Rhyll McMaster

It has been two hundred and seventy-six years since Pamela was published, the first piece of writing in English in the novel form; it was a structure designed both to entertain and instruct, and still we are debating if the concept was a good idea.

Inga Simpson is the author of two previous novels, Mr Wigg (2013) and

Broadly speaking, there are two types of epitaphs: those formulated by loved ones to describe the living qualities of the interred; and those that would presume to speak from the grave. Writers, ever reluctant to pass up a blank page – even if it is a tombstone – are disproportionate constituents of the latter ...

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Janette Turner Hospital, who grew up in Brisbane, has taught in Australian and overseas universities, and is well regarded as a novelist and short story writer; among several prizes she has won the Patrick White Award. The stories in her new collection, Forecast: Turbulence, are set in several places where she has lived, including Canada and the American South, where the weather is similarly violent. Despite the fact that this metaphor is flagged throughout this collection, I formed little sense of many of her characters in either place or clime.

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Sydney by Delia Falconer

November 2010, no. 326

Delia Falconer’s Sydney, the third in a series from NewSouth in which leading Australian authors write about their hometowns, is like its harbour, brimful with tones, vivid with contemplation ...

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Mary Watson’s tale begins in Brisbane in the 1870s, when, aged nineteen, she flees an abusive and drunkard father and finds employment as a pianist in a whorehouse in Cooktown run by a Frenchman, Charley Boule. Determined to improve her prospects, she secretly signs on to more lucrative employment: spying on smuggling rackets. It is not clear what is being smuggled – it might be guns – bu ...

There are a number of strands at play in this curiously titled novel set in postwar London in the Coronation year, 1953. The well-to-do Mrs Harriet Wallis, convicted of the murder of her husband, Cecil, becomes the second-last woman in England to be hanged. The last woman to be executed for murder in England was Ruth Ellis, about whom Mike Newell made the film Dance with a Stranger (1985), with Miranda Richardson as Ellis.

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