+612 9045 4394
Joe Cinque's Consolation : A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law - Helen Garner

Joe Cinque's Consolation

A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law


Published: 1st September 2006
In Stock. Ships today or next business day from Australia
RRP $24.95

eBook View Product

Published: 10th November 2007
Format: ePUB


In October 1997, a clever young law student at ANU made a bizarre plan to murder her devoted boyfriend after a dinner party at their house. Some of the dinner guests – most of them university students – had heard rumours of the plan. Nobody warned Joe Cinque. He died one Sunday, in his own bed, of a massive dose of Rohypnol and heroin. His girlfriend and her best friend were charged with murder.

Helen Garner followed the trials in the ACT Supreme Court. Compassionate but unflinching, this is a book about how and why Joe Cinque died. It probes the gap between ethics and the law; examines the helplessness of the courts in the face of what we think of as "evil"; and explores conscience, culpability, and the battered ideal of duty of care.

It is a masterwork from one of Australia's greatest writers.

About the Author

Helen Garner was born in Geelong in 1942. She has been publishing novels, short stories, non-fiction and journalism since 1977 when her first novel, Monkey Grip, appeared. Her most recent books are The First Stone, True Stories, My Hard Heart and The Feel of Steel. She lives in Melbourne.


Plenty of food for thought


Thoughtful and moving, this account of a bizarre murder in Canberra is forensically displayed and examined, ending up with a eulogy for the victim, the person who frequently gets forgotten in our legal system. She's an impressive writer.


a thought-provoking read


4.5 stars Joe Cinque's Consolation. A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law is a non-fiction book by award -winning Australian author, Helen Garner. In March 1999, a respected senior journalist suggested to Garner that she write about the murder, in October 1997, of young civil engineer, Joe Cinque. At first reluctant, Garner became intrigued by the case. The bones were this: Cinque's girlfriend and her best friend had been charged with murdering him by giving him a massive dose of Rohypnol, then injecting him with her0in. After an aborted joint jury trial, each accused was being tried separately in a judge-only trial. By the time Garner arrived in Canberra for the trial, the prosecution's case for the girlfriend, law student Anu Singh, was already done, and the defence was presenting their case. Garner attended the remainder of that trial, the sentencing hearing and then the trial of law student Madhavi Rao, Anu's best friend. She also read through all the transcripts of the aborted trial and the trial she had attended. In her book Garner includes discussions she had with journalists, with AFP officer involved, with other judges, and eventually with the presiding judge, Justice Crispin. She includes comments overheard and interviews with Joe's parents Maria and Nino Cinque as well as his family and friends. She also interviewed the parents of the accused, Dr Pradyumn Singh and Mrs Dr Surinder Singh. Conspicuous by their absence are any words from the two accused, who declined to be interviewed. This is no clinical analysis of the case. Garner describes all involved: defence counsel, prosecutor, judge, accused, witnesses and those in the public gallery. She reports not just testimony, but also behaviour, attitude and body language, showing just how very human they all are. She does not hesitate to include her own opinions, reactions, feelings, and moods, and even the reactions of those who heard that she may be writing a book about it.




I love Helen Garner as a writer and was immediately drawn to this book as a true human interest and crime story combined. I have always loved the mix and Helen Garner put it all together so eloquently and coherently. Her doggedness with the subject, especially from the legal standpoint, was mesmerising. It is a book for all ages but especially for those who have, or have had, troubled relationships and the risks that can be just below the surface. The drug use adds another dimension. This book has absolutely no faults

Uralla, Northern Tablelands NSW

couldnt put it down


easy read, interesting story. couldn't put it down.



Joe Cinque's Consolation

4.3 4


Helen Garner

Helen Garner’s first novel, Monkey Grip, was published in 1977, and immediately established her as an original voice on the Australian literary scene. She is known for incorporating and adapting her personal experiences in her fiction, something that has brought her both praise and criticism, particularly with her novels, Monkey Grip and The Spare Room.

Throughout her career, Garner has written both fiction and non-fiction. She attracted controversy with her book The First Stone about a sexual harassment scandal in a university college. She has also written for film and theatre, and has consistently won awards for her work.

In subsequent books, she has continued to adapt her personal experiences. Her later novels include The Children’s Bach and Cosmo Cosmolino. In 2008 she returned to fiction writing with the publication of The Spare Room, a fictional treatment of caring for a dying cancer patient, based on the illness and death of Garner’s friend Jenya Osborne. She has also published several short story collections: Honour & Other People’s Children: two stories, Postcards from Surfers and My Hard Heart: Selected Fictions.

Visit Helen Garner's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9780330421782
ISBN-10: 0330421786
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 348
Published: 1st September 2006
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.0  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1