This Mortal Boy
Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders? Black’s final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, ‘I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.’ This is his story.
About the Author
Dame Fiona Kidman has won numerous awards and fellowships for literature including a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. Dame Fiona has written over 30 books, including novels, short stories and poetry, and more than 60 television, film and radio scripts.
An utterly compelling, award-winning recreation of the events that led to one of the last executions in New Zealand. But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about New Zealand society’s reaction to outsiders? Timaru District Libraries, New Zealand
Rich in 1950’s period detail, this deeply moving novel is strongly rooted in fact. It revolves round the second last public execution to be held in New Zealand which even at the time was regarded as a sever miscarriage of justice. The circumstances and public outrage over the execution were to lead to the eventual abolition of the Death Penalty in New Zealand. Kidman lets the characters and events speak for themselves and never sentimentalises or judges. An important book about a profound issue that to this day many countries wrestle with. Wellington City Libraries, New Zealand