Three Crooked Kings
By Matthew Condon
As a child I remember seeing the Fitzgerald Inquiry each night on the news….. I had no idea it started this early, or was so ingrained… Not an easy read, but once you get the names bedded down, what is revealed will have you reeling, and there’s still two books to go!
In 1949, a young Terence Murray Lewis graduated from the police academy, ready to start his career in law enforcement. Over the next four decades, he rose to the pinnacle of power as the knighted Commissioner of Police in Queensland before his spectacular downfall and imprisonment after the Fitzgerald Inquiry in the late 1980s.
Three Crooked Kings follows Lewis’ journey through the ranks, as he becomes part of the so-called Rat Pack with detectives Glen Hallahan and Tony Murphy under the guiding influence of Commissioner Frank Bischof. The alleged suicide of prostitute and brothel madam Shirley Brifman in the early 1970s provides the turning point for a culture that reigned unchecked for several decades. It was part of a grand narrative teeming with murder, pay-offs, political machinations, drug heists, assisted suicides, police in-fighting and a complicated system of corruption that ultimately collapsed under its own weight.
Based on unprecedented interviews with Terry Lewis and access to his personal papers, Three Crooked Kings is the missing piece in the puzzle of the story of Queensland’s endemic generational corruption. It is a searing story of greed, crime and corruption. Awarded journalist and novelist Matthew Condon has crafted the definitive account of an era that changed Queensland society; an impact that reverberates across the country to this day.