If I Tell You … I'll Have to Kill You, edited by Michael Robotham

Geoffrey McGeachin’s number one writing rule is Real writing is rewriting. Gabrielle Lord’s is Make writing your first priority, and Peter Corris doesn’t want to set rules but does advise learning from both mistakes and successes. With nineteen others, these crime writers share their journey to publication, their writing processes, tips and rules, and recommended reads in If I Tell You… I’ll Have to Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets.

Whilst suitable for anyone with an interest in crime fiction or true crime, this offering is most likely to appeal to writers (and aspiring writes) of the genre. The contributors are all multi published Australian authors, who’ve also had success on the international stage. Though crime is the common ground, the range of their writing focus is broad – from true crime, to detective novel, to historical fiction and more.

Because each chapter is contributed by a different author, the book can be either read cover to cover or dipped into, and while the focus is crime writing, writers of all interests and levels of experience are likely to find value in both the writing advice and the sharing of journeys to publication (and beyond).

Other contributors include Kerry Greenwood. Garry Disher, Barry Maitland and Leigh Redhead.



If I Tell You… I’ll Have to Kill You: Australia’s Leading Crime Writers Reveal Their Secrets, edited by Michael Robotham
Allen & Unwin, 2013
ISBN 9781743313480

Available from good bookstores and online.

All My Enemies, by Barry Maitland

Within the snug, still house, a womb of Axminster and Liberty against an uncertain world, something awful had exploded in just this one room…
“My God!” Kathy muttered under her breath, and moved forward towards the remains of Angela Hannaford.

Kathy Kolla is delighted to finally be starting her dream job, working alongside DCI Brock in the Serious Crime Division at New Scotland Yard. Her first case, though, is a perplexing one. A young woman has been brutally slain, with no apparent motive and few clues. When Kathy finds a tenuous link yo a local amateur dramatic group, she follows it, finding herself drawn into their rank. But as the date of their next performance draws closer, finding the killer in time to stop another murder is difficult, with a complex web of secrets concealing the truth.

All My Enemies is one of the earlier titles from the popular Brock and Kolla series, newly re-released in Australia. For those who have read later titles, this one provides some background insight into characters and relationships, whilst also presenting a gripping mystery. Like all the titles in the series, this one stands alone, but is likely to entice lovers of crime fiction to seek out others.

All My Enemies

All My Enemies, by Barry Maitland
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781742376547

Available from good bookstores or online.

The Dark Mirror, by Barry Maitland

“No, well, anyone else probably wouldn’t have noticed, because this is so unusual now, in this country – the first case I’ve come across, to tell the truth. But I remember the smell so well from my student days, in India. We opened up a number of victims – well, the stuff was readily available, you see, in herbicide and pesticides and industrial processes and God knows what…’
Kathy waited but he seemed momentarily at a loss. ‘What are we talking about, Sundeep?’ she asked gently.
‘Arsenic, Kathy. I’m almost sure that she died of arsenic poisoning.’

When graduate student Marion Summers collapses and dies, the cause is not immediately apparent. But when the autopsy reveals arsenic poison, DI Kathy Kolla is sent to investigate. Is this a dramatic suicide, or has someone murdered the mysterious Ms Summers?

Marion’s research into the life of artist Dante Gabriel Rosetti seems an unlikely part of the murder mystery, but given both the issue of arsenic poisoning amongst his associates, and Marion’s obsession with the issue, Kathy becomes increasingly sure there is a link. But as she and DCI Brock get closer to uncovering the truth, there is a second poisoning – this time one of Marion’s student friends – and it appears there is a serial killer on the loose.

Dark Mirror is the tenth installment in the much-lauded Brock and Kolla series from crime writer Barry Maitland. Using characters with whom fans of the series will be familiar, as well as plenty of new faces, there is no disadvantage for those who have not read the earlier stories but a nice sense of the familiar for those who have. The mystery itself is fast paced, with lots of suspects, clues and red herrings, and action which keeps the pages turning.

A gripping, satisfying mystery.

The Dark Mirror, by Barry Maitland
Allen & Unwin, 2009

Babel, by Barry Maitland

When Professor Springer, one of England’s leading philosophers, is assasinated on the steps of the London University where he works, DCI David Brock is called into investigate. His usual partner, Kathy Kolla is on leave.

Springer has been outspoken in his views against fundamentalism, and suspicion is cast on London’s Arab communities. When Kolla is drawn into the investigation, it becomes more complex. Is the murder as straightforward as it seems, or could it relate to the deep divisions between different factions in the university?

Brock and Kolla must solve the mystery before further violence gets out of hand.

Babel is crime fiction as it should be written – danger and intrigue combine with characters of substance and just the right level of surprise.

Barry Maitland was born and raised in Britain. He came to Australia to teach Architecture at the University of Newcastle, but has since retired to work full time on his writing. This can only be a good thing for the lover of quality crime fiction.

Babel, by Barry Maitland
Allen & Unwin, 2002.