Mad Or Bad? The Life and Exploits of Mary Bock 1859-1943


Amy Bock's life has been the inspiration for plays, books, a television programme, a photographic exhibition, a musical composition and recent events surrounding the re-enactment of her wedding as Percy Redwood at Kaka Point 100 years ago. Mad or Bad? is the first full-length biography of New Zealand's most notorious female criminal con artist. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Amy had a convict heritage on both sides of her family. While she gained notoriety in 1909 for her impersonation of a man and marriage with an unsuspecting woman, the author shows how her whole life was one of fraud and misrepresentation. After teaching for six years in Victorian schools until she was asked to resign, Amy migrated to New Zealand in 1884. Assuming a variety of personae and remaining conveniently itinerant, she pursued a consistent course of petty crime for the next twenty-five years. In presenting her colourful and chequered life, this biography leaves the reader to judge whether she was essentially mad or just bad. Contents: Prologue: Telling Tales: The con artist and the biographer -- 1: Convicts, criminals and artists: 'It is in my blood' -- 2: Inherited 'peculiarities' from her mother -- 3: 'So I beg of you to excuse all errors this time' -- 4: A perfect mania for what she calls 'shopping' -- 5: There was a great deal of method in her madness -- 6: Unique in colonial criminology -- 7: The case of the female bridegroom -- 8: A startling denouement -- 9: Declared an habitual criminal -- Epilogue: Mad or Bad? -- Notes -- Appendices -- Bibliography -- Index. First published June 2010.

Inscription on half title

Product Information

General Fields

  • : Otago University Press
  • : 235x155mm
  • : 9781877372711
  • : Otago University Press
  • : January 2010
  • : general