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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Unofficial A-Z Challenge: K Is For Kelly, L is For Leonski

K is for Jim Kelly

Public domain

Look, we all know about Ned Kelly. You have to be from Mars not to have heard of Ned Kelly! And I'm betting that our first alien tourist will, after being taken to our leader, ask to visit the famous Kelly armour. Let's not talk about Ned Kelly. He only got a chapter in my book because you can't write a book about Australian crime and leave him out. 

Let's talk of Ned's younger brother, Jim, who wasn't a member of his gang. He was a Kelly and anyone in that family would have found it impossible not to have at least one or two brushes with the law, which he did in his younger years. But James died in 1946, after a long, quiet life, although I see from a 1912 newspaper in the National Library's Trove collection that he was arrested for a bit of minor cattle rustling in his middle years. Well, it can't have been easy being the brother of a national legend and having people say, "What, you're his brother and you haven't done anything dramatic?"

L is for Eddie Leonski

Eddie Leonski wasn't an Australian at all. He was an American soldier stationed in Melbourne during World War II. At that time, the street lighting was lowered to make a lesser target for bombers. The trouble was that these brownouts, as they were called, made murder easier. Eddie Leonski had already been in trouble in the U.S. for attempted murder. He was a man who became violent when he was drunk.

He was drunk a lot. In May 1942 he strangled a number of women during the brownouts. He was caught when another soldier found out and reported him. Weird as he was, he was found sane and hanged. 

If you're enjoying this, you can find my book and other titles at the Ford Street Publishing web site: 

It has links to the places where you can find them, both in print and ebook.

Tomorrow: Lola Montez
                    Arthur Orton


Pamela said...

I admit that I giggled at "minor cattle rustling." This series is fascinating!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Glad you're enjoying it! There were about three cows involved. I'd suggest that's pretty minor.