#FridayFreebie The Widow of Walcha – Emma Partridge

The Widow of Walcha

Thanks to the publisher and DMCPRMedia I have one copy of the tantalising and intriguing book The Widow of Walcha to give away. In the comments let me know who publishes this book. It’s that easy.

**Open to residents of Australia only. Winner will be randomly selected on the 3rd of June 2022. **

Review: The Widow of Walcha – Emma Partridge

The Widow of Walcha: A True Crime Story of Love, Lies and a Murder In A small Country Town

Emma Partridge

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781760859428

Description:

The Widow of Walcha is a shocking true story about death, love and lies in the small NSW town of Walcha.
 
All farmer Mathew Dunbar ever wanted was to find love and have a family of his own. That’s why, just months after meeting Natasha Darcy, the much-loved grazier didn’t hesitate to sign over his multi-million-dollar estate to her.
 
When Mathew died in an apparent suicide soon afterwards, in a stranger-than-fiction twist, Natasha’s estranged husband – who she was once charged with trying to kill – was the first paramedic on the scene after the murder.
 
Journalist and author Emma Partridge travelled to the cool and misty town of Walcha in the Northern Tablelands of NSW in the months after Mathew Dunbar’s death, drawn by the town’s collective worry that Natasha was going to get away with murder. Partridge spent months researching the case, interviewing Mathew’s friends, family and Natasha herself in an attempt to uncover her sickening web of lies and crimes.
 
The Widow of Walcha is about one of the most extraordinary criminal trials in Australia’s history and reveals Natasha’s sickening crimes against those she claimed to love, fuelled by her obsession with money.
 

My View:

This story is so bizarre it reads like … a black comedy… how incredulous this is, how unbelievable the actions are in this read … I just cannot believe this actually happened, yet it did and one person is dead and a few more escaped by good luck. I shake my head as I read…how did this happen? How did this woman get away with so much before this last terrible act landed her in gaol? How does her husband (at the time the book was written, they were still married, that I do not get at all) whom she attempted to murder (setting the house on fire whilst he was in it) stay shtum? How? I just cant believe it.

Yet this is true. Follow the stories of her previous relationships, the earlier police charges, her first time in gaol, her next targets….read on as the clues are unraveled. Sit in court and hear evidence and then once the verdict has been delivered read on about the information that wasnt allowed to be shared in court, the other stories of “near misses”. I continue to shake my head in disbelief. What an incredible, true story.

I wish we could hear the Widow’s story ( I guess we do through the evidence and transcripts and interviews) but as she has not accepted responsibility I guess we will never know what was going through her mind,.. intriguing.

Big screen here this comes 🙂

#FridayFreebie# Missing Presumed Dead – Mark Tedeschi QC

Missing Presumed Dead

Mark Tedeschi QC

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781761104459

Description:

It was the double murder case that gripped Australia, and former Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC is finally able to share all the shocking details.

Dorothy Davis and Kerry Whelan were both happy, healthy, affluent, middle-class women from conservative, loving families.
Such women are hardly ever among the ranks of the missing. They were not hitchhikers, or associates of drug dealers, or unhappy with their family relationships, or suffering from mental health issues. Dorothy Davis and Kerry Whelan came from different parts of Sydney, mixed in quite different circles, and led completely different lives. They had never met each other, and if they had, they would have had little in common. In fact, Dorothy Davis and Kerry Whelan had one thing in common – they both knew Bruce Allan Burrell.

The disappearance without trace of these two women caused massive police investigations and resulted in sensational trials that gripped the nation of Australia. This book explores the intricacies of those investigations and delves into the twisted, tortuous processes of the legal proceedings, while exploring the dark recesses of the mind of Bruce Burrell.

Meet the Author:

As a Barrister and a Crown Prosecutor for thirty five years, Mark Tedeschi QC has appeared in some of the most significant criminal cases in Australia. He has been the Senior Crown Prosecutor in New South Wales for fifteen years and is the President of the Australian Association of Crown Prosecutors. He has had many articles published on the law and is the author of a legal text book and the critically acclaimed biography Eugenia. He has published many articles on history, genealogy, photography, and horticulture. Kidnapped is his second work of creative non-fiction. 

Giveaway:

Thanks to Simon & Schuster, the author and Dmcprmedia I have one copy of this Australian true crime expose to give away. ** Australian residents only** In the comments let me know of another true crime written by this author.

Review: Barrenjoey Road – Neil Mercer& Ruby Jones

Barrenjoey Road

Neil Mercer & Ruby Jones

ABC Books

ISBN: 9780733340468

 

Description:

A gripping expose of a notorious cold case 1978. An idyllic beachside community. A series of abductions and rapes. So what happened to Trudie Adams?

 

The disappearance of 18-year-old Trudie Adams while hitchhiking home on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1978 left her family and community devastated. When police began to investigate, the dark underbelly of the so-called ‘insular peninsula’ was exposed, where surfers ran drugs home from Bali, teenagers hitchhiked everywhere due to the lack of public transport, gangs of men prowled the beaches and the roads, and predators abducted and raped countless young women, crimes rarely reported or investigated.

