Review: Bowraville – Dan Box

Bowraville

Dan Box

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780143784395

 

Description:

A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted.

More than two decades later, homicide detective Gary Jubelin contacted Dan Box, asking him to pursue this serial killing. At that time, few others in the justice system seemed to know – or care – about the murders in Bowraville. Dan spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawyers, police officers and even the suspect involved in what had happened. His investigation, as well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the authorities to reconsider the killings. This account asks painful questions about what ‘justice’ means and how it is delivered, as well as describing Dan’s own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line.

 

Praise for the Bowraville podcast:

 

‘It is a gripping true crime tale and an essay on racism; a challenge to the lies Australia tells itself about its treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people told through the voices of three Aboriginal families who have been indisputably let down … The podcast has galvanised the public in a way that two decades of print and television reporting on the Bowraville murders have not.’ The Guardian

 

‘A masterful example of crime reporting which forensically details the worst of human nature, inexplicably compounded by the gross negligence of the only people who could provide justice. It’s stirred thousands, including the prime suspect, to re-engage with the case after trusting the journalist to take them to dark places.’ Walkley judges’ comments

 

‘Outstanding.’ Leigh Sales

 

‘Moving, brilliant.’ Annabel Crabb

 

‘If you haven’t listened to Bowraville by Dan Box, then you should.’ David Campbell

 

 

My View:

I wholeheartedly agree with the comments that the Walkey judges made about the reporting of the Bowraville murders.  What more could I add?

 

That I was/am haunted by the stories here – the institutionalised and individual racism like none I have come across in Australia before now, my despair at the cycle of violence and alcoholism that has been normalised in some of the communities spoken of here and I feel the frustration of all those involved in trying to find justice for the two young people and the child victim in Bowraville and I thank Barry Toohey (p.214) for his outstanding explanation of “Chronic collective grief” that makes sense of so much of the pain evidenced in this read.

 

This is an outstanding read. All Australians would benefit from reading this book.

 

 

 

 

Review: Imperfect – Lee Kofman

Imperfect

Lee Kofman

Affirm Press

ISBN: 9781925584813

 

Description:

BY THE TIME she was eleven and living in the Soviet Union, Lee Kofman had undergone several major operations on both a defective heart and injuries sustained in a bus accident. Her body harbours a constellation of disfiguring scars that have shaped her sense of self, her view of the world and the choices she has made. But it wasn’t until she moved to Israel and later to Australia that she began to think these markings weren’t badges of honour to flaunt but were, in fact, imperfections that needed to be concealed.

 

In a seductive mix of memoir and cultural critique, Kofman casts a questioning eye on the myths surrounding our conception of physical perfection and what it’s like to live in a body that deviates from the norm. She reveals the subtle ways we are all influenced by the bodies we inhabit, whether our differences are pronounced or noticeable only to ourselves. She talks to people of all shapes, sizes and configurations and takes a hard look at the way media and culture tell us how bodies should and shouldn’t be.

 

By turns illuminating, confronting and deeply personal, Imperfect challenges us all to consider how we exist in the world and how our bodies shape the people we become.

 

 

My View:

Imperfect is a book that is intelligently and softly written in a mix of styles that is both academic, at times interview base; a reflection of the modern socio- political scene that unselfconsciously examines our and the authors attitude to physical appearance and how that attitude shapes our perception of the world. Let’s make that more than shapes our attitude, it determines how we walk on this earth – with a weary tread or lightly…embracing the sun.

 

Lee Kofman asks many of the questions that I have been unable to eloquently voice; about judgemental attitudes that are entrenched in out psyche (be honest the first time you see/meet someone your brain starts making/noting so many things about that persons physical appearance), how we respond to that individual is largely based on that first moment of quick judgment –   friend or foe, dangerous or not…same – different,  our tribe or not….and so begins the barrage of judgements based on physical appearance… “Most primates are visually orientated and make decisions about others chiefly on what they see. Humans who lack the acuity of smell or hearing of animals, particularly rely on their eyesight to deal with the complexities of the social world. To some extent our sanity (and I would add survival) depends on our presumption to read Body Surface.” P.82

 

Lee Kofman’s Body Surface, scarred in a traffic accident and via childhood surgeries, is a constant reminder to her of her “difference”, her “otherness” and provides the framework for the discussion in the book. Brave, open, honest, this narrative will provide you with insight and stimulate yet more questions….I would love to see this conversation continue.

