Read an Excerpt
In light of the extraordinary success of The Australian Crime File I guess it’s only logical that I would write a Crime File 2. After all, writing books is a big part of what I do for a living. And, let’s face it, it wasn’t as if the chapters were hard to put together, given that I read a ‘Crime File’ – one that I have written during the week – on the Weekend Breakfast Show, the show George Moore and I broadcast from 6am until midday on Saturday and Sunday on Sydney’s Radio 2UE.
Having said that, I would like to point out that many of the stories in this book are a little more out of left-field than those that appeared in the first Crime File. That edition dealt mainly with Australia’s better-known crimes, rather than the unusual or the bizarre. While a few of our more higher-profile cases – Lindy Chamberlain, Alan Bond and the Port Arthur Massacre come to mind – are in this book, you will also find many other yarns from our rich, unlawful history, a history that makes us one of the more unusual nations in the world.
While, sadly, it would have been impossible to write a Crime File 2 without the cases of multiple, serial, mass and child murder, this book also looks at a huge variety of lesser crimes that make up this genre. You will read about illegal SP bookies, bent police commissioners and cops, the day the police went on strike, our first political assassination attempt, the world’s best escapologists, bent entrepreneurs, Australia’s leading abortionist and underworld murders. They are all in here. Plus lots of fascinating historical crimes.
A ‘Crime File’ that I present on air is usually about 1200 words long and takes about seven minutes to read. Lots of the stories included here are the length I wrote them for radio, and exactly as I read them out on air. Others you will find are a little longer and, in some cases, a lot longer. I have gone to the trouble to re-write these as I believe that they are interesting enough to bring them to you in much more detail. The persecution of Lindy Chamberlain is such an example.
I have also included several chapters that have arisen out of my own personal experience and that I would like to share with you. The opening chapter tells how I supported a very brave man named Sandy MacGregor who visited a jail to forgive the man who had murdered his (Sandy’s) three daughters. In The Deep-Sea Contract I tell of my near-death experience at the hands of a marauding mako shark and a gun-totin’ gangster’s minder – both at the same time. And A Trout to Die For is the unusual story told to me about a couple of harmless crooks who try to outsmart the bigger crooks, with disastrous results. Fact or urban legend? You’ll have to decide that one for yourself.
Which brings us to my masterpiece, if I don’t mind saying so myself – Celluloid Serial Killers: The History of Serial Killers in the Movies. Years in the researching, it tells the history of serial killers on the screen throughout the ages and, as a bonus, I give my list of the top ten serial killer movies in history. Given that serial killer movies are either factual (The Boston Strangler, Ten Rillington Place), a mixture of fact and fiction (Wolf Creek, Dirty Harry) or just pure fiction (Se7en, Manhunter), there’s something in here for everyone – even if it’s just to assist you to make up your own list of favourites and compare them with mine, or to help you win a bet at the pub.
Paul B. Kidd