Tag Archives: Australian crime fiction

Wake in Fright is a Christmas film

As we dive into the Yuletide season, this is just a quick reminder that Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 film Wake In Fright definitely qualifies as a Christmas film.

I recently took part in a discussion on Kotcheff’s amazing film for the Journey’s Into Darkness film discussion group in the US. I talked about what Wake In Fright says about Australia in 1971 and now, conceptions of masculinity, and urban Australians uneasy relationship with the outback and our bloody colonial past. We also discussed how the film functions as a crime film, and outback noir and an Australian folk horror. You can watch the talk in full on Youtube here.

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Damned to literary obscurity: June Wright and Murder In the Telephone Exchange

JUNE_WRIGHT-author-picAs a seasoned habitué of second hand bookshops, and what is known in some quarters as ‘an early career author’, I often ponder the reality of literary obscurity.

It takes stern stuff (or huge sales) to go into a large second hand bookshop and not feel humbled by the sight of shelf upon shelf of old books. All those hours, days, weeks, years of literary labour selling cheap, if they sell at all.

What makes a particular book or author famous, while the majority are forgotten – the vagaries of history or the market, luck or accident? Equally fascinating is the process by which some authors are plucked from historical obscurity and given a second chance.

I thought about this most recently while reading Murder in The Telephone Exchange, a murder mystery set in late forties Melbourne by June Wright, recently re-released by US-based publisher, Verse Chorus Press.

You can read the rest of this piece here on the Overland Magazine blog.Read more

Book review: Whispering Death

Why is the police procedural sub genre of crime fiction so popular? Is it something to do with our roots as a nation of convicts? Do we have a voyeuristic fascination with the inner workings of the police force?

Or maybe it’s just because for the most part – and many will disagree with me here – they provide a relatively straightforward, escapist read? Nothing wrong with that. Someone commits a crime and the cops need to solve it. There’s a bit of violence, usually a bit of sex, we get a few insights into modern day police methods and everything is pretty much neatly wrapped up by the end.

Whispering Death is the sixth of Garry Disher’s Peninsular murder mysteries, so named because they take place on the Mornington Peninsular, a rapidly growing area south east of Melbourne.

If you like police procedurals, chances are this book is already on your to read list, so enough said. If you’re not, then this is a good place to start because as usual journeyman Australian crime author Disher delivers a superior product.

Whispering Death opens with sergeant Ellen Destry on her way to Europe to study how the police tackle sex crimes, leaving her lover and veteran cop, Inspector Hal Challis, to deal with a rapist who wears a police uniform and has a sophisticated knowledge of forensics.… Read more