Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

Reading THE KILLING OF CAROLINE BYRNE you can't help but teeter between relief that the justice system may sometimes grind slowly to a just conclusion, but it does at least get there; and a strong feeling of dismay that a killer got so close to getting away with murder, maybe because of who he knew, perhaps more chillingly, because of lack of resources.

Either way this is a very interesting book about a very sad case.  It took many many years for justice to be done for Caroline Byrne and her family.  From the discovery of her body it seemed that there was something very wrong with the obvious conclusion of suicide.  Just because her body was found at The Gap, a common location for suicides, her body was embedded head-first in a crevice,  an inexplicably long way out from where you would think somebody could have jumped.

The book looks compassionately but truthfully at Caroline's family background, her mother's suicide and her father's quiet desperation for understanding of what happened to his beautiful daughter.  It looks a Caroline's own life, her work and her relationship with Gordon Brown.  It also looks at Gordon's own background, and his relationship with notorious Sydney identity Rene Rivkin.  It follows the long, drawn out police investigation into the circumstances surrounding Caroline's death, and ultimately to the conviction of Gordon Brown for her murder.

Well written, this book avoids sensationalism and simply prevents the facts.  There is an undoubted level of sympathy for Caroline's father, in particular, but it's careful, almost cautious and extremely respectful of a family, and a father, who has endured a lot.

Year of Publication

On a bleak, moonless winter night in 1995 beautiful Sydney model Caroline Byrne died, her body embedded head-first into a crevice at the bottom of The Gap at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

How did she get out so far, almost 12 metres from the base of the sheer sandstone precipice? Did she jump, as so many had done before at the notorious suicide spot, or had she been thrown in a fit of rage?

What began as a sad Sydney ritual of retrieving the shattered bodies of shattered lives turned into one of the nation's most extraordinary murder investigations, leading to the dark heart of a city gripped by greed, pandering to its powerful, and exposing a police force whose lack of imagination and resources was surpassed only by the doggedness of its finest officers to right an unforgivable wrong.

This is a journey to justice, the astonishing inside story of Caroline's father Tony Byrne's determination to find the truth of his daughter's death and, in doing so, test the justice system to its limits.

Review THE KILLING OF CAROLINE BYRNE - Robert Wainwright
Karen Chisholm
Friday, September 17, 2010
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