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Journalist JOHN ZUBRZYCKI tells gr about Alexander Malcolm Jacob, the shady figure he uncovered to write The Mysterious Mr Jacob: Diamond merchant, magician and spy, who attempted to sell one of the world’s largest diamonds to Indian royalty with disastrous consequences.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  Read on >
  • As a teenager, GAYLE FORMAN was so obsessed with ‘80s movie star Molly Ringwald that she started to imitate the actress’s trademark nervous lip bite – and now she has a permanent scar. After seven bestselling YA novels and a successful movie adaption of one of her books, she talks with ANGUS DALTON about her first book for adults, Leave Me. Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. Read on >
  • The 1970s and 80s saw DAVE WARNER lead two influential punk-rock bands. His demanding musician’s lifestyle left little time for writing anything but his next single. Nowadays Dave is a full-time screenwriter, novelist and playwright, but he still takes to the stage every so often for a good old-fashioned rock-out. ANGUS DALTON finds out more about Dave’s life and his latest crime novel, Before It Breaks. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. Read on >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. Read on >
  • Former pop-punk rocker LEN VLAHOS tells Good Reading about his new YA novel, Life in a Fishbowl, and how Marcus Zusak inspired him to write from the perspective of a brain tumour. Read on >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • It’s been over 25 years since the first Maisy books were published, and Maisy Goes Swimming was among them. Of course, if she’s going swimming, Maisy has to get undressed and we need to help her. Her blue hat and scarf first, then her brown boots and her red coat. Little tags on every page help us to put Maisy in her bright stripey swimsuit. Read on >

  • Maisy’s been for a holiday, she’s been for a sleepover and even visited a museum. Now it’s time to go the bookshop. She’s amazed how many books there are, which makes it very hard for her to choose. But Ostrich, the shopkeeper, helps her to find a lovely book about birds, just right for her friend, Tallulah. She meets her other friends – Charley, Cyril and Eddie – who all share their favourite books with one another. At story time Ostrich reads a book to them about a dinosaur. Then it’s off to the café where the food is so yummy. Read on >

  • This is a true story written by the author of such memorable picture books as Queenie: One Elephant’s Story and The Dog on the Tuckerbox. It’s a love story about a man and his pet gibbon and it’s beautifully presented with soft, wistful illustrations. Read on >

  • This is an extremely important book for every school and municipal library to have on its shelves. It’s written so that very young children will understand the injustice of it all, and the older ones in primary school will want to discuss the history of those days, which are written up in detail in the last pages of the book. Read on >

  • With a strong sense of contemporary Australian culture and a protagonist who is relatable, this story will stay with you. It’s a stirring tale brimming with the conflicts of youth growth and it offers a thoughtful take on issues relevant to the lives of many children. Read on >

  • The magical realism in Laura Ruby’s novel is beautifully rendered. The action switches seamlessly between Finn – his complicated home life and his new relationship with Petey – and Roza’s new life with the unrecognisable man. The conclusion is satisfying but perhaps too abrupt. Nonetheless, the love story, the search for Roza and the hope that Finn and Sean will finally be the winners will keep you reading. Read on >

  • I really admire how these two authors have co-written this book. The story is told from dual points of view. Jess expresses herself so capably, while Nicu tugs at our heartstrings with his broken English. The book is written in verse, which means, with fewer words on each page, the impact is so much greater. Read on >

  • Author Sara Barnard incorporates text message formatting to show the conversations between Steffi and Rhys, which makes them just like any other teenagers. Her novel is accessible and engrossing, even if you have no experience with social anxiety or hearing impairment. Read on >

  • If you want to do something a bit more creative with a spiraliser than grind out salad garnishes, then this book fills the bill. Read on >

  • By examining one man’s distinguished legal career, we get the opportunity to reflect at length on humanity’s dark side and become aware of the limitations of the law. Read on >

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