The Ballroom Murder by Australian author Leigh Straw is a true crime story full of fascinating historical detail.
Perth Australia, 26th August 1925, Mr. Cyril Gidley, was enjoying the festivities at the annual St John of God Ball, Government House. Guests had come from across the city to enjoy the grand social occasion. Miss Audrey Jacob ), Mr. Gidley’s ex-fiancée, and her friend, Miss Annie Humphreys arrived in fancy dress. Audrey dressed as Pierrot and Annie as Pierrette.
Audrey and Annie were enjoying their evening dancing and socialising until Audrey noticed Cyril in the company of another young lady. This upset her and her mood changed, she left Annie on the dance floor in the company of a male guest.
After the song ended, she searched for Audrey, when she saw her, she was wearing a stunning blue evening gown.
Annie was eager to leave the ball as she lived a distance away; her clothes were at Surrey Chambers in Audrey’s rented room. When she asked her friend to accompany her, she declined as she wanted to talk with Cyril.
Audrey was waiting for Cyril at the top of the stairs overlooking the dance floor, when she saw him enter
the dance floor with Maude Mitchell, she descended the stairs and made her way to him.
At approximately 1.30am Audrey approaches Cyril on the dancefloor, points a revolver and shoots him in the chest at point blank range. She is led away by police and charged with murder.
Lawyer Arthur Haynes represents Audrey in the Supreme Court with a strong a case, she pleads not guilty to the charge of wilful murder, although by many it was seen to be an open and shut case.
When the twelve male jurors return with their verdict, the jury foreman made the announcement “NOT
GUILTY”. Audrey Jacob leaves court a free woman.
Author Leigh Straw delivers a story full of dramatic moments that have you eagerly turning the pages in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. The narrative will especially appeal to fans of real-life crime, with twists and turns of the plot leaving you asking for more.
The characters have defining traits that pop out of the pages and their lively interactions gave the narrative a realistic and appealing element.
I really enjoyed the author’s writing style; Straw has done her research and has used first-hand newspaper accounts from the day. Details to make up historical background are wonderful and rich; the primary setting comes to life with details that describe the ball and the various mannerisms and behaviours that match the time period.
This an absorbing novel filled with romance, suspense, and intrigue The Ballroom Murder is a book to spend your evening with. I highly recommend it.
Thank you, Beauty & Lace, and Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read and review.
Copy courtesy of the publisher: Fremantle Press
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Ballroom Murder by Leigh Straw. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.