 

A fascinating read.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Suicide Bride – Tanya Bretherton

The Suicide Bride

Tanya Bretherton

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733640988

 

Description:

Whenever society produces a depraved criminal, we wonder: is it nature or is it nurture?

 

When the charlatan Alicks Sly murdered his wife, Ellie, and killed himself with a cut-throat razor in a house in Sydney’s Newtown in early 1904, he set off a chain of events that could answer that question. He also left behind mysteries that might never be solved. Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton traces the brutal story of Ellie, one of many suicide brides in turn-of-the-century Sydney; of her husband, Alicks, and his family; and their three orphaned sons, adrift in the world.

 

From the author of the acclaimed THE SUITCASE BABY – shortlisted for the 2018 Ned Kelly Award, Danger Prize and Waverley Library ‘Nib’ Award – comes another riveting true-crime case from Australia’s dark past. THE SUICIDE BRIDE is a masterful exploration of criminality, insanity, violence and bloody family ties in bleak, post-Victorian Sydney.

 

My View:

It was fascinating to read of such macabre events in an area of Sydney that I have visited. The book creates a visual landscape that is accessible and real. In this deeply researched book we are time travellers transported to Sydney, Newtown early 1900’s. And what a hard life it is – especially for women and children. Domestic violence is obvious but accepted as the norm – change is taking a long, long time.  Violence – nature versus nurture, the question is posed and left for the reader to ponder.

 

Tanya Bretherton explores an intriguing case of one of these horrendous act of violence – of a particular “Suicide Bride”, a term common for the crime of committing murder of spouse by the husband who then commits suicide.  In this case we view the bodies (wife and husband) in situ, we check pockets for notes, count coins, measure the wounds and try and avoid the deluge of blood. How could the wife not show any signs of defence wounds?  Read on carefully and wonder at the possible explanation given (no spoilers) I would like to have seen this solution discussed in more depth but how this could be explored so long after the event I cannot conceive.

 

A well-researched event that provides a great insight into Sydney in the 1900’s and possibly provides a great premise for a work of crime fiction for writers.

What’s on Tonight’s Menu? Super Simple Chicken Curry: A Pinch of Nom – Kate Allinson & Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and is available in all good bookstores.

Super Simple Chicken Curry

Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 30 mins | 181 KCAL per serving

Occasionally, the craving for a good Indian dish is overwhelming. We would all love to have the opportunity to create curry pastes and spice mixes from scratch. At times though, we just need a quick, easy, got- curry recipe that can be created in minutes. This is one such recipe. Wonderfully tasty, but so quick to put together, it’ll become a regular evening meal in no time.” p58

—–| Everyday Light |—–

 

F GF

Serves 4

 

Low-calorie cooking spray

1 large onion, sliced

450g chicken breast (skin and visible fat removed), diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

400ml water

3 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp tomato puree

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

TO SERVE (OPTIONAL)

Samosas (see earlier post)

Cooked rice

 

Spray a large frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until softened slightly, then add the diced chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until browned.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minutes, then add all the other ingredients. The water should just about cover the chicken – you may need a little more or less depending on the size of your pan.

Leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat up and boil the curry for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan – this will reduce and thicken the sauce slightly.

Serves the curry with your choice of accompaniment.

 

* Tip – this curry recipe works well with lean diced lamb (all visible fat removed), too.

#MondayMunchies: Rumbledethumps – Pinch of Nom – Kate Alinson & Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and isavailable in all good bookstores.

 

Rumbledethumps

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins | 162 KCAL per serving

 

When we asked our fantastic taste testers to review this recipe, the most asked question was, ‘But … what is rumbledethumps?’ Mostly heard of ‘Up North’, it’s a Scottish version of the Irish colcannon, or the English bubble and squeak. Why is it called Rumbledethumps in this book? Because were northerners, of course!p.176

 

Weekly Indulgence

V F GF

Serves 4

 

400g medium potatoes, peeled and diced

200g swede, peeled and diced

Low-calorie cooking spray

½ small onion, thinly sliced

125g green or white cabbage, thinly slices

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium egg yolk

40g reduced-fat cheddar, grated

Cook the diced potato and swede in a pan of boiling salted water until soft, then drain and set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6).

