A Christchurch publican shot in a crowded pub, an Indian fruiterer beaten to death in Hawera and a trail of destruction left across Waikato and the Bay of Plenty by a multiple murderer – these are just some of the fascinating unsolved murders profiled in Shot in the Dark.
While the cases profiled may sound like very modern crimes, they were all committed in the years between the First and Second World Wars. Ten of the most intriguing unsolved New Zealand murders from the Jazz age are reopened and reinvestigated using modern techniques.
Given unprecedented access to cold case files, Bainbridge examines the lives of the victims and the events leading up to the killings, the original investigations and conclusions reached at the time. He analyzes the evidence and theories, and in some cases, names whom he believes responsible for the callous crimes, and explains why. He also looks at how the cases were reported in the media and how considers how different the results might have been if investigators had had access to modern policing methods.
Shot in the Dark is more than just a book of unsolved murders; it is also a fascinating snapshot of life in New Zealand during the Inter-War period.