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True Crime

The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife

The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife

Rebecca Hazel

Double Reward Points
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'I could have chosen to turn away from this dark story. It wasn't mine, after all. What exactly was I doing? But whatever had happened to Lynette Dawson all those years ago, her daughters, her family and her friends hadn?t been able to turn away from it, and neither could Jo. So I decided not to either.'

In 2007, while working at a local women's refuge, lawyer Rebecca Hazel struck up a friendship with one of her colleagues whose name was Joanne Curtis. One day, while chatting over coffee, Jo told Rebecca about her past- about a missing woman, a husband who got away with everything, and a vulnerable schoolgirl at the centre of it all. Lynette Dawson disappeared from Sydney's Northern Beaches on 9 January 1982 and has not been heard from since. For eighteen months before she vanished, her husband Chris had been in a sexual relationship with his teenage student, Jo Curtis. 

Just days after Lynette went missing, Jo moved into the Dawson family home to live with Chris and his two young children. Later, they got married. Then, after almost ten years, Jo left him, taking only the little girl they had together. It was some years before Rebecca decided she would write about what happened to Jo, and to Lynette. She spent many days with Jo, picking over what she knew and what prompted her to finally leave Chris Dawson and go to the police. No charges have ever been laid over Lynette's disappearance, despite the recommendations of two coronial inquests, and Chris Dawson has always strenuously maintained his innocence.

The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and His Wife is a meticulous and compelling account of one of Sydney's most puzzling cold cases, brilliantly reconstructed from court transcripts and interviews with key players, including Lynette's friends and family, policeman Damian Loone, who has been investigating her disappearance for nearly twenty years, and crucially, Joanne Curtis herself.

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Death on the Derwent

Death on the Derwent

Robin Bowles

When Bob Chappell disappeared from his yacht, moored in the Derwent Estuary near the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania's marina, on the night of 26 January 2009, he left behind his pipe and tobacco - something that his partner of 18 years, Sue Neill-Fraser, knew he would never willingly do. What she didn't know was that despite no body, no weapon, no cause of death, and no witnesses, she would soon become the only suspect in Chappell's disappearance.

In their haste to wrap up the case, the police charged Neill-Fraser with murder. In her eagerness to assist police, she virtually talked her way into their hands. And after a lengthy trial that resulted in a guilty verdict, the judge delivered Neill-Fraser a crushing 26-year sentence.

But was the verdict unsafe? Many of Australia's leading legal minds think so, and other reasonable hypotheses have been mooted about what might have happened on the Derwent that night. The Tasmanian government has changed its laws to give Neill-Fraser one last crack at proving her innocence, because that is what it's come to now - proving her innocence.

The result of years of investigation, and based on extensive interviews with all the key players - including Sue Neill-Fraser and her family, local underworld figures, and legal luminaries - Death on the Derwent is a riveting story of justice not served.
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I Heard You Paint Houses

I Heard You Paint Houses

Charles Brandt

Now filmed as 'The Irishman' starring Al Pacino and Joe Pesci 'I heard you paint houses' are the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank 'the Irishman' Sheeran. To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the wall and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the Mob, and for his friend Hoffa.

Sheeran learned to kill in the US Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat during World War 2. After returning home he became a hustler and a hit man, working for legenday crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually Sheeran would rise to a position of such prominence that he was named as one of only two non-Italians on a list of the twenty-six most wanted Mob figures.

When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, the Irishman did the deed, knowing that if he refused, he would have been killed himself.

Sheeran's important and fascinating story includes brand new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight into an infamous chapter in US and Mafia history. This is a page turner that is destined to become a true-crime classic.
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Dave Cullen

Something changed with Parkland. When Nicolas Cruz shot seventeen students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on 14th February 2018, the story was tragic and familiar. Yet the eighth school shooting that year made history for another reason.

Days afterwards, young, traumatised survivors were galvanising their grief and outrage into action. Social media blazed with calls for gun control, and America listened. In just a few weeks, they organised national school walkouts, TV debates with senators and a march on Washington.

Dave Cullen had never seen this before. As the author of the definitive book on Columbine, he'd spent twenty years following the epidemic. This book will focus on the aftermath - the extraordinary #NeverAgain campaign that has seized the country with hope.

He will take the reader inside the school in the days before the shooting, where students anticipate exam results and rehearse the school play. He will recreate the six minutes it took for their world to shatter. And he'll follow, with exclusive access, the self-described 'misfits' who became the core of the campaign movement.

From media stars like Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky to backstage organiser Jackie Corin and rulebreaker Alfonso Calderon, their journeys, their personalities are at the heart of this book. Why this time? Why these kids? And will it last? PARKLAND will take you to the hold-your-breath moment when change might come for good.
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