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Melbourne’s True Crime

Friday 6th April / presented by James Hall

Ingenue and poet Mollie Dean’s unsolved murder inspired part of the celebrated novel My Brother Jack. Now Gideon Haigh explores Mollie’s fate in an explosive true crime story that unearths secrets from Melbourne’s early bohemian arts scene.

In the early hours of 22 November, 1930, 25-year-old Mollie Dean was found dead in an Elwood laneway, strangled and violently mutilated. It was later revealed that Mollie was romantically entangled with leading bohemian artists and figures - a muse to Colin Colahan (married painter and disciple of Max Meldrum); conductor Fritz Hart and mighty wrestler Clarence Weber. And beneath the glamour of Mollie’s exterior ambition, her well-connected circle and her burgeoning writing career hid a troubled home life. Mollie was always an outsider, a low-middle class woman living in the suburbs with her widowed mother.

In A Scandal in Bohemia, Gideon Haigh reverses the conventional true crime story (about the killer, and guilt or innocence) by focusing on the victim’s life, and in doing so subverting the tendency of true crime to erase women. Gideon Haigh joins us in the studio. 

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