It's 1850s Australia.
A double murder.
A locked room.
The murderer is dying from a gunshot.
But the reporter says the scene is near impossible.
Melbourne Herald reporter Edmund Finn – better known by his pen name Garryowen, author of The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, 1835 to 1852 – described it as "one the most atrocious deeds which darken the pages of colonial history". Yet he also reported that not one man in five hundred could have shot himself with that length of gun.
Was all as it seemed? Was the scene’s “discovery” staged by the dead woman’s husband to deflect suspicion from himself? Was the dying man the real murderer and was he sane?
This is a journey to Melbourne in 1853. Using historical detective work and tools common to those exploring family history, the author reinvestigates this murder case and those connected with it. He reveals a far more complex story with modern resonance.
What Readers are Saying
~ Gripping historical
~ Read your new book into the early hours of the morning. Fascinating! (City historian) ~
~ I am hooked on the combination of genealogical and news archive combinations augmented by proper archives. ~
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Precis: On Friday 21 January 1853, Charles Smith made a day trip into Melbourne from his new farm at Moysey’s Springs in the Brighton district, near modern day Cheltenham. While in town, his wife Bridget Smith and son Charles Joseph Smith were murdered. The suspect was their farm labourer George Whitfield Pinkerton, a recent crew member of the 1852 fever ship, the clipper Ticonderoga. The local policeman was Constable Ambrose Draper. And who was Henry Smith?
More: See this book index for more participants in the true story of Three Rabbits Alibi. Read about the inspiration for William Strutt’s grand painting Bushrangers on St. Kilda Road, 1852. Find out more about journalist Edmund “Garryowen” Finn. Plus a little miscellany.
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ISBN 978 1 31198 734 1
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3 Rabbits Alibi
Cover design incorporates the image: Wood engraving, “Group of Rabbits – First Prize, Exhibited by Mr. W. Bissell; Second Prize, Exhibited by Mr. H. Smith.” Walter Hart engraver, Alfred Clint 1843-1924, artist. Published in The Australian News for Home Readers, 25 August 1865. Source: State Library of Victoria. Accession no(s) IAN25/08/65/5
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Copyright © David Coombe, 2015-17.