When I was just an impressionable 17 year old, as part of a family holiday in California, we visited Alcatraz, the famous prison in San Francisco. On the day we were there, one of the ex-inmates happened to be there giving a talk and promoting his autobiography. I can’t remember the exact reasons why, or which aspects of his chequered past triggered my fascination but I ended up buying his book, devouring every word about his childhood, his crime, his stay at Alcatraz and how he rebuilt his life afterwards. I was so captivated by him that I even wrote him a letter! Let’s not call it fan mail as that would make this weird story even weirder.
From then on, I’ve always been secretly fascinated with prisons, prison life and any film or TV show that features that kind of thing.
Given my warped fascination with the stories of certain criminals, when we came to Hong Kong and I heard about Nancy Kissel, the brief outline of her story and the fact that there was a book about it, I went out and bought the book straight away. It’s called ‘Never Enough’. Unsurprisingly, I was gripped, couldn’t put it down and finished it about 10 days ago declaring her totally wrong in the head.
Nancy Kissel is an expat wife (so am I), who moved to Hong Kong to support her husband in his career (so did I). They lived the life of luxury at Parkview (so did we for a bit) before events unfolded, resentment kicked in and the deranged side of her took over and she murdered him in a horrific way, keeping his body in their apartment for a few days before wrapping it in a huge rug and getting Parkview porters to schlep it down to a storeroom. Unsurprisingly, at that point, she got caught and is now seeing out her days in Stanley Prison.
Also unsurprising is Dan’s slight concern that my prisoner fascinations are bubbling to the fore yet again. I think the next time I announce I’m off to Stanley he’s going to worry that I’ve got myself some sort of visiting permit to have a chat with Nancy Kissel about how much we have in common!
Nothing to worry about Dan – the clear moral of this story is that if you schlep your wife to live on the other side of the world, you must keep her happy, very happy, give her everything she wants, take her wherever she wants, shower her with gifts and everything will be just fine.