True Crime

//True Crime
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  • On February 1, 1922, the distinguished silent-film director William Desmond Taylor was shot dead in his Los Angeles bungalow. Reports of strange activities at the scene circulated soon after. When the police arrived,  the head of Paramount Studios was burning a bundle of papers in the fireplace, and a well-known actress was searching the house for letters she claimed were hers. Despite a full-scale investigation - at one time there were over 300 suspects - the case was never solved; to this day it has remained a lingering Hollywood scandal. In 1967, more than forty years after Taylor's death, director King Vidor felt determined to solve the mystery which had haunted him throughout his career. He wanted to make a film about it. Through his intimate knowledge of both the studios and the stars, he succeeded - where dozens of professional detectives had failed - in discovering the identity of the murderer. But his findings were too explosive. He decided he could never go public and locked his evidence away. After Vidor's death in 1982, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick, Vidor's authorised biographer, gained access to the evidence and reconstructed the amazing story of Taylor's murder and Vidor's investigation. With a cast of suspects that includes the actress Mabel Normand, a reputed drug addict; the beautiful ingénue, Mary Miles Minter; Mary's domineering mother, Charlotte Shelby; Taylor's homosexual houseman; and Taylor's secretary, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Taylor's mysteriously elusive brother, this true crime story has all the elements of a classic murder mystery. Covered up for more than half a century, the full story can now be told in all its riveting, shocking detail. Contains black and white photographs.
  • On February 1, 1922, the distinguished film director William Desmond Taylor was found shot dead in his Los Angeles bungalow.  When the police arrived, the found the head of Paramount Studios burning a bundle of papers in the fireplace,  a well-known actress searching the house for letters she claimed were hers  and almost immediately after, a hysterical 20 yea-old actress known for 'little girl' roles.  Despite a full-scale investigation and lurid headlines, the case was never solved and remains a lingering Hollywood scandal. In 1967, more than forty years after Taylor's death, director King Vidor (Northwest Passage, The Fountainhead, Duel in the Sun, War and Peace) determined to solve the mystery which had haunted him throughout his career. Through his intimate knowledge of both the studios and the stars, he succeeded, where dozens of professional detectives had failed, in discovering the identity of the murderer. But his findings were too explosive. He decided he could never go public and locked his evidence away. After Vidor's death in 1982, Kirkpatrick, Vidor's authorised biographer, gained access to the evidence and reconstructed the amazing story of Taylor's murder and Vidor's investigation. The cast of suspects include the comedic actress Mabel Normand, a reputed drug addict; the beautiful ingénue, Mary Miles Minter, with whom Taylor was having an affair; Mary's domineering mother, Charlotte Shelby - also rumoured to have been Taylor's lover; Taylor's homosexual houseman; and Taylor's secretary, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Taylor's mysteriously elusive brother. This true crime story has every element of the classic murder mystery. Covered up for more than half a century, the full story can now be told in all its riveting, shocking detail. A must for any Hollywood fan.
  • A young, get-ahead lawyer is approached by  group of families who believe themselves poisoned by toxic waste dumped near their water supply.  Many of their children have died of leukaemia.  Two of America's largest companies defend the action.  Nine years of tooth and nail litigation follow, with millions of dollars at stake as the lawyer fights a David and Goliath battle against the resources of big business.  A true story.
  • A forensic examination of the global future of organised crime - now being operated on a massive scale by outlaw motorcycle gang -  and the difficulties faced by the Australian police in tackling the burgeoning crime empire that outlaw motorcycle gangs are developing in Australia and wherever else biker gangs flourish. It's a hard and chilling look at the global future of organised crime and reveals that the world's most successful criminal empire is now being operated on a massive scale by outlaw motorcycle gangs - an empire that is growing in power, reach and ruthlessness, far surpassing the threats posed by the Mafia, Russian syndicates, Chinese Triads and Japanese Yakuza. Outlaw motorcycle gangs are now being acknowledged as the greatest current organised crime threat with an international empire that is sophisticated, bloody and brutal. It is also both strategic and opportunistic - where they cannot dominate, they broker alliances.  Here is how it all started: the turf wars that were fought, the deals that were done, and how the sea of cash that was earned is now being legitimised. It also reveals how law enforcement at an international level is losing the battle against the gangs. Using exclusive insider sources on four continents, this is the first contemporary account of one of the biggest criminal stories of our time.