 

Inspired by the award-winning #1 podcast and ABC TV series and containing new revelations never previously revealed, Barrenjoey Road is the gripping expose of why the case was never solved. It takes us all the way to the top, from a criminal perpetrator with a lifelong record and links to organised crime who was never formally accused, to police corruption at the highest level.

 

 

My View:

Poignant and equally baffling, this is a true crime narrative that is once again too close to home for comfort. You cannot ignore the depiction of innocence tainted with the intrusion of men’s unwanted desires/impulses on the lives of so many young women. And in this read it is not just the perpetrators who are misogynistic and vile, many of the public officers are the same. I do hope life has changed, that standards have been raised, that women’s’ concerns are now listened to and treated with respect. I am hoping for too much? I still hope. I do feel angry.

 

A powerful read made even more so with the inclusion of the carefree photos of the main focus of this story – Trudie Adams. Moving and sad. I wish there were answers. Hopefully the podcast, TV series and the publication of this book will tempt someone to come forward, will niggle at someone’s almost forgotten memories. Rest in peace Trudie.

#metoo

 

 

 

 

Review: The Schoolgirl Strangler – Katherine Kovacic

The Schoolgirl Strangler

Katherine Kovac

Echo

ISBN: 9781760686635

RRP $32.99

 

Description:
The shocking true story of a serial killer in 1930s Melbourne.

 

November, 1930. One sunny Saturday afternoon, 12-year-old Mena Griffiths was playing in the park when she was lured away by an unknown man. Hours later, her strangled body was found, mouth gagged and hands crossed over her chest, in an abandoned house. Only months later, another girl was murdered; the similarities between the cases undeniable. Crime in Melbourne had taken a shocking new turn: this was the work of a serial killer, a homicidal maniac.

 

Despite their best efforts, police had no experience dealing with this kind of criminal. What followed was years of bungled investigations, falsely accused men – and the tragic deaths of two more girls – before the murderer was finally caught and brought to justice.

 

With all the pace of a thriller, Katherine Kovacic recounts this extraordinary, chilling true story – of failed police enquiries, a killer with a Jekyll and Hyde personality, and the families shattered when four innocent lives were cruelly taken.

 

My View:

Katherine Kovacic is a talented writer, who, with the publishing of this work of non-fiction, has demonstrated her great skills and depth of writing and research. I enjoyed every aspect of this read- the cover art – which is perfect for the era of the crimes (in fact I will share a personal image with you that was used in a local “a stranger danger awareness” shoot back in the 1960’s.)

I love the chapters with the face/jigsaw puzzle slowly revealing the face of the accused.

The research led narrative is presented in easily digested vocabulary, and without personal intervention, I like this tyle op presentation for true crime writing.   I absolutely abhor true crime where the writer thinks that their opinions are valuable in the story, in my opinion, they are not, it should be the reader who decides what they take/believe/ understand from the facts presented.

 

This is another great read from the talented Katherine Kovacic.

Sneak Peak – True Crime: Evil Has A Name – Audible

Evil Has A NameAre you a fan or true crime or audio books? If so this new release audio book is for you. Narrated by the Paul Holes ,the forensic criminologist and retired Costa County Detective who spent 20 years trying to crack the Golden State Killer case, and who finally did. And Jim Clemente who is a retired FBI profiler and former New York City prosecutor who has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in US history, including the Unabomber.

I love books narrated by the authors or those involved in the narrative, there is so much more the narrator can bring to the reading including authenticity and personal insights/point of view.

 

EVIL HAS A NAME

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE GOLDEN STATE KILLER INVESTIGATION, ONLY FROM AUDIBLE

Audible Original | 16 November 2018 | Audible.com.au | Free with a 30-day trial, or one credit with your $16.45/month Audible membership

The Golden State Killer. The East Area Rapist. The Original Night Stalker. The Visalia Ransacker. The monster who preyed on Californians from 1976 to 1986 was known by many aliases. And while numerous police sketches tried to capture his often-masked visage, the Golden State Killer spent more than 40 years not only faceless, but nameless.

For his victims, their families and the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer’s acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. To be sure, the chances of obtaining closure—or any form of justice—after so many years were slim to none, at best.

Delivering all-new details about the investigation and a stunning final act to the events of Michelle McNamara’s haunting bestseller, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, this is the true story of how the suspected Golden State Killer was captured, as told, first-hand, by those closest to the case.

Evil Has a Name: The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation is free for new members with a 30-day trial from Audible.com.au.

Please note: This audiobook contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners.”  Audible

Check out the book trailer from Audible here

 

 

Review: Unnatural Causes – Dr Richard Shepherd

Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes

Dr Richard Shepherd

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9781405923545

RRP $34.99

 

Description:

A gripping memoir by one of the UK’s most prominent and experienced pathologists. His work has turned cases on their heads and put murderers behind bars. But his obsession with trying to learn what the dead are telling us began in medical school during his first autopsy. Holding the heart of the patient in his hands, he thought of his late mother, who’d died young from coronary heart disease. He wanted to help the living by learning about death. And, in the case of his criminal work, he wanted to see justice.

