Richard Neville

On the Trail of the Serpent
  • On the Trail of the Serpent

  • Soon to be the subject of a major BBC TV drama, this is the only full-length study of notorious serial killer, Charles Sobhraj

    Charles Sobhraj remains one of the world’s great conmen, and as a serial killer, the story of his life and capture endures as legend. Born in Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and Indian father, Sobhraj grew up with a fluid sense of identity, moving to France before being imprisoned and stripped of his multiple nationalities. Driven to floating from country to country, continent to continent, he became the consummate con artist, stealing passports, smuggling drugs and guns across Asia, busting out of prisons and robbing wealthy associates. But as his situation grew more perilous he turned to murder, preying on westerner tourists dropping out across the 1970s hippie route, leaving a trail of dead bodies and gruesome crime scenes in his wake.

    First published in 1979, but updated here to include new material, The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj draws its readers into the story of Sobhraj’s life as told exclusively to journalists Richard Neville and Julie Clarke. Blurring the boundaries between true crime and novelisation, this remains the definitive book about Sobhraj – a riveting tale of sex, drugs, adventure and murder.

RELEASED 06/02/2020

Richard Neville was an Australian writer and commentator who first came to prominence as the editor of the counterculture magazine OZ. Having travelled the ‘pot trail’ throughout the 1960s and 70s, Neville was commissioned by Random House to write the story of conman and serial killer, Charles Sobhraj. The result, The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj was a global bestseller. His books include Play Power, Hippie, Hippie, Shake, Out of My Mind and Amerika Pyscho. Neville died in 2016. Julie Clarke trained as a journalist on the Sydney Telegraph before joining ABC television. She later became a New York correspondent for Australian Consolidated Press and worked as a TV producer. She was commissioned to write The Life and Crimes of Charles Sobhraj along with her partner Richard Neville, and endeavour that took the pair all over the world for three years.