  • Kay Scarpetta III.  In Richmond, Virginia, young lovers are dying. So far, four couples in the area have disappeared, only to be found months later as mutilated corpses. When the daughter of the president's newest drug czar vanishes along with her boyfriend, Dr. Kay Scarpetta knows time is short. Following a macabre trail of evidence that ties the present homicides to a grisly crime in the past, Kay must draw upon her own personal resources to track down a murderer who is as skilled at eliminating clues as Kay is at finding them...
  • He was a multimillionaire but even his wealth and power could not save him. On October 22, 2001, handsome multimillionaire financier Ted Ammon was found bludgeoned to death in the magnificent East Hampton mansion he'd built with his beautiful - and volatile - wife, Generosa. She stood to make millions, but it wasn't the money that made Ted's friends suspicious: Generosa Ammon had a history of violent outbursts and bizarre obsessions. A talented interior decorator, Generosa had fashioned a lavish lifestyle for her husband and their two children, divided between Fifth Avenue, the Long Island estate, and a manor house in England. But when Generosa discovered Ted had a mistress, her demons were unleashed and she began a very public affair with Danny Pelosi, a strikingly handsome womaniser who was also her electrician. She called him her "tool belt guy." But he was also an ex-con who was suspected of playing a pivotal role in Ted's murder and the final destruction of a once-perfect family. Illustrated with photographs.
  • Mass killers, spree killers, repeat offenders - the world now knows them as serial killers. The author covers, in unwavering detail, thirty three true stories of serial killers, dating back to our earliest days: Alexander Pearce, The Cannibal Convict; John Lynch, the Berrima Axe Murderer; Martha Rendell, the Murderous Mistress; Edward Joseph Leonski, the Brownout Strangler; John Wayne Glover, the Granny Killer; The 'Bodies in the Barrels' Snowtown Killings, the Backpacker Murders and many more. Illustrated  with black and white photographs.

  • In 1996 Robin Bowles, a Melbourne company director, read a newspaper report about a task force that had been set up to re-investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of Victorian country housewife Jennifer Tanner.The reason for the renewed interest was the the discovery of human remains in a mineshaft near the property where Jenny had died. Deeply puzzled  by the mass of anomalies in the case, Robin went searching for answers.  How, for instance, could Jenny have shot herself twice in the brain- after shooting both her hands first? Since there was no note nor proof of intention, could the findings from the original post-mortem have been influenced by other parties? And was Jenny's death connected to the body in the mine? What unfolds is a bizarre tangle of police bungles, cover-ups and family intrigue.
  • In 1996 Robin Bowles, a Melbourne company director, read a newspaper report about a task force that had been set up to re-investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of Victorian country housewife Jennifer Tanner.The reason for the renewed interest was the the discovery of human remains in a mineshaft near the property where Jenny had died. Deeply puzzled  by the mass of anomalies in the case, Robin went searching for answers.  How, for instance, could Jenny have shot herself twice in the brain- after shooting both her hands first? Since there was no note nor proof of intention, could the findings from the original post-mortem have been influenced by other parties? And was Jenny's death connected to the body in the mine? What unfolds is a bizarre tangle of police bungles, cover-ups and family intrigue.
  • On 29 February 2000, Katherine Knight - mother of four, and a grandmother - seduced then stabbed John Price 37 times. A former abattoir worker, she skinned him. A loving partner, she cooked him with vegetables, making a soup with his head. She made gravy, and left him on plates for his family...Price was her de facto, and he wanted out. And Ketharine didn't like that...People said that most of the time Katherine seemed normal - until she got angry. She was judged to be legally sane when she committed a crime so horrible the media shied away from the details. Lalor covered the trial and wanted to know what made Knight go way over the borderline. He uncovers the layers of her dysfunction, opens the door of 84 St. Andrews Street and heads into the lives of Knight's ex-partners, her family and the locals of Aberdeen, New South Wales. Illustrated with colour photographs.