 

Intelligent, insightful, chilling – sometimes bizarre – and always unputdownable.

 

Unnatural Causes is the true crime book of the year from an expert who’s opening his records and sharing his casebook for the first time.

 

 

My View:

For a pathologist this author makes a wonderful wordsmith!

 

This is an intriguing narrative, a creative memoir that discusses the changes in society and attitudes to policing, medicine and science in an easy to read format that is engaging and illuminating. The discussion around autopsies, mass shootings/acts of terror and suspicious deaths are handled sensitively and considerately, the writer’s humanness shines through these sections of the book.

 

The author is open, honest and empathetic.  This is a sensitively and intelligently written book that will appeal to lovers of memoir, history, true crime and social science.

 

 

 

Post Script: Look What You Made me Do – Fathers Who Kill- Megan Norris

One Australian woman is hospitalised every three hours and two more lose their lives each week as a result of family violence. But for some women there is a punishment more enduring than injury or their own death.

Megan Norris

Look What You Made Me Do  

Fathers Who Kill

Megan Norris

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760061838

 

Description:

One Australian woman is hospitalised every three hours and two more lose their lives each week as a result of family violence. But for some women there is a punishment more enduring than injury or their own death.

This book is a timely exploration into the evil done by vengeful fathers who kill their own flesh and blood in order to punish wives who have chosen to end abusive relationships.

 

Focussing on seven different but equally harrowing cases of ‘spousal revenge’, author Megan Norris draws on her own observations as a former court and crime reporter, examining the murders of thirteen innocent children who became collateral damage in callous crimes committed by angry dads whose real targets were the children’s mothers.

 

From the harrowing 1993 kidnap and murder of three-year-old Kelly East in WA, to the chilling murder of Darcey Freeman whose dad hurled her from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge in 2009, these stories highlight the chilling connection between intimate partner abuse and retaliatory homicide. They show it’s not only mothers who are in danger when domestic violence turns deadly.

 

 

My View:

 

True crime novels are not what they used to be, and I mean that as a complement to contemporary true crime writers.

This book in particular surprised me with its well-researched, personal and sensitive account of the crimes committed against women, it could not have been easy sitting in the courtrooms, reading the court transcriptions or speaking with the women here. For the women – it must have been like dredging up hell all over again – yet their voices are so powerful and so necessary if we want to stamp out this type of violence and prevent another child’s senseless death.  I applaud the writer and the women who bravely retold their stories.

 

One Australian woman is hospitalised every three hours and two more lose their lives each week as a result of family violence. But for some women there is a punishment more enduring than injury or their own death.

This is a remarkable book; not always easy to read, written with disdain for the perpetrators whilst highlighting the amazing resilience that some women are able to find when the most horrendous punishment is metred out to them. The problem of male “entitlement” is very evident; women seen as possessions, play things, trophies, and props to paint a false picture to the outside world …these narratives paint an ugly and harrowing truth.

The dialogue between men and women needs to change.  Now.

This is a book that needs to be read by all politicians, police, all public servants, doctors, nurses… and the men and women on the street. We all need to be aware, recognise the signs (when there are any), talk more, support more and speak the truth, stop turning a blind eye, listen more and as a community – put more resources into creating safe places for women to turn to and enforce intimate partner AVO’s.  “An AVO is an Apprehended Violence Order. It is an order to protect victims of domestic violence when they are fearful of future violence or threats to their safety. They are sometimes called restraining orders or protection orders.” (ww.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/community-partnerships/…/what-is-an-avo)

 

I predict a Ned Kelly award – and another EVA (Eliminating Violence Against Women) award for Megan Norris in the near future.

Post Script: The Blood On My Hands – Shannon O’Leary

The Blood On My Hands

The Blood On My Hands

Shannon O’Leary

Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 9781519695871

 

Description:

Set in 1960s and ’70s Australia, “The Blood on My Hands” is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years. O’Leary grew up under the shadow of horrific domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, and serial murder. Her story is one of courageous resilience in the face of unimaginable horrors.

 

The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reach out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives are afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemn the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevent the police from interfering unless someone is killed.

 

“The Blood on My Hands” is a heartbreaking-yet riveting-narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding, and the strength and courage it takes, not just to survive and escape, but to flourish and thrive.

 

My View:

A particularly horrific and grim story of ongoing domestic violence and psychosis that is not addressed in the perpetrator’s lifetime – this is a uncomfortable book to read  –  imagine what it must have been like to endure? And endure Shannon O’Leary and her family did – the depravity here is unbelievable – if the author hadn’t qualified the read with “autobiography” you would think this was macabre crime fiction.

To enjoy or not to enjoy? No I can’t say I enjoyed this read – the wounds, physical and psychological were open, raw and bleed onto the pages – I could not enjoy. Compelling – yes. An incredible story of courage and survival – yes.  Can we learn from the mistakes made here? I think this should be read by all in the agencies working in the field of domestic violence and community health; more education and resources are needed in these areas.

 

Shannon O’Leary – you must be one amazingly strong woman.  Whenever I think life is tough for me, I will recall what you have endured.