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MEMORIES OF BETTY: Who KiIlled Betty Shanks?

Posted by Jack Sim on 23 September 2012

Brisbanites Share Memories of Crime

Over the past week, as part of the 60th anniversary, Ken Blanch has been appearing instore across Brisbane to sign copies of his book on the Wilston Murder - including Dymocks Carindale, Angus & Robertson Post Office Square and Angus & Robertson Brookside bookstores. 

Ken spoke to more than 150 people over four instore signings - not bad for a writer who is 84 years young! 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and purchase a book, meet the author and support Jack Sim Publications. We work hard here to try to publish the best books on Brisbane's criminal past. Photos of some of those who bought a book and got their picture taken will be posted on Facebook this week.

The impact of the crime on Brisbane became rapidly evident with virtually every customer commenting that their parents or themselves knew about the case.

The theories came thick and fast - everyone had a view as to who did it  - ranging from the police officer who heard the screams, to the most common, local chemist Mr Huxham -  a good samariton guilty only of driving his customers home after he closed his shop. All of these local thoughts will be explored over the next few weeks in this blog.

Many people purchased the book as a present for their parents who lived through the era and still talk about the crime as if it were yesterday. Indeed for generations of Brisbane folk, the date and year of the crime is something against which they come to measure their lifetimes.

At Dymocks Carindale, Neil Carter and his wife came to meet Ken - Neil and his brother are the son of the Ipswich doctor Detective Ted Chandler was certain killed Miss Shanks. Ipswich locals spread the story that Dr Carter and Betty Shanks were linked. Dr Carter's mysterious death, and the claims of a link to Betty's murder, was to cause the sons of  the man a lifetime of anguish.  

Angus & Robertson - Brookside was where Ken got to meet a lady related to Betty's mother through marriage and indeed several people who actually knew the young woman. Several people who bought books went to Wilston State School across from the crime scene. One woman said that growing up in the 1960s when they walked past the crime scene they  crossed themselves; another reckoned one day there was some melting asphalt near the spot and her and her friends said it was blood and they all screamed! 

A reminder of the nation-wide coverage the murder received was heard at Dymocks Chermside on Saturday 22/9. One customer told of how her parents heard about the crime in Perth on the other side of the country. Her parents has migrated from Greece in 1950 to Australia and spent two years awaiting transfer to Queensland. In September 1952 they heard of the dreadful attack and wondered if they had made the right decision in leaving war-torn Europe. She was reluctant to buy a copy, but eventually did - worried whether her parents would want to read it about it. Sixty years later the crime is still impacting.

A number of people will be formally interviewed and their stories recorded for prosperity. Read this blog for details over the next few months.

Several people provided information about possible suspects, details long kept quiet. This information will be advanced to police homicide.

What was particularly wonderful was the reaction and support by young people - not only for Ken's book, but their sympathy and empathy for Betty Shanks and her family.

During the marketing of the revised edition, Ken and Jack aimed to try to reposition Betty as a real person, not just some historical murder victim; this seems to have worked.

If you haven't yet purchased your copy of Betty's story please do so through this website or Dymocks bookstores or Angus & Robertson.

Please attend the Official Launch of WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? at the State Library Thursday, 27/9/2012 at 6pm.

RSVP essential at: http://whokilledbettyshanks.eventbrite.com.au/



Author:Jack Sim
Tags:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderKen Blanch
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