Many with a passing interest in the news might remember aspects about the case of the murder of Allison Baden-Clay. Unfortunately she is yet another woman, killed by their domestic partner, for reasons which are impossible to justify. David Murray has done an outstanding job in THE MURDER OF ALLISON BADEN-CLAY in relating the stories of both sides of this case without resorting to either sensationalism or conclusion.
Whilst plenty of time is spent looking at the personality, behaviour and family background of Gerard Baden-Clay, equally Murray takes the time to introduce the reader to Allison, something which, unfortunately, is often missing from the reporting of a crime and the subsequent trial. Allison seems to have been a very conscientious and loving woman who was prepared to try to make her marriage survive, despite the serial unfaithfulness of her husband. A classic case of emotional abuse and controlling behaviour the informed manner in which Murray lays out the details of the case make the events even more chilling. The pointers to Gerard Baden-Clay's personality type are there, with the benefit of distance and hindsight, more sobering perhaps because of that. His behaviour post Allison's disappearance was particularly bizarre, and the reader can't help but wonder if that level of lack of awareness of reality is believable. Which, obviously, it is. Here is a man after all that callously dumped his wife's body, pretended he had no idea what had happened or where she was, stayed away from the massive search looking for her, tried to maintain his control over his daughters and basically acted like nothing was his fault / nothing would ever touch him.
From the outset he's clearly a narcissistic personality type, the theory and attributes of which Murray expands on at the end of the book. It's not just Allison that he seems to have been able to deceive though, although the unravelling of his business relationships happened pretty rapidly, and about the time in which his relationship with Allison started to experience some real pressure from her. Having said that, the idea that a man like Baden-Clay could attract another woman (his long-term mistress), who remained faithful even without the complications of children to support and financial / social ties that bind, is discomforting to say the least.
Murray has approached the subject matter of THE MURDER OF ALLISON BADEN-CLAY with care and respect. He looks at all the aspects of what makes a man not just kill his wife, but dump her body so disrespectfully, and then behave in such a callous and calculating manner, but he remembers to give the victim a profile, and her grieving family and friends a voice. Worth reading if you're at all interested in some insight into the shameful level of domestic violence cases occurring with horrific regularity in Australia.