  • In 1970, a pretty young woman called Helen Cummings married a handsome doctor called Stuart Wynter. But instead of being a marriage made in heaven, it was the beginning of a hellish existence of spiralling abuse that ended six years later when she escaped with her two young children. Except the abuse didn't end. Dr Wynter remarried – and this woman and her child weren’t able to escape, and Helen wasn’t able to help. Helen Cummings relates an idyllic childhood growing up in 1960s Australia and looks back on a marriage that nearly killed her and her children. Today Helen is ‘the mother of a famous daughter and the daughter of a famous mother’, but she also had to come to terms with her painful past and the ongoing legacy for her children and the generations of the future.
  • It can take years for love to turn to murderous hate - or it can happen overnight. What drives a woman or man to committ the ultimate betrayal - to take the life of a parent, a child, a sibling, a lover? This is a volume of unflicnhing exploration of fourteen well-known - and not so well-known - murder in the family cases and it takes the reader inside the life and mind of both the killer and victim.  The cases include: The slaying of Maureen Thompson by her husband Rory; the murders of the four Folbigg children by their mother Kathleen; the sudden explosion of murderous rage within Sef Gonzales that resulted in the destruction of those closest to him; and more.  Illustrated with black and white and colour photographs.
  • Violent crime in Australia. This is a book about violence - the bombs that shatter lives, peace and individuals, often indiscriminately; the guns without which the horrors of the Port Arthur and Strathfield massacres would not have occurred; and the knives, which are the ultimate resort of the villain when all else fails.   The author has been the top crime crime writer for the Sydney Morning Herald for over twenty years and in this volume, heads a team of investigative journalists, covering such notorious cases as the Hilton Hotel bombing; Ivan Milat, the monster of Belanglo; the West Australian bikie wars and the Asian gang network. Illustrated with colour and black and white photographs.
  • Neighbors were unaware of what went on behind the tightly closed doors of a house in Fresno, California - the home of the imposing, 300-pound Marcus Wesson, his wife, children, nieces and grandchildren. But on March 12, 2004, gunshots were heard inside the Wesson home and police officers, responding to what they believed was a routine domestic disturbance, were horrified by the senseless carnage they discovered when they entered. This is a chilling true story of incest, abuse, madness and murder - it is one family's terrible and ultimately fatal ordeal at the hands of a powerful, manipulative man - a cultist who envisioned vengeful gods and vampires, and totally controlled those closest to him before their world came to a brutal and bloody halt. Illustrated with black and white photos.
  • The true crimes that rocked Australia...Why do some people cross the threshold from rational behaviour to cold blooded murder? How can they do it? What motivates or activates that ability? Malcolm Brown and other award winning journalists examine the most cold blooded killings in modern day Australia. In this volume: The Murder of John Newman, M.P.; The Murderous Rampage of Danny Karam's Gang; The Bodies in the Barrels, Snowtown; The Murder of Margaret Tobin; Retribution in Wollongong: Paedophilia's Chain Reaction; Murder on Sydney's Northern Beaches; The Serial Infanticide of Kathleen Folbigg; The Murder of Maria Korp; The Spear-Gun Killer John Sharpe; Bumbling Matricide - The Murder of Margaret Wales-King and Paul King; Sef Gonzales - Getting Around the Problem of Poor Marks. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • A disturbing insight into the connections between the American Mafia and Australian organised crime identities, as well as revealing taped conversations of the Mr. Bigs of the drug trade, caught in the act while going about their sordid business. There are serious questions raised about the indifference of some authorities to the nexus between organised crime, the vice trade and drug dealing - and there is also a solution for tackling corruption. With black and white photos.
