Almost Perfect: The True Story of the Crawford Family Murders by Greg Fogarty (February 2011)

Where Is Elmer Crawford?
Review by Kim Cantrell

Almost Perfect by Greg FogartyThe house at 136 Cardinal Road in Melbourne, Victoria, always held a fascination for Greg Fogarty. His family’s home was just a very short distance from the home that would become the site of one of Australia’s most infamous unsolved murders.

In July 1970, Theresa McManus Crawford was expecting her fourth child on the night her husband Elmer Kyle Crawford brutally murdered her and their three children: Katherine Jane Crawford, James William Crawford, and Karen Jean Crawford.

His plan was to kill them and leave their bodies in a remote area where they would never be found. And always the wise one, Elmer’s plan included an escape route should his plan go awry: make it look like murder/suicide.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Nothing went as Elmer intended and he became a wanted man; remaining a fugitive today.

Four decades have passed since the Crawford murders fascinated a young Australian boy. Now he’s a grown man who authored a book about the case he never forgot. Originally published in 1997, Almost Perfect: The True Story of the Crawford Family Murders breathes new life into a cold case, garnered world-wide attention, and was nominated for Australia’s coveted Ned Kelly award. Plus, the 2011 version offers interesting updates.

I love cold cases and I’m always excited about non-U.S. true crime (especially Australia; I can’t explain it, I just am), so I think it goes without saying that I loved Almost Perfect. It’s written in what I would sometimes refer to as a “sterilized style,” meaning it doesn’t bog readers down with a slew of what-is, maybes, or I-talked-to-him-once interviews. Readers get just the facts with a hypothesis (which is pretty dead on, in my opinion) as icing on the cake.

Any book that I read in one day deserves a spot on my recommend list. And that’s exactly where you’ll find Almost Perfect by Greg Fogarty.

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Listen to a radio interview with author Greg Fogarty with host Neil Mitchell: