‘Beneath the palm tree she’d perished like a stone fruit amongst the leaves and insects: her flesh bruised a variety of shades, from black through to yellow; her facial features, for all their lovely detail, completely indistinguishable. Look what happened to me, I could hear her say. This is what they did to me.’
In February 2005, German backpacker Simone Strobel went missing in Lismore, New South Wales. Six days later her naked body was discovered, crudely hidden beneath a palm tree. At the inquest into her death the police stated their belief that her boyfriend, Tobias Suckfuell, had killed her, although he has never been charged with any offence concerning Simone.
Writer Virginia Peters was captivated by the case, and committed herself to uncovering the truth. With the agreement of the police, she analysed the evidence, uncovered new lines of investigation and travelled to Germany to interview the couple’s families and friends. Ultimately, she tracked down and questioned Suckfuell himself, who remained the prime suspect.
Having become intimately involved in the case, Peters came to understand that the story of Simone Strobel’s murder was about much more than the crime itself or the investigation that followed. Written with great honesty and self-awareness, and with echoes of Joe Cinque’s Consolation, Have You Seen Simone? explores grief and loss, truth and accountability, and asks whether justice in this case can ever be done.
About the author
Virginia Peters’ short stories have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. Have You Seen Simone? is her first work of non-fiction. She lives in Sydney with her partner and three children.
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