**spoiler alert** This is one of those stories that cannot be spoiled by learning its outcome ahead of reading the book, at least for me. At the time...more**spoiler alert** This is one of those stories that cannot be spoiled by learning its outcome ahead of reading the book, at least for me. At the time of print (2005), no arrest had been made. Since then, someone named McNeill had been tried & convicted -- BUT, even the pathologist who examined Janelle’s body said her injuries did not match McNeill’s account of her death. A juror from the 2007 trial admitted that, "We know he didn't do it, but know who did. He (McNeill) wouldn't tell us, so we decided to slot him." Serving a 24-year sentence, McNeill finally revealed those names 2 months ago in April 2011 ... so far the case has yet to be re-opened.
Doesn't affirm anybody's faith in the system, does it?
Reading this book, I was initially fascinated by the Norfolk's origins at Pitcairn Island and the Norfolk language, or patois, which is a mixture of 18th century English & Tahitian ("Welkam tu Norfuk Ailen", for example). Although given the general low educational level of islanders, i doubt anyone documented this language carefully. I imagine it would make a linguist very very happy.
The substance of this book, however, could probably be summed up in 1/3 of the volume that Mr. Latham took.
While the first 4 chapters give a lively description of island life with great writing (Ch.4 makes great reference to Norfolk & Pitcairn's cultures), it comes to a lull soon hereafter, when Latham begins to describe the aftermath of Janelle's murder to her parents. The "Who is Janelle?" chapter may be a good portrait of the victim, but it didn't make me like, or even care about her. Happily, "The Norfuk Wieh" & "Rooty Hill Road" revived me from my slumber. Stay tuned ....
The author's writing degraded considerably as the book wore on. It went from careful constructions in the first chapters to just being conversational & off-handed in the last 1/4 of the book. There were many "filler" chapters with no new information on the crime whatsoever. Neither investigator nor journalist by trade, the author offered conjectures that could not be taken seriously. I don't even think the book was proof read in its entirety.
Which is a shame, b/c the subject matter was fascinating. If you could just bear with -- or better yet, skip the uneventful chapters. This is a fascinating glimpse into sociology.
Some tidbits about Norfolk: Television arrived only in 1987, and mobile phones in 2006. As of 2002, garbage was "thrown over the side of the cliff (Headstone Tip) and into the ocean below, where a brown whirling cesspool heaves it against the rocks". As recently as the 1970s, the island had only dirt roads and the electricity supply was erratic.
I got interested in Pitcairn Island after picking up "Norfolk".
Too bad I couldn't find a copy of this programme by film-maker Nick Godwin. Jacqui Chri...moreI got interested in Pitcairn Island after picking up "Norfolk".
Too bad I couldn't find a copy of this programme by film-maker Nick Godwin. Jacqui Christian, who grew up on the Island gave an interview on the film: "Trouble in Paradise: The Pitcairn Story" http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wor...
Since the trial, Pitcairn Island is a community divided, with the lines of division splitting right through some families. The community is now one of the most heavily policed populations in the world - its 47 inhabitants have been joined by two Ministry of Defence police officers, two social workers, a diplomat and a doctor. And not everyone is happy about the newcomers.
The documentary includes interviews with the island's former mayor Steve Christian, one of the convicted men; his wife Olive, whose son, father and brother were also charged with sex crimes; his sister Brenda, who served as the island's police officer throughout the four-year investigation; Jacqui Christian, a Pitcairn Islander who testified against three men in the trial and who now lives in Britain; and the two principle investigating British police officers.
From a fellow Goodreader, "inner workings of an independent bookstore or how it might feel to be a sales rep pitching a publisher's catalog"
Plot sound...moreFrom a fellow Goodreader, "inner workings of an independent bookstore or how it might feel to be a sales rep pitching a publisher's catalog"
Plot sounds like a turn-around story of an old coot .. Maybe I, too, would "gradually understands that other people like ‘worthless’ fiction" as did Fikry, pun intended (pray observe: is our tale not a piece of fiction?)
Exp'ed travel journalist (assignments to more than 70 countries for National Geographic, etc) set out to New Guinea in 2012 to learn the ways of the A...moreExp'ed travel journalist (assignments to more than 70 countries for National Geographic, etc) set out to New Guinea in 2012 to learn the ways of the Asmat people & shed light on the Dutch govt's (The Netherlands) coverup on Rockefella's 1961 disappearance.
The "genre-true-crime" label is tentative. Author set out 2 theories: murder & (at the end of the book) one other I dont know about. Yes, very subjective.