Trace: Who killed Maria James? Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The riveting inside story of a journalist's cold-case investigation of a shocking murder.
Every cop has a case that dug its claws in and would not let go. For veteran detective Ron Iddles, it was his very first homicide case - the 1980 murder of single mother Maria James at the back of her Melbourne bookshop. He never managed to solve it, and it still grates like hell.
Maria's two sons, Mark and Adam, have lived in a holding pattern longer than Rachael Brown has been alive. When the investigative journalist learned that a crucial witness’s evidence had never seen daylight, the case would start to consume her - just as it had the detective nearly four decades prior - so she asked for his blessing, and that of the James brothers, to review Maria’s case.
In her exhaustive and exhausting 16-month investigation for the ABC podcast Trace, Rachael reviewed initial suspects, found one of her own, and prompted devastating revelations about a forensic bungle and possible conspiracies that led to calls for the coroner to hold a new inquest.
This is a mesmerising account, as Rachael traces back through her investigation - one that blew the dust off a 38-year-old cold case, gave a voice to the forgotten and the abused, and could have serious implications for two of the state’s most powerful institutions.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 35 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||01 September 2018|
|Publisher||Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 71,871 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
136 in Violence in Society (Audible Books & Originals)
278 in Journalism & Nonfiction Writing Reference
389 in Murder True Crime
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Reviewed in Australia on 13 July 2020
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Reviewed in Australia on 13 July 2020
On 25 November 1982, a coronial inquest found that Ms James’s murder was committed by a person unknown.
On 30 November 2018, the coronial inquest was reopened, with the earlier finding set aside.
I picked up this book having not listened to Rachael Brown’s podcast of the same name, after hearing that the coronial inquest was to be reopened. I found the book difficult to put down. Ms Brown has undertaken her investigation with a mix of determination and sensitivity. Sensitivity for Ms James’s two sons, Mark and Adam, who were aged 13 and 11 when she was murdered, and determination to try to get some answers. Ms Brown found that that a pillow, mistakenly included in Ms James’s evidence bag, had resulted in the police not having the killer’s DNA. Suspects were ruled out based on this faulty DNA analysis. A quilt, which should have been in the evidence bag and may have contained useful DNA, was missing. But there are other elements of concern as well, leads that may not have been followed up or seem to have been ignored.
The narrative shifts between the time of the murder, significant events in the years following, and the present. The picture I had when I finished the book was of a devoted, dedicated mother who was trying to protect her son from abuse by a priest. This story is not yet complete.
I hope that the reopened inquest can provide Mark and Adam James with some answers about their mother’s brutal murder. I understand that the Victoria Police are also undertaking their own official investigation of this cold case.
‘Sometimes the truth can never be fully told, because it breaks your heart forever.’
Top reviews from other countries
There are a few hints about what kind of person the murderer probably was, even who he was, but they are not followed up.
but this is also about the journalists who researched for over a year to bring the podcast together. How gutwetching it can be to open old wounds and interview the survivers. To fight for the ability to do this and the personal cost.