This book is a study of the "mothers" of the mystery genre. Traditionally the invention of crime writing has been ascribed to Poe, Wilkie Collins and Conan Doyle, but they had formidable women rivals, whose work has been until recently largely forgotten. The purpose of this book is to "cherchez les femmes," in a project of rediscovery.
Just where is justice in Australia hiding? This brilliant new collection of true crime stories takes us into the Australian courts of the 1980s and '90s, back in time to the goldfields of the 1860s, and out to the island nation of Nauru in 2006 to explore how the scales of justice are unbalanced. This is a world in which the innocent still get locked up and the guilty too often go free.
Mel is an unemployed recent university graduate when she runs into her almost-stepmother, Nola, whom she had last seen at her father's funeral. Nola offers her a job as a literary detective--find out who wrote The Scarlet Rider, so the press Nola works for, which publishes only female writers, can publish the book. Mel is sworn to secrecy, and particularly warned about a fellow-researcher who has his own plans for the book. If he's the villain of the piece, it's a very everyday villainy, a reminder of the saying that academic politics are vicious because the stakes are so small.
"To fall asleep and dream deams that change as quickly as the forms in an unsteady kaleidoscope, and to awaken with a bewildered feeling that you are not yourself but having changed places with some other identity, must be a sensation akin to that I experienced when I opened my eyes in the morning after my first sleep on the diggings."
About the Author
Lucy Sussex was born in New Zealand in 1957. She has degrees in English and Librarianship from Monash University, and is a freelance researcher, editor and writer. She has published widely, writing anything from literary criticism to horror and detective stories. In addition she is a literary archaeologist, rediscovering and republishing the nineteenth-century Australian crime writers Mary Fortune and Ellen Davitt. Her short story, `My Lady Tongue' won a Ditmar (Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award) in 1988.
Blurb from the book
Nine tautly plotted stories of crime and detection ranging from the darkly dangerous to the frankly comical. All with young adult central characters - some authors have taken their own characters back to their childhood - others have created completely new characters.