Beneath its peaceful exterior the city of Adelaide has a dark history. From the disappearance of the Beaumont children to the Snowtown killings in the 1990s, it has been home to a long series of brutal and baffling killings and abductions. In The Element of Need, acclaimed author James Bradley uses this long history of violence as the basis of a fascinating exploration not just of his own childhood and adolescence, but of the psychic landscape of this most haunted of cities.
A thoughtful, beautifully evoked look at Adelaide's dark side - and, particularly, its reputation as a serial killer capital. James Bradley shows how the emptiness of the underpopulated city and the restlessness it provokes can inspire recklessness on the part of youth looking for sensation and adventure. He suggests the small-town insularity of different pockets of Adelaide society (from its upper echelons to its socially disadvantaged underclass) might provide a kind of cover for nefarious activity, or at least an impetuous to look the other way.
A fascinating look at the infamous Truro, von Einem and Snowtown murders and what they might reflect about the city. Curiously blends nostalgia, relief at having left the past behind and cultural analysis.