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When UK crime writer MINETTE WALTERS discovered that the bubonic plague entered England only a few miles from where she lives, she was intrigued. Her curiosity led her to write The Last Hours, the story of Lady Anne of Develish, who refused to believe the Church’s claim that the Black Death was a punishment from God. This new novel is a departure from the acclaimed crime novels that made her famous, but Minette assures readers that it’s just as suspenseful as her best whodunnits – and it has the highest body count. gr subjected her to a bit of intense interrogation about the new book.
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Archive Discoveries

  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! 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 >
  • Following on from her two-million-selling historical novel Orphan Train, CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE has delved into the backstory of a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth to write her new novel, A Piece of the World. ANGUS DALTON talks with the author.  Read on >
  • SABRINA HAHN has been WA’s go-to dispenser of green-thumb advice to radio listeners for more than 20 years. Now, in Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds, she shows you what to do in your garden and when to do it. In this extract she outlines how to encourage good predatory insects. Read on >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • The mystery surrounding Agatha Christie’s 1926 disappearance provided the inspiration for On the Blue Train, the second novel of US-based Australian author KRISTEL THORNELL. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how her research led her to parts of England where the celebrated mystery author lived – and to the North Yorkshire hotel wher she spent jer 'lost' days. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. Read on >
  • We chat to aspiring astronaut and sci-fi writer S J Kincaid on haunted graveyards, Star Trek, and her new YA galactic thriller, The Diabolic.  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Life to Come is the sixth novel by Michelle de Kretser, whose books The Lost Dog and Questions of Travel won a host of awards and caused a stir in the publishing world. I expect The Life to Come will be just as well received. Read on >

  • I enjoyed the variety of emotions and the rich imagery in Aman’s anthology. Read on >

  • The story begins in 1987 when Nat – the third wheel in a trio of teenage misfits – is pressured into participating in a séance with her friends. The girls attempt to invoke the spirit of bushranger Ned Kelly. But, unwittingly, they instead call forth Edward Kelley, an Elizabethan scryer and alchemist who worked with Dr John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. What follows is a tale of possession that spans three timelines – Edward Kelley and John Dee in 1587, Nat and her friends in 1987, and Nat’s son, Jo, in 2087 – that are all linked by that fateful night. Read on >

  • Bridget Crack, an assured debut from a new Tasmanian voice, is an intriguing and insightful look at life through the eyes of a female convict in 1820s Van Diemen’s Land. Read on >

  • Vivid but flawed characters – such as stewards, soldiers, aristocrats and priests – rise from the page. The chapters are interspersed with insightful extracts from Lady Anne’s journal, which touches on topics such as the degradation of women, class inequality and conflicting moral and ethical viewpoints on religion. This renowned crime writer has shifted to historical fiction without faltering. Read on >

  • Meredith Jaffé’s intricate exploration of relationships and the revelation of the full impact of toxic encounters is enthralling. Jaffé doesn’t let you off the hook easily, and after the climax she brings the loss and bitterness of these broken relationships back to everyday existence and examines how her characters carry on. I couldn’t put it down. Read on >

  • The lovely thing about this book is that it’s simply written in diary form, just like a child would. And the illustrations are so lifelike and complement the text beautifully. The long boat trip and the excitement of being in a new country are told in such a positive way that children reading this book will understand a little of what it was like to leave a homeland and start again in a new country. What a wonderful way to learn our history. Read on >

  • This stunning book, with its sumptuous illustrations on every page, will draw you in and bring the mysterious story of Tutankhamun to life. It will fascinate all children and adults who have ever wanted to visit Egypt and sail down the Nile. Read on >

  • If you’re a fan of Pig the Pug then you’ll love Aaron Blabey’s latest laugh-out-loud story, Pig and his long-suffering friend, Trevor, are dressing up for a photo shoot. As you can imagine, Pig has to be the centre of attention, hogging all the best costumes while poor Trevor looks on. But, as usual, Pig’s dreadful antics get him into big trouble. Maybe he won’t be such a show-off from now on. Read on >

  • Just imagine if ‘Mum went out to buy a new pair of gumboots, but came home with a rabbit’. In this book, The Great Rabbit Chase by Freya Blackwood, she did. And guess what he’s called? Gumboots. Gumboots is so soft and cuddly, but he’s also so good at escaping. And if you have a long rabbit hole to escape into and out of, then a runaway rabbit is hard to catch. I love this great rabbit chase, as Freya Blackwood has the whole town joining in, and her delightfully detailed artwork helps to tell the story. And if you like surprises then there’s a great big one at the end. Read on >

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