talented screenwriter and researcher of true crime,.  Underbelly: Squizzy draws on the strength of Andy’s research for the Screentime TV miniseries of the same name, airing on Channel 9.  The book is history through the prism of the Underbelly universe; a novelisation of an adaption, based on real people and real events.

“From looking at actual ballistic reports from the 1916 murder of William Haines to physically walking Squizzy’s steps through parts of Melbourne, researching Squizzy’s story has been fascinating.” Andy Muir says ”Writing the book after having researched the story and writing one of the episodes has allowed me to include extra material that couldn’t be included in the series.”


Andy Muir is a screenwriter and story researcher who has been working in television for over ten years, most recently helping to bring some of Australia’s biggest true crime stories to the small screen. He lives in Sydney.

Underbelly: Squizzy is available now.

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