True Crime

//True Crime
­
  • Armed robbery, murder, lies, treachery, 'confession' and legal tangle that ended in a sensational trial, followed by three executions - all the ingredients of a callous crime committed on the New Zealand goldfields in 1866. A gang of brutal Londoners - Richard Burgess, Tom Noon (Noonan), Joseph Sullivan and Phil Levy waylaid five gold-laden prospectors on a lonely track on Maungatapu ('Sacred Mountain'), killed them and hid the bodies before going on a spree. The prospectors were missed, and suspicion fell on the four. Hoping for a free pardon, Sullivan 'dobbed' on his mates and Burgess wrote a confession but implicated Sullivan. Clune traces the lives of the four and shows the influences played such an important role in shaping their twisted lives - the overcrowded Thames-side slums created by the Industrial Revolution, the laws that punished rather than reformed, the rotting prison hulks, the transportation system and the mental cruelty in the prisons of the day.
  • London, 1910 - the city is rocked by its first encounter with foreign gangsters. In December, a group of Russian anarchists were surprised while burgling a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch. They shot and  killed three policemen and wounded two others. Within two weeks, most of the gang had been captured. Then the police were informed that the last two members of the gang were hiding at 100 Sidney Street. The police called in the military, local residents were evacuated and the firefight raged for six hours, culminating in the burning of the house and the discovery of the two agitators' bodies  in  the ruins. On New Year's Day, Leon Beron, a middle-aged Russian Jew, was found battered to death on Clapham Common. Knife cuts on his cheeks, inflicted after death, formed the shape of a rough 'S' - rumour said it was the revenge murder of an informer, 'S'  being the initial letter for 'spy' in both Russian and Polish. Steinie Morrison, who had been seen in his company the night before, was arrested and charged with Beron's murder, and sentenced to hang.  This was later commuted to life in prison. Morrison protested the change of sentence and for the next ten years, demanded that the original sentence be carried out, proclaiming his innocence and staging hunger strikes.  He never changed his story, not even by the smallest detail, and died ten years later in prison. Was an innocent man convicted? And did the murder of Beron have any connection to the Siege of Sidney Street?  With black and white photographs.
  • 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.
  • After fourteen years of marriage, Mel Jacob's life looked as perfect as the roses perched above her white picket fence. The nice house in the suburbs, two great kids, a good husband. Until...her seemingly saintly husband was jailed for two years. This recounts Mel's funny, moving and insightful journey as she navigates single parenthood, prison visitations and nosy neighbours...and tells of the family left behind: the grief, the stigma and the conversational minefields of her husband's whereabouts, as well as the logistical problems of making a baby sibling for her two children, and why it's not appropriate to tell people that Daddy's in jail. 'So why did you marry Dad?' my daughter asked. 'Well, over time I got to know him and he made me laugh, and - and I knew deep down that, that even though we were really different...he was a good person.' Without skipping a beat, she said, 'He's not that good, he's in jail!'.
  • 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 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.
  • Shallow graves play a grim part in many of Australia's most mysterious, bizarre and horrendous murder cases. And Australia's bushland, beaches, deserts, foreshores and suburban landscapes offer many opportunities for a murderer to hide his victim. But in this updated edition, Kidd points out how even the best-laid plans of the most devious can go astray when a body turns up. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • 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.
  • 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.