Book Review: Suburban True Crime examines shocking crimes from Australia’s quietest streets

Suburban True Crime

When it comes to true crime Emily Webb is something of an expert. The Melbourne-based journalist is the host of the Australian True Crime podcast along with co-host and fellow author, Meshel Laurie. Webb has also published three books on the subject matter; her latest, Suburban True Crime draws together some of the same cases from two of the earlier out-of-print books, supplementing it with new research and interviews.

In this book, Webb’s focus is on the crimes that have occurred in unlikely places, namely Australia’s quiet suburbs. The cases date as far back as the early 19th century, and both infamous and obscure cases included in the mix. By looking at the latter, Webb is helping to raise the consciousness of these crimes. Especially as some remain unsolved and there may be people out there who still have vital information that could help law enforcement.

There is no chronology to order the chapters in this book. Nor are the cases also are not ordered by any particular theme. This can be a tad jarring for the reader and some may be left wanting an index or something else to link those that are similar together, as this could help aid understanding.

As there are thirty five different cases described in this book, there is limited space for detailed analysis. Whilst this can make it a good intro to readers wanting to read more about a wide range of different cases; there will be many readers who will be left wanting for more specific details. These crimes are so shocking and brutal, it is only with more information that we can truly grapple why they happened.

One of the crimes described involves the mistaken identity and murder of Melbourne mother, Jane Thurgood-Dove. Another case includes the rape and murder of Annette Morgan on a Sydney University campus, which led to more heightened security measures at the institution. Another victim, Nannette Alice’s property was subject to brutal vandalism prior to her killing. The senseless slaying of over sixty animals at Adelaide Zoo in 1985 is also covered with much empathy.

Suburban True Crime is a sold true crime collection about some truly shocking cases. Webb presents these in a way that straddles the lines between human sensitivity for the families left behind, and a journalist’s powerful objectivity. It means this set could make for a somewhat satisfying read for those fans who want to know more about some terrible acts that took place in the quiet corners of this country.


Suburban True Crime by Emily Webb is available now through Simon and Schuster Australia. Grab yourself a copy from Booktopia HERE.