  • Day after day my life was consumed by killings, distress and gruesome sites, each one adding another piece to an ever-growing mosaic that seemed to be made up of bloodied disposable gloves, plastic bags and human waste...   When Esther McKay, an idealistic young constable with the NSW police, entered the tough, male-dominated world of forensic investigation, she was determined to hold her own. She soon found herself at deeply confronting crime scenes, often working alone and without supervision. After years of long, lonely, exhausting days and nights, and following a particularly harrowing high-profile case involving the disappearance of two young boys, Esther had a break-down and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  Esther McKay takes us inside the life of a forensic investigator, and reveals as never before the extraordinary demands and dangers of forensic work.
  • Revised Edition. Here are the true life stories of men and women who have shocked the world with their outrageous crimes - and those who have suffered and paid the price.  Featured in this gallery of ultimate criminals: Dr, Crippen; Jeremy Bamber; The Boston Strangler; George Haigh; Snyder and Grey; Harold Shipman; Ted Bundy; Donald Neilson; Peter Sutcliffe; Ian Huntley; Dennis Nilsen; Fred and Rosemary West; Brady and Hindley; Ruth ellis; Sam Sheppard; The Krays; Al Capone; The Great Train Robbery; Osama Bin Laden; Timothy McVeigh; Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.  Illustrated with haunting black and white photographs.

  • In 1875, beautiful, vivacious widow Florence Ricardo married Charles Bravo, a dashing barrister. The marriage seemed to be a  happy one, although society gossips whispered that Bravo had married Florence for her fortune. Behind his charming public persona, Bravo was a brutal, vindictive man who dismissed his wife's devoted companion Mrs. Cox and regularly subjected Florence to violent abuse. Four months after the wedding, Bravo collapsed and for fifty-five hours - with some of London's most distinguished physicians in attendance - suffered a slow and agonising death. All the doctors agreed - he had been poisoned. The police were called in and everyone in the Priory, the house in South London in which he and Florence had lived, was under suspicion. The investigation was detailed and sensational and such was the public interest that it even eclipsed the coverage of the Prime Minister's negotiations with Egypt and the Prince of Wales' tour of India. The suspects included Mrs. Cox;     George Griffiths, a coachman with a grudge against Bravo and at Florence Bravo herself. This is the recreation of the case with new evidence to conclusively prove who did kill Charles Bravo.
  • When Stefanie Rabinowitz was found dead of an apparent drowning in her bathtub at home, it was at first believed to be 'one of those things that just happen'. Because she was only 29, an autopsy was ordered which revealed that Stefanie was in fact strangled before being dumped in the tub to stage a fake drowning.  There was no evidence of a break-in, no history of marital trouble - and suspicion fell on her husband Craig: devoted family man, loyal husband and 'everybody's best friend'. As the investigation proceeded, the bizarre double life of Craig Rabinowitz unravelled... With exclusive interviews and black and white photographs.

  • In Houston, Texas, on the morning of May 23, 1982,  Carl 'Coral' Eugene Watts, 28, trapped two young women in their apartment. Only hours before, he'd killed another woman by drowning her in her bathtub. As Watts attempted to do the same to 20-year-old Lori Lister, her roommate Melinda Aguilar, 18, made a daring escape. Her courage led to Watts's arrest. Watts was a sadistic slayer with a lust for killing in a variety of ways: strangulation, suffocation, drowning, and stabbing. He confessed to thirteen murders, but with no direct evidence to link him to the crimes, he managed to plea bargain his sentence down to 60 years for burglary. Due to a flaw in the Texas criminal justice system, Watts was supposed to be released from prison in 2006. Through the ceaseless efforts of investigators and the mother of one of his victims, Watts was finally tried and convicted to life in prison for a murder he had committed in Michigan in 1979. He died in 2007, still the prime suspect in approximately 90 other slayings. Experts theorise that Watts may have slain more than Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy...combined. Here is the chilling story of how he almost got away with murder. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • The author took a job in an Australian prison because - well, he needed a job, and any job would do.  What had been a stop gap became and all-absorbing preoccupation with the problem of men in prison. One day, he was asked if he remembered the Greek bloke who had killed his wife with half a house brick.  He couldn't remember the particular Greek - and he realised that over the seven years of his employment there, that the stone and steel had crept into his heart to the extent that a man who had killed his wife with half a house brick had left no impression on him.  In search of what beliefs and values he had left to him after prolonged exposure to the brutality, cynicism and despair of a big maximum-security prison, the author examines his experiences, not as a psychologist, but as a man whose profession is psychology. In the process, comes to several important conclusions.
