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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.
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Archive Discoveries

  • Ed Yong – science reporter for The Atlantic and blogger for National Geographic – has just published his first book, I Contain Multitudes: The microbes within us and a grander view of life. We asked him to tell us about his reading life.   What are you
reading now?
 Patient H.M. by 
Luke Dittrich, because 
my editor for my own 
book sent me a galley
 copy! I’m glad she
 did. Henry Molaison 
was arguably the most
influential patient in
all of neuroscience.
 After an operation to
cure his epilepsy, he lost the ability to form new memories – think Memento – and so taught us much about how our memories work. Dittrich is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Molaison, and he brings a deeply personal flavor to the incisive reporting and colourful writing that characterise this book. What are your three favourite books?
 The Song of the Dodo: Island biogeography in the age of extinctions by David Quammen is natural history writing at its finest – a witty, insightful tour of the planet’s islands and what they tell us about our increasingly fragmented world. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell offers genre-hopping stories but delivers a deep fable about hope and nihilism; I stared silently out a window for the longest time when I finished 
it. Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz is a wondrous study of human error that blends literature, science and philosophy. Read on >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  Read on >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  Read on >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   Read on >
  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >
  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Elspeth Muir’s memoir begins at the funeral of her younger brother, Alexander. She describes him in the coffin: ‘Beneath the lid was my brother’s soggy body – fresh from the refrigerator – pickled in embalming fluids, alcohol and river water.’ From this visceral description until the end of the book, Elspeth’s writing is superb, sinuous and unrelentingly engrossing. Read on >

  • On Thursdays, 42-year-old Ted and his dog Lily talk about boys they think are cute. Ted fawns over Ryan Gosling and Lily scandalously suggests Chris Pratt. Friday is therapy day. Ted endures an hour in an overlit office and craves cookies while Jenny, the feckless therapist, tries to achieve insights into why he and Jeffrey, his partner of six years, split up. Read on >

  • When a book is finally finished, I find it hard to think about it any more … I want to fill my head with something totally different, with a new book. My favourite book is the ‘new’ book I’m working on, still working out and trying to make better than the books I made before it! Before I held a copy 
of Jeannie Baker’s latest book, Circle, in my hands I had no idea ... Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Shortlisted for the T.A.G. Hungerford Award in 2014, Portland Jones’s Seeing the Elephant is a rewarding and poignant read that addresses the themes of war, post-war life, grief, change and friendship. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Hannah Kent’s magnificent Burial Rites brought her to international attention – and deservedly so. A meticulously researched and nuanced portrait of the last woman sentenced to death for murder in Iceland, Burial Rites marked the arrival of a genuine literary talent. Her latest novel, The Good People, will not disappoint. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Doyle’s debut is funny, engaging, fast and fascinating but, above all, it reads as a warning. I was thoroughly rattled by its ending. Read on >

  • 3.5 Star Review What makes multi-volume historical fiction such as this enjoyable are two things: strong and unconventional characterisation and a basic respect for the historical facts. Read on >

  • 3 star review ‘Write what you know’ is sage advice for any budding novelist. This author has done just that in describing how a single mother PR consultant buys a run-down blueberry orchard in northern Victoria. This interesting book certainly makes one appreciate that next punnet of blueberries. Read on >

  • 3.5 star review Two races uneasily share the great forest: the Earth Walkers, who draw their power from the moon, and the Tribe of Trees, who worship the sun. Each clan sees the other as savage and unreasonable and there’s no understanding between the two. Read on >

  • This 21st ‘Rebus’ book proves that there is plenty of life left in the series. The fraught relationships between Rebus, Clarke and Fox lie at the heart of the narrative and are just as important as the convoluted strands of their intertwining investigations. Read on >

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