Book Review: The Scene Of the Crime, by Steve Braunias

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_scene_of_the_crimeI have read a lot of True Crime books over my reading life, though the number has slowed over the years as the American market has been flooded by what could only be described as repetitive trash. I would be lucky to source three or four books from there in a year; the Australian and New Zealand market, however, gets better and better, and from this market comes the brilliant The Scene of the Crime.

Braunias has put together a very good slice of our crime pie in this compilation… everything from the now notorious hit and run banker, the sword-wielding Antonie Dixon, the ghastly Rolf Harris to Mark ‘Lundy Hundy’ Lundy, who probably has a category all of his own, for convictions related to the same crime. In fact, Braunias does such a good and fair job with Mr Lundy that for a moment there I almost had doubt but no, I woke up, and Lundy is still guilty as.

Clint Rickards and Antonie Dixon get a very fair and engaging hearing as does the poor Guy Hallwright who wrecked a number of lives via his hit-and-run antics, his once-glorious bankers’ life a little shabbier these days. He also covers Brad Murdoch, who is serving a hefty sentence for the murder of Englishman Peter Falconio, who some people still feel is alive and well and out there somewhere, possibly with Lord Lucan.

This is a very well-written book, the choice of tales told is spot on though eclectic, and each chapter flows on from the next: you simply want to keep reading. The people who populate this book, no matter how ghastly their crime, are quietly fascinating and each stands out in some way, sometimes even just for the ordinariness of their actions and the motivation for their crime. Braunias is very good at digging into the background of the tale, the ‘what came before’, which gives an enhanced picture of a situation and tells the reader why it evolved into something else. In particular the Lundy case stands out but so does the Hallwright case, I haven’t read better on Antonie Dixon or Clint Rickards either.

Fair and balanced, a very good read indeed for anyone with an interest in this genre or the particular cases it covers, this is a book that will be passed around and will undoubtedly lead to some heated discussions.

Reviewed by Marion Dreadon

The Scene Of the Crime
by Steve Braunias
Published by HarperCollins NZ
ISBN 9781775540830

Steve is in Wellington this week, promoting this book:
18 November, at Unity Books Wellington, 12 noon – 12.45pm
18 November, at Marsden Books, Karori, Wellington, 6 – 7pm

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