  • Eric Clegg, formerly  His Honour Eric Clegg Q.C. is more than qualified to examine these famous trials and his expert viewpoint reveals many important and often controversial points which arose during the hearings. Cases contained in this volume include: The Kalgoorlie murders of two policemen in 1926, found down a disused mine-shaft; the Passionate Parson, acquitted on a charge of murdering his wife; the Lavers msyery and the Sundown murders; the Pyjama Girl murder; and the fantastic case of T. J. Ley, former Minister for Justice in New South Wales who was eventually convicted for the chalkpit murders. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • The story of Melbourne's Pentridge Gaol from 1850 - 1900. Where Pentridge stands is dark and bloody ground, the battlefield of an undeclared war.  On one side, the Law, wielding savage authority. On the other, the prisoners whose only weapons were cunning, intrigue and sudden desperate violence.  Here is a fascinating account of escapes, mortal combats, vicious tyrants, zero-hour reprieves and all the dramatic and pathetic details of life behind the grim stone walls, yet still, there is a sense of defiant resilience of the human spirit.
  • The untold story of Bondi's missing schoolgirl Samantha Knight. The heart-breaking truth behind one of Australia’s most haunting mysteries which chronicles the abduction and murder of Sydney schoolgirl Samantha Knight, who seemingly vanished into thin air from busy Bondi Road, in the late afternoon of August 1986. Her disappearance remained a mystery until 2002 when Michael Anthony Guider pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a 12-year jail sentence. Co-author Denise Hofman met Guider in the mid-1990s and worked closely with him on conservation projects until he was suddenly charged with dozens of child sex offences – and she learned he’d once secretly known Sam. Based on never-before-published eyewitness accounts, this is an inspiring personal story, a redemptive tale of police blindness, and a vivid portrait of a killer who has now been released. 

  • She was young, very beautiful and had everything to live for – but the life of Frances Shea, wife of Reggie Kray, remains one of the most tragic stories of the Sixties. Courted by Reggie as a schoolgirl, Frances was lured into an outwardly glamorous world of nightclubs, expensive clothes and showbiz parties. Yet she very soon discovered the real world of the Kray Twins, the hidden, twisted world where violence, drink, drugs and terror dominated everything. Frances broke away and briefly enjoyed other relationships, struggling to maintain her freedom. Yet Reggie would never let her go. Paranoid and obsessive, he monitored her every move, stalking her night and day. By the time she married Reggie in their ‘Wedding of the Year’ in 1965, Frances and her family had become inextricably linked with the Twins’ downward spiral from gangland extortion and brutality into senseless murder and mayhem. Trapped, desperate and unable to cope, just two years later Frances died from a drug overdose. Only now, 50 years later, in a revealing and shocking examination of the facts, the truth about the life of Frances Shea and her short marriage to Reggie Kray is finally revealed in this new, revised edition. With never-before seen photographs, documents and revelations, the book  explodes the long-standing myths that have surrounded the marriage, uncovering the sordid reality of the Kray world.  
  • Frank Galbally CBE (1922 - 2005) dominated Australian Law for over four decades, frequently at the centre of controversy and always at the heart of things. He represented everyone from painters and dockers to a talking cockatoo; had audiences with popes and took on the Greek Colonels and was embroiled in the politics of 1975 and the policies of Collingwood Football Club. The Krope trial, the Costigan Commission, Kevin Barlow's appeal...the number of legal trials in which Galbally was involved extraordinary and the names became household words. This autobiography contains some of his most famous cases, with a few fighting words regarding crucial aspects of Australian public affairs such as police corruption and the royal commission into crime.  Illustrated with black and white photographs.