Trials of Eric Mareo, The
When flamboyant musician Eric Mareo was convicted in 1936 of murdering his actress wife, Thelma, most New Zealanders believed that justice had been served. But a few were not so sure, including the trial judge and the Crowns overseas medical expert.
Moreover, the Crowns star witness, the dancer Freda Stark, had been having an affair with the dead woman. Why did the vast majority New Zealanders believe in Mareos guilt when the scientific evidence was so weak and the Crowns case depended on a person who by the standards of the day would have been called a "sexual pervert"? In the answer to this question lies an insight into the social mores of New Zealanders during the Depression, and perhaps beyond. The trials of Eric Mareo were a social drama that caught the conscience of a people.
CHARLES FERRALL is Senior Lecturer in English at Victoria University and the author of Modernist Literature and Reactionary Politics.
REBECCA ELLIS is a lawyer at the Crown Law Office in Wellington.
Praise for The Trials of Eric Mareo
This very readable book, by a lawyer and a senior lecturer in English, trancends its genre of non-fiction books about crimes and trials to become, as the authors intended, a work of social history.
Lawrence Jones OTAGO DAILY TIMES
...this is a fascinating account of New Zealand social conventions in the 30's and 40's.
David Veran SUNDAY STAR TIMES
This book is a delight.
Dr Willie Young Q.C. CHRISTCHURCH PRESS