Succesful romance novelist K. C. Gordon is looking forward to her trip on the Ghan from Sydney to Alice Springs. Part research opportunity, part relaxation, she has no desire to be caught up in a murder investigation.
Unfortunately for K.C., it seems she might have little choice. Among her fellow travellers is a group of eight of Sydney’s elite, all of them with dramas, pasts and secrets they don’t want to see exposed. They are dogged by another passenger, the infamous gossip columnist, Bianca Bernini, who has joined the trip purely to dig dirt and expose the secrets of her eight adversaries. She does not forsee that the trouble she is about to cause will result in her murder.
K.C. finds herself drawn into this group and into trying to figure out who the murderer is.
Who Killed Bianca is a gripping murder mystery from one of Australia’s most popular female novelists, Emma Darcy. Darcy, better known for her numerous romance titles, shows her versatility with this, her second murder mystery featuring the sassy 40-something K.C. Gordon.
Who Killed Bianca, by Emma Darcy
Pan Macmillan 2002
Some people call Daniel Fairbrother Dan. Most just call him Fairy. It’s not a name that he likes.
Daniel is searching for meaning in his life. His family life is dominated by his moody and unloving father. Away from home, he has no friends and little to be happy about.
When Daniel meets a Dutch woman, Eddy, he starts to slowly see changes in his life. Eddy is eight-six. She has a tattoo, a history and can make music with her farts. She pays Dan well for the work he does in her garden, and seems to read his mind. She offers him more than work and pay – she offers him friendship. Eddy’s friendship does not prove to be an instant fix to all of Daniel’s problems – his father’s moodiness seems to escalate, the other boys pick on him and he is haunted by memories. But Eddy shows Daniel hope. Maybe there is a point to life – and maybe, just maybe, things will get better.
Burning Eddy is a poignant story about growing up, about family and about friendship. Author Scot Gardner weaves a tale which draws the reader in, caring deeply about these characters. Along the way he continues to drop bombshells that reshape the reader’s perceptions of the characters, so that the story is an ongoing surprise.
Burning Eddy, by Scot Gardner
Pan Macmillan, 2003
For the first seven years of her life Patricia Hughes lived with her sick but loving father and her alcoholic mother. Three days before her seventh birthday her life changed forever. Her father went back to hopsital and her mother abandoned her – leaving the police to deliver her to Nazareth House, a Catholic Orphanage.
For the next eight years Patricia lived in the ophanage, cared for by seemingly loveless nuns, intermittently placed in foster care with often abusive carers. When she was fifteen she decided she’d had enough and ran away from her foster paernts to start life on her own.
Although she never stopped wondering about her parents, it wasn’t until 1997 that she began to learn more about her family. Out of the blue she received a phone call from a woman claiming to be her sister. This was just the start of a series of extraordinary discoveries about their joint and separate pasts and about the family neither woman knew they had.
Daughters of Nazareth is a moving and intirguing tale of a search for family and understanding. Patricia Hughes is inspirational in her ability to move on and to accept. Her story, although recounting events which could be seen as tragic, is overwhelmingly positive.
A moving read.
Daughters of Nazareth, by Patricia Hughes
Pan Macmillan 2002
When Chayse is assigned to an undercover op working on a fishing boat, he is determined not to get personally involved. But that determination is in danger of cracking when he meets the new skipper of the trawler, Samantha Bretton.
Samantha has her own reasons for not getting involved – not with Chayse, or any other man. On top of whatever lurks in her past, her father has been wrongly charged with murder and has a broken leg preventing him from returning to the boat. Samantha must work the trawler or her father faces losing it.
Thrown together by the confines of the boat and by a series of misfortunes, Samantha and Chayse fight their feelings for each other. Even when they acknowledge their bond, each has secrets which could break the relationship apart. Despite this, however, the pair continue to work at solving the murder attributed to Sam’s father. Perhaps if they can unravel that mystery they can begin to work out their other problems.
Deadly Tide is the first gripping mystery title from author Sandy Curtis. With a special combination of mystery, suspense and romance, it is a compelling read.
Deadly Tide, by Sandy Curtis
Pan Macmillan, 2003
Elizabeth Clarry is not a real teenager. She has a Teletubbies quilt cover and doesn’t own any makeup. Worse still, she has never been drunk, and her best friend has totally vanished. The best thing for her to do would be to climb into the refrigerator and disappear.
But Elizabeth doesn’t disappear. Instead, the reader of Feeling Sorry for Celia follows her path through the struggles of finding and losing her best friend, developing new friendships and figuring out her father.
Elizabeth and her friends Celia and Christina encounter many of the problems of adolescence – first love, sex, conformity and family dynamics. Author Jaclyn Moriarty manages to balance the seriousness of these subjects with just the right measure of humour and whimsy to make the book both entertaining and educational.
Feeling Sorry for Celia is certain to appeal to 13 to 16 year olds and is as suitable for class reading lists as it is for private reading/. The only drawback for class study purposes is that its innovative letter format would be a little difficult for oral reading sessions.
This format, however, is part of the appeal of the book, with the story told through letters, notes and postcards exchanged between Elizabeth and the other characters, with delightful epistles from such fictitious sources as the Manager of the Society for people Who are Definitely Going to Fail High School.
Feeling Sorry For Celia is truly an outstanding piece of adolescent fiction.
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Pan Macmillan, 2000
The anticipated announcement of Nina Jansous’ retirement as the Editor in Chief of internationally acclaimed magazine, BLAZE, is causing ripples of anticipation among younger, ambitious magazine staff, especially Ali Gruber. Ali is eagerly awaiting her chance to be editor of the magazine.
But Nina does not announce her retirement, instead deciding to head the setting up of an Australian edition of the magazine. To top it off, she wants Ali to come with her – to be the editor of this publication.
In Australia, Ali struggles to win the confidence of her staff. She also has to confront the demons of her youth, spent here in Australia before her escape to the States. Nina is not there to support – she is off on a quest of her own to confront her own past. Neither is Ali’s deputy, Larissa Kelly, likely to be an ally. Larissa finds herself trying to keep the magazine together in the wake of Ali’s failures.
Blaze, Di Morrissey’s ninth novel, provides a gripping expose of the cutthroat world of glossy magazines. The stories of the women at the center of the novel are different yet wonderfully intertwined. An excellent read.
Blaze, by Di Morrissey
Pan Macmillan Australia, 2000