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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 an officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series, set in New Jersey in 1915, based on Constance and her two sisters. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, ANGUS DALTON finds out more.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. Read on >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • Kit, only 19 years old, works for Shen Corporation
as a phenomenaut – a person who projects their consciousness into the bodies of animals bred for research purposes. This is the strange and intriguing premise of The Many Selves of Katherine North. ANGUS DALTON puts some questions to EMMA GEEN, author of this new novel. Read on >
  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. Read on >
  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. Read on >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  Read on >
  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  • Adelaide writer STEPHEN 
ORR, whose book The Hands
 was longlisted for the 2016 
Miles Franklin Award, likes to
travel the world inspecting
 sites of literary interest – when 
he’s not writing about cattle 
stations and small towns. Here 
he recounts a recent journey to
 the British Isles and Germany on 
which he visited the homes and
 haunts of some of the world’s best known authors. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 4.5 STAR REVIEW This novel, Jane Jago’s first, explores the seldom-discussed issue of violence perpetrated by children against children. It also looks at juvenile incarceration and rehabilitation, and to whom culpability should be ascribed when children commit crimes. Published at a time when the mistreatment of juvenile offenders in Northern Territory detention centres has hit the headlines and a Royal Commission is under way, The Wrong Hand is a disturbing yet relevant read. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Isabelle Li’s 16 short stories immerse our senses in the depth of feeling, rhythms, and the mysterious elusiveness of poetry, while her easy conversational style focuses on events in the lives of a number of people who have emigrated from China. Set largely in China, Australia, Singapore and also in the Philippines and London, the stories oscillate from the tropics to the temperate zones, and from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, where the moon in all its stages is the protagonists’ only companion. The stories reveal the emotional and cultural problems of the emigrants in a new land where they must deal with a new language. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Britt-Marie’s husband, Kent, has a heart attack and his mistress is looking after him in a Swedish hospital. Britt-Marie is in shock. She thought her husband was on a business trip in Germany. She didn’t realise he had a mistress. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review The novel tells the story of two families over 50 years, one in Virginia and the other in California. When the father of one family divorces his wife to marry the mother of the other family, who divorces her husband, the scene is set for blended families at holiday times. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review At the centre of the novel is cricket, a national obsession in contemporary India. The Kumar brothers – handsome Radha, the prodigy who all the selectors are fighting over, and his younger brother, Manju – have been working all their lives under the diabolical gaze of their father to improve the family’s status through cricketing greatness. And it finally seems as if they have achieved it.  Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, was published in 2014 to much fanfare but mixed reviews. It nonetheless became a bestseller. So it’s not surprising to discover that Burton struggled with the pressure that comes with writing a second novel. The Muse, however, is a solid achievement. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review What would you do if you knew you were the only person in America who could rescue the one man who could help bring the Manhattan Project to completion faster than the Nazi scientists could complete their own experiments with nuclear fusion? Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Bipolar psychiatrist Natalie King is recovering from a combination of PTSD and depression. She decides to relocate to a sleepy coastal town on the Great Ocean Road and complete her PhD at the local university. Her supervisor, Dr Frank Moreton, approaches her with a problem – his first wife died while pregnant, and now his second wife is pregnant and behaving erratically. Natalie reluctantly but irrevocably finds herself drawn in by Frank and his complex and tragic past. Read on >

  • 3 Star Review In this 14th ‘Charlie Parker’ thriller, John Connolly has again posited an ancient evil that prospers in a sleepy little backwoods American town. In this case, a cult-like group called the Cut (which is also the name of the area in which the group lives) worships an ancient totem, the Dead King, and for centuries they have lived off the proceeds of crime, rapine and murder. They live in isolation from the other inhabitants of the town and, generally, each side leaves the other alone. Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Sherlock Holmes is all very well, but lately we’ve see him and his knock-offs in so many books, movies and TV adaptations that it’s likely that some people are a bit sick of the Holmesian phenomenon. What to do then, if you’ve had enough of wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving young men? How about a wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving older woman? Read on >

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Books for Boys