True Crime

//True Crime
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  • 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.
  • In 1928 Bill Lancaster and Chubbie Miller were international heroes after their sensational long-distance aeroplane flight from England to Australia. In 1932, Lancaster was on trial in Miami, accused of murdering Chubbie's lover, Less than a year later, Lancaster disappeared on a flight over the Sahara and it was 29 years before his body was found beside his wrecked plane.  A log book, tied to the wing, contained the moving record of the last eight days of his life. Lancaster's dramatic end was in keeping with his adventurous life. The account of his search for work and his desperate efforts to retrieve his fortune, how Chubbie fell in love with  American writer Haden Clarke while Bill was away and how Clarke was found shot dead in  a Miami house on Bill's return all lead up to one of the most turbulent murder trials of the twentieth century. Illustrated with black and white photographs.
  • When high school sweethearts Karen and Richard Sharpe married, they shared an interest in medicine, a desire for a family and dreams for the future.  For Karen, the dream turned into a nightmare. After years of abuse at the hands of her physician husband, she tried to end their 27-year marriage.  Fearing a crushing divorce settlement, Richard ended the marriage first by unloading a .22 rifle into Karen's chest.  The murder revealed more than Boston society was ready for: Richard Sharpe's compulsive cross-dressing, with a preference for his own daughter's underwear; his taking of hormones to grow breasts, even stealing his wife's birth control pills to help the process.  But there was more - much more...Illustrated with black and white photographs.

  • At the end of 1831, authorities unearthed a series of crimes at 3 Novia Scotia Gardens that appeared to be a copycat of the infamous Burke and Hare killings in Edinburgh only three years earlier.  Soon three body-snatchers were on trial for providing the anatomy schools of London with suspiciously fresh bodies for dissection.  They became famous as the London Burkers and their story was dubbed "The Italian Boy" case.  The ensuing uproar forced legislation to end body-snatching in Britain.  As well as covering the actual case, this book is a fascinating window on the lives of the poor of 1830s London.
  • Australia has had its fair share of murders - the grisly, the macabre, the humdrum, the unsolved and the controversial. Men have been hanged who perhaps should never have been convicted; men have gone free who perhaps should have been found guilty.  Just the chapter headings alone are enough to entice the reader: The Crimson Feather; Roadside Nightmare - the murder of a courting couple by William Moxley; The Pyjama Girl case, still unsolved to this day; The Walking Corpse ( dubbed the 'Mutilator Murders') and more.
  • On 17 April 1935, a fisherman hooked a small shark off Coogee Beach, Sydney. Then, a four-metre tiger shark swallowed the smaller shark, allowing it to be caught too. But instead of dumping his catch, the fisherman took the larger shark – still alive – to the nearby Coogee Aquarium Baths, where it would make a wonderful attraction for the following Anzac Day weekend. At that time in Sydney, the shark was 'public enemy number one', since in late February and early March, three young men had been taken by sharks at New South Wales beaches. Bounty hunters were employed to help rid Sydney's beaches of the menace, so crowds now flocked to see this monster with man-eating capabilities, which was given the run of the pool. For several days the shark seemed quite active and had a voracious appetite, but on 25 April, Anzac Day, it began acting strangely: it appeared ill, moved slowly and was seemingly disoriented. Then suddenly there was a great commotion in the pool, and while spectators watched, the shark vomited up a tattoed, human arm. At first, another tragic accident was presumed, but a medical examination of the arm revealed it had not been bitten off by the shark - but had been removed from its body with a knife or other sharp instrument, and not in a surgical procedure. The focus of the investigation turned to murder - the arm was identified as that of Jim Smith: a bankrupt builder, a former SP bookmaker and boxer and a small-time criminal with a record of minor convictions, who had drifted onto the edges of the underworld and became involved in the illegal gambling that was rife throughout Sydney at that time. But Smith had also been a 'fizzer' - a police informer with connections to a seemingly respectable businessman, Reginald Lloyd Holmes - who was not quite as respectable as he seemed...  This history contains revelations made to the author by Patrick Brady, one of the chief suspects in the case.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A chance encounter in a fish-’n’-chip shop set Brendan James Murray on the trail of a mystery. Had a gay man been secretly murdered on H.M.A.S Australia during the Second World War? The veteran he spoke to was certain. ‘I knew about it,’ he said. ‘We all did.’ But was the story true? If so, who was the dead man? And why was it so hard to find out? This book is the search for the answer, almost stone-walled by cover-up and silence. In the end, it brings us to the lies that have shrouded our understanding of war, and especially of war at sea. As one of the survivors poignantly says, ‘I want to pass it on to the next generation. What it was like. What it was really like.’