A. E. Martin (1885-1955) was born in North Adelaide and grew up in Orroroo. With C.J. Dennis, he founded and co-owned the weekly newspaper, Gadfly, which folded in 1909. In 1912 Martin left for the fairgrounds of Europe, where Houdini became his mentor, and he later became involved in promoting circus events and vaudeville acts back in Australia. After the war he wrote and published magazines for soldiers and children's comics. Martin did not begin his career as a novelist until he was over fifty. In 1942 he won an award from the Australian Women's Weekly for ''Common People''. Many of Martin's mystery novels were published in America and Britain. He also had short stories published in US mystery magazine Ellery Queen and wrote radio plays and serials for George Edwards productions. He died of cancer in 1955. Many of the characters in Martin's novels were drawn from his experience of showbusiness and circus life. Bibliography Sinners Never Die (1944) The Misplaced Corpse (1944) Common People (1944) Death in the Limelight (1946) The Curious Crime (1952) The Bridal Bed Murders (1953) Short Stories The Power of the Leaf published in: Dead Witness: Best Australian Mystery Stories edited by Knight, Stephen
The time is the mid 1890s. The setting, a small outback town. Harry Ford, the postmaster, is opening other people's mail. They say nothing happens in small towns, but there's plenty to set tongues wagging in this neighbourhood of sinners; adultery, blackmail, disappearances, poisonings. And then the Great Boldini comes to town.