Review - Mima, Shirley Eldridge
MIMA is a profoundly personal recounting of the death of a friend. A case that went neglected for many years until the author, Shirley Eldridge, 40 years later, turned amongst other sources, to a private investigator for help in trying to reveal who killed Mima McKim-Hill.
MIMA is the sort of true crime book that is going to work for those readers who feel a particular connection with Shirley Eldridge, who appreciate the brutal honesty of her voice and viewpoint in telling this story. Others might find that the palpable personal connection is less successful, overriding logical investigation and interrogation of the facts with too much emotion.
Within this narrative there is much about the witness statements and behaviour from the time that is obviously suspect. There is so much of the original investigation that's simply sub-standard or incompetent that it's almost breathtaking that it took so many years, and the involvement of a friend of the victim to make anybody look again at what is such a sad case.
Either way, the very personal connection makes reviewing something like this book in a less than completely enthusiastic manner extremely difficult. Obviously this is a dreadful case of incompetence and corruption on the part of the authorities, and the very personal quest required to get to the truth, combined with the time delays would have to take an enormous toll on the author and friend. There is much in Eldridge's actions that are laudable and admirable.
Why then it was less successful for this reader may simply come down to personal preference. People behaving badly always seems to this reader to be more devastating and starkly evident when their actions and words are allowed to speak for themselves. As is the balance between including every single line of potential enquiry, versus keeping a reader from becoming swamped.
Ultimately, you cannot help but admire Eldridge's pursuit of justice. You can't help but despair about the system that made it necessary in the first place, and you just have to be gobsmacked by the shocking lack of care and attention to the case paid by the police at the time.
Author Shirley Eldridge and Mima Joan McKim-Hill were friends and colleagues working for the Capricornia Regional Electricity Board in Rockhampton in 1967 when Mima disappeared while on the job. She had been abducted, raped and murdered and her body abandoned.
Shirley tells this deeply personal story, starting with the events leading up to the abduction, and continuing through to 40 years later, with the re-evaluation of the evidence, the unravelling of the lies, and finally, the naming of the killer.
Mima is a uniquely gripping tale of dogged persistence during the exhaustive investigation by a few who cared.