Monthly Archives: July 2015

Certain Admissions: true crime as biography

certainadmissions

Certain Admissions: A Beach, A Body and a Lifetime of Secrets by Gideon Haigh (Penguin, 2015)

Certain Admissions is a gripping narrative of the murder of Beth Williams, her body found on a Melbourne beach in December 1949, and its aftermath. It becomes a biography of John Bryan Kerr, the young man convicted of the crime on the basis of a disputed confession, as well as an account of Haigh’s archival quest and an investigation of the many byways related to the case. It was the highest profile case of its time, perhaps due to Kerr’s charm and the salacious details of the crime. Continue reading

Advertisements

True North by Brenda Niall – some notes on biographical method

true-north

The metal bust of Mary Durack used to greet me each day at the entry to the Battye Collection during my year working at the State Library of WA in 2007. I saw it again yesterday, a couple of days after finishing Brenda Niall’s True North: The Story of Elizabeth and Mary Durack (Text, 2012). Busts make the people of the past seem so distant, but one of the achievements of this biography to make the Duracks feel quite alive again for a time. Continue reading