THREE CROOKED KINGS - Matthew Condon
In the 1950s elements in the Queensland Police Force started to develop the corruption and criminal behaviour that culminated in the Fitzgerald Enquiry in the 1980's and the gradual exposure of many of the key players.
THREE CROOKED KINGS is the first of two books that looks at the unbelievable situation, the main players, and (in the second book) the enquiry itself.
The author of this book, Matthew Condon, is an award winning newspaper journalist and author, and it's this background and his skill that clearly make this a very readable book. Especially as the subject matter is extremely sobering and uncomfortable. Starting out with the shocking death of prostitute, madam and confidante of many high-ranking officials in Queensland, there was an attempt to make Shirley Brifman's death seem like an accidental, rather than forced drug overdose. From there, Condon takes you through the stories of a number of the key players in QLD police and politics, drawing out the connections, charting their rises, explaining the methods used to corrupt and collude, painting a chilling picture.
Despite thinking that I knew a bit about the background to the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and the well-publicised corruption and the shocking levels of abuse and crime in Queensland's political and policing world, there were aspects of this book that were simply breathtaking. The sequel, All Fall Down, is going to be worth waiting for.
Having spent the past two years interviewing Terry Murray Lewis, former Commissioner of Queensland Police, Condon delves into the crime and corruption that finally resulted in the Fitzgerald Inquiry of 1987. Through his extensive research, Matthew Condon has spoken to hundreds of Lewis' contemporaries, criminals, former premiers, politicians and ordinary Queenslanders who were impacted by the events of the inquiry.