[ book ] A Scandal in Bohemia:

August 31, 2018

A Scandal in Bohemia: The life and death of Mollie Dean

Gideon Haigh

Rating: 5 / 5

Mollie Dean was not ordinary. She was intelligent and charismatic and determined not to be pinned down by the constraints placed on women in 1930s Melbourne. Trained as a teacher, her friends were the members of Melbourne’s bohemian circle, including painters Max Meldrum, Clarice Beckett, Justus Jorgensen and her lover, Colin Colahan.

But at only 25, on the cusp of establishing herself as a poet and writer, Mollie was violently attacked and left dying in an Elwood laneway. Family members were suspected and her friends shamed, but her murderer was never discovered. 

Armed with a single photograph, police records and the recollections of her acquaintances, Haigh’s excellently researched account of Mollie’s life reveals her as a woman who demanded her voice be heard. That this was denied her is a tragedy. Thoroughly recommended for true crime and history buffs. 


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Vol. 139, No. 13 // 4 April 2020

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