Tag Archives: Shirley Finn

Interview: David Whish-Wilson, part 2

Below is part two of the interview with David Whish-Wilson, the WA based author of Line of Sight. Part one of the interview can be viewed here.

Is the history that you based Line of Sight on well known within WA? What was the reaction locally to the book?

The murder of Shirley Finn is probably Perth’s most notorious unsolved murder, notorious because of the persistent (and correct) rumours of police involvement. You might even say that Shirley’s murder has achieved the status of myth – the kind of myth that develops when there’s so little on the public record, and which functions to fill in the gaps left by unanswered questions. As a writer, of course, that frontierland between truth and fiction and myth and legend is an interesting region to explore. The good news is that Line of Sight has been very well received over here, and it’s gratifying to have been contacted on a number of occasions by ex-policemen and ex-prostitutes and others from the period who have expressed their satisfaction that finally this story has been told in a fairly truthful manner, even if it’s a work of fiction.

I did toss up whether to write the murder of Shirley Finn as a work of fiction, or of non-fiction, and in the end decided for a couple of reasons to write it as a novel, primarily because there’s so little on the public record about her murder, and specifically because people are still very afraid to speak on the record.… Read more

David Whish-Wilson Interview part 1

David Whish-Wilson’s Line of Sight was one of my favourite crime fictions reads of 2010. A re-telling of the events following the murder of a notorious Perth brothel madam, Shirley Finn, the book deals with crime and corruption in seventies WA. It’s a fantastic piece of hard-boiled noir writing, unusual for the Australian scene. I’m obviously not the only person singing it’s praises, as Line of Sight is in the running for best first fiction book in the upcoming Ned Kelly Awards.

A review of Line of Sight appeared on Pulp Curry last year. Since then, I’ve been hassling David for an interview. A few weeks ago we finally pulled it off. As finding a time to talk by phone proved difficult, David very generously agreed to provide written answers via e-mail to my questions. His detailed responses are fascinating, particularly to someone such as myself with little knowledge of life in the West. Instead of cutting them back, I decided to run the interview in two parts. Part two will appear tomorrow.

Line of Sight takes as its starting point the real life murder in the seventies of a Perth brothel madam called Shirley Finn (known as Ruby Devine in the book). How did you come across the story of Finn and what made you think it would make the premise of a good crime story?Read more