Books

29 March 2016

Kidnapped: The Crime that Shocked the Nation by Mark Tedeschi, Australia, 2015



 I was a teenager when Graeme Thorne was kidnapped for ransom (his parents had won the Opera House lottery), but I still remember the horrifying effect it had on the whole country, and when I saw that a book had been published on the topic I was naturally drawn to it. The kidnapping by Stephen Bradley, and subsequent events, was in many ways the crime that propelled Australia into the brutal world of greed and violence, which unfortunately has become so much the norm for societies everywhere. Up until the kidnapping, Australians, on the whole, trusted and respected each other; houses were often left unlocked, and, when not at school, children spent their days beyond the limitations of parental control, often exploring. No one worried about them, because there was no reason to worry. After Graeme Thorne things slowly began to change. The kidnapping became a line between innocence and the loss of innocence.

Mark Tedeschi QC was also a child at the time of the kidnapping and was obviously affected by the crime. His book, written with the added perception of his many years in the field of law, is balanced, well presented, well researched, well written and, at all times, interesting. He goes to great lengths (both in the Preface and in the chapter entitled Hypotheses and Syntheses) to explain that there are certain aspects of Stephen Bradley's story that no one can possibly know for certain and that he therefore based Bradley's motivation and thought processes on what he managed to learn about the perpetrator, together with his own years of experience in dealing with the criminal mind.


There will be many readers of Kidnapped who, like myself, know the main points of the story before opening the first page, and yet I would imagine that Tedeschi manages to sustain both their interest and their feelings of suspense.

A book I would recommend, especially to anyone who lived through those weeks when the kidnapping was front-page news but also for anyone interested in what it is that can motivate an ordinary person to commit a heinous crime. As Tedeschi writes at the end of the book: 'Murder for greed is essentially a crime born of an abject fear of nothingness'.

Photo of Graeme's parents from  www.news.com.au
Photo of Stephen Bradley from www.dailytelegraph.com.au

2 comments:

  1. When a book is based on untangling the question 'How could this happen?' of a true life tragedy, it can be more confronting than fictive novels that follow a similar line. Thrown from the safe haven of fiction (where it doesn't matter if the endings aren't rosy, because no real person was hurt)... we're faced with the long-term pain inflicted on real people.

    Thank you for another thought-provoking review :)




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  2. I agree with you about the difference between non-fiction and fiction and how confronting the one is compared with the other. In the case of this particular book, I also had the memories of all the media coverage when it actually happened. As I wrote, it was so out of character with what people of that time expected of Australia and fellow Australians, and I think that this made the murder even more despicable and more tragic.

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