 

Spray a large frying pan with some low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes until they start to soften slightly, then add them to the cooked potato and swede and mash roughly with a fork or spoon. You want to leave it a bit chunky.

 

Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the egg yolk. Place in an overproof dish, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top, and cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and serve.

 

 

#MeatFreeMonday: Samosas – A Pinch of Nom – Kate Allinson & Kay Feathestone

When I first picked up this book and started flicking through the recipes to see what might catch my eye, I failed to notice “100 slimming home style recipes” noted on the front cover. The fact that these are calorie reduced meals did not detract me from exploring this book; the types of meals here are things I might make everyday – healthy home cooking choices. What a great book! I hope you find some, new favourites here too.

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and is available in all good bookstores.

 

Samosas

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins | 151 KCAL per serving

 

Yes, you read correctly: samosas! Making a simple swap from pastry to tortilla wrap instantly brings down the calories. Filled with fresh ingredient, you’ll be reaching for these time and time again for fakeaway nights (served with our Super Simple Chicken Curry on page 58), or just as a snack.” p. 224

V F GF (use GF wraps)

Makes 6

 

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice

75g frozen peas

Low-calorie cooking spray

½ onion, diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp grated root ginger

Generous pinch of chilli powder

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp garam masala

30g spinach

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt

3 low-calorie tortilla wraps, cut in half

1 egg, beaten

Fresh coriander, to serve (optional)

Cook the diced potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain. Cook the peas in boiling salted water and drain.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper or baking parchment.

 

Spray a pan with some low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until softened but not browned, then add the spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the cooked potato and mash it slightly with a fork or the back of a spoon before adding the uncooked spinach, lemon juice and peas. Add a pinch of salt and stir.

 

Brush the edges of the halved wraps with the beaten egg. Fold each half into a cone shape and seal the edge, leaving the top open to add the filling.

 

Divide the filling equally between the wraps, being careful not to over-fill them. If you do, you will not be able to seal them properly.

 

Brush the open end of the wraps with some more beaten egg, leave for 30–40 seconds, until it becomes tacky, then press the edges together firmly. You can use a fork to do this, but be careful not to rip the wrap. Arrange the samosas on the tray.

 

Brush each samosa with plenty of beaten egg, make sure the edges are sealed, then place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and serve warm. You can also allow to cool, wrap in baking parchment and freeze for another day.

 

My Favourite Meal

Do you have a dish that you always order when you go out for a meal? I do.  The region I live is famous for  its cafes and restaurants that use locally sourced,  fresh, organic produce, whenever possible.

My favourite meal to eat out is Crab Linguine. Let me share with you a recipe from “The Dirty Dishes” by Isaac Carew (Bluebird: Pam Macmillan Australia) which will allow you to make this restaurant quality meal in your own kitchen. It’s fast, it’s easy!  I may never need to go out for a meal again.

‘The Dirty Dishes: 100 Fast and Delicious Recipes by Isaac Carew,’ Published by Bluebird, RRP $39.

Crab linguine
Crab is quite an underused ingredient. I think a lot of people try brown crab meat first and don’t like it, or find a whole crab a daunting challenge. But it’s actually very easy to cook and the combination of crab and chilli creates a clean-tasting but fiery dish. I nearly always choose linguine over spaghetti – sauces cling to linguine easily and you get more from every mouthful.” pps. 86/87

serves 4

sea salt
olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ medium red chilli, sliced
1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
100ml white wine
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
360g linguine
100g white crab meat
1 tbsp mascarpone
juice of ½ lemon
a few chives, finely chopped, to serve

Whack a saucepan of salted water on to boil. In the meantime, heat a medium frying pan over a low to
medium heat, add a little olive oil and sauté the shallot and garlic until sweet and tender.

Add the chilli to the pan, along with the thyme leaves and cook for a few minutes. Next add the white
wine and cook over a medium heat for another minute or two until the sauce is reduced. Finally add
the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Chuck the linguine in the salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Retaining 1–1½ ladles of the
pasta water, strain the pasta and set aside.

Add the crab meat and mascarpone to the sauce, then fold the sauce through the pasta, adding the
reserved water. This will give extra gloss to the dish and a deeper taste. Finish with a little drizzle of
olive oil, the lemon juice and a sprinkling of chives.