It’s 1979. Auckland is on the brink. Fashion and music are bursting through previous boundaries but prostitution is still illegal and male homosexuality is still a crime.  Who is out to destroy Carmel O’Sullivan and her sister Tess, top call-girls in Rita Saunders’ gentlemen’s club? Is Tess embroiled in the heroin trade that has recently thrust New Zealand’s underbelly onto the world stage for the first time? Why is Carmel’s ex-husband Mike lurking about? Is Felix, the priest of the family, taking his moralising a step too far? What’s going on with Jonathan, their other brother, a respected barrister? 

When Tess is murdered and younger sister Maxine is among the passengers on the ill-fated Air New Zealand flight to Mt Erebus, Carmel feels doomed. Rita’s right hand man, Hungarian immigrant Istvan Ziegler, loves Carmel, offering her the safety and respectability she craves, but he has to compete with Rita for Carmel’s affection and commitment. Carmel’s life is on the line in more ways than one.

The Final Call delves into the past to say things about a world that are still relevant forty years later, for prostitutes, homosexuals and independent women, as well as for brothers, sisters and lovers.

Year of Publication
Book Source
Reading Pile
Review The Final Call, Jen Shieff
Karen Chisholm
Friday, September 16, 2022

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