CategorySydney crime

Sydney Siege

Some of the lucky ones. Sydney siege

It’s not easy to write fiction when true crime with tragic results is to the forefront of news. And this news is very close to home. I have visited Martin Place and know the Lindt Cafe well.  My thoughts are with the bereaved loved ones at this time. But I hope, that in due course, we will again confront the challenge of balancing the rights and freedoms of people who are suspected to have committed crimes, against the rights of law abiding citizens to go about their business without  being confronted with terror and death. Even those who have escaped with their lives, injured or not, have had an experience none of us would wish to have.

And these murders come with a most cruel irony: that a Sydney barrister also a young mother would be among the victims. I didn’t know her but cannot help thinking she would’ve been committed to social justice (at some level, most lawyers are) and the rights of the man on bail to enjoy the freedom he sought in political asylum.

The actions of this killer do incalculable harm to peace loving Muslims around the world. Equally, there is every likelihood that the case of genuine refugees from countries who seek to adopt Aussie values and culture will be damaged.  Australia is a country born of immigrants, many with a convict heritage. They know only too well what it’s like to overcome adversity. As they do so in this time of grief, I hope they will continue to give people ‘a fair go’ and avoid the vigilante actions we’ve seen elsewhere in the world.


Researching stories

One of the best parts of writing is the opportunity to visit places I write about and Sydney provides no shortage of scene ideas. In the writing process, it’s my job to render those scenes for you, to help put you there. In this post, I’ve included some photos of relevance to particular scenes and I’ll describe what’s happening in the book Trust No onethe first book I wrote that is set  in Sydney.

The photo below shows part of Watson’s Bay, the Eastern Bays district of Sydney. It’s pivotal to the story  – whether lawyer, Sir Lance Donnelly, jumped from a cliff as later claimed in legal documents by Sasha Stace QC, or whether he fell as a result of an accidental slip, as claimed by his widow. Later in the story, Sasha is forced to consider whether he was  pushed, which ironically would require a payout to the widow, so long as she wasn’t involved. “The Gap” at Watson’s Bay is notorious in Sydney for being littered with places where many people have actually committed suicide. A local man, famous for his personal patrols and suicide prevention is characterised in the book. Sadly, the man known as ‘The angel of The Gap’ died when I was writing this story.

Sydney research 027

The building below is Government House, the residence of the New South Wales Governor General. In the first part of the book there are a couple of important scenes which foreshadow all Sasha’s professional conflict (she has plenty of personal and inner conflict as well).

Sydney research 002

After Donnelly died, the trust board Sasha was part of, celebrated winning a new land development tender for rest homes . But despite its grand setting, Sasha nearly ‘baled’ from the party when she encountered a vile politician with a penchant for inappropriate jokes and someone else who evidently mistook her for a whore when he said, ‘Nice legs darling, what time are they open?’

Later in the book, Sasha’s adversary, Detective Inspector Neville Inskip, and her ally, unorthodox private investigator, Clay Tempero, meet inside St Mary’s Cathedral shown below.

Sydney research 042 There is no love lost between these two men and despite the serenity of the surroundings this scene shows the palpable dislike each has for the other. The scene proves to be the springboard for more drama and tension between the two and ultimately a final showdown.


Please feel free to post comments or questions which I’ll do my best to answer.

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