Snowtown, Jeremy Pudney

Cover of Snowtown by Jeremy PudneyJeremy Pudney is a journalist from Adelaide, who was a crime reporter for The Advertiser at the time the bodies in the barrels murders were discovered. He breaks the story into 3 sections: the police working to figure out why the same names kept popping up in missing persons investigations; the murders and the people behind them; and the court trials and appeals. It’s a quick read, especially if you skim quickly through the gruesome parts in the middle section. Pudney takes a just-the-facts approach, letting the details speak for themselves.

Adelaide has a bit of a reputation for weird crimes, but this must have completely taken over Pudney’s working life. I’d have liked to hear more from him about the issues on reporting something like this. It was an enormous story in terms of number of perpetrators and victims, in the amount of media interest including from overseas, and in the length of time covered. But he has the best account of the steps taken in the investigation that I’ve read anywhere, which I’m assuming comes from his long relationship with the Adelaide police. People who enjoy police procedurals will get the most from this book.

These days Pudney is news director at Channel 9 Adelaide. He hasn’t written any more books to date, and I hope this is because he hasn’t had to pay close attention to any more grim torture scenes. One case like this is enough for a lifetime I reckon.