Melbourne, 1893. Banks are crashing, businesses failing, the unemployed and starving marching in the streets. The aftermath of the greed and corruption of the 1880s is "an inferno of dishonesty and ruthlessness". 

In this splendidly interconnecting novel, a combination of history and fiction, a bank liquidator seeks justice for the victims of the crash. He confronts official obstruction and blackmail. A department store is fighting for survival. A young woman with "the latest retailing experience" arrives from Lancashire. Love affairs flicker and flare. A rich cast, layer after layer of plots, arresting scenes, social documents, marvellously evoke the era. The embattled city broods in a sultry summer, a deadly autumn.

This is the second book in Marshall Browne's historical trilogy, between The Gilded Cage and The Trumpeting Angel, both published by Duffy & Snellgrove.


Marshall Browne

Marshall Browne, born in Melbourne, was a sixth generation Australian. His forebear, a Calcutta merchant of Irish-Persian parentage, arrived in Sydney in 1809, and bought a grazing property near Cabramatta.With other land granted by Governor Macquarie, he settled down to New South Wales life as both merchant and grazier. He was one of the founders of Australia's first bank - The Bank of New South Wales.

Marshall followed several others of the family line into banking. During 1974-81 he was based in Hong Kong. He began writing novels in his spare time, and three with Far East backgrounds were published in London - the best known of which is City of Masks: a thriller set in Hong Kong's back streets and banking boardrooms which was translated into German, and published in Munich. From 1982-1995 he lived variously in London, Melbourne and Bhutan, in a variety of banking roles. He also served as a commando in the Australian forces, and as a paratrooper in the British forces. 

Country of Origin



Series: Aoki

Series: Franz Schmidt

Series: Inspector Anders

Series: Melbourne Trilogy

Series: Robert Hale

Year of Publication

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