09/05/2015 - 3:10pm

The first episode Series 3 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries screened on ABC1 on 8 May. The series is based on the novels by founding Sisters in Crime member, Kerry Greenwood, and has a huge following amongst Sisters in Crime members. 

The even better news is that a film is in the offing.

Here is an edited report from News Limited on 6 May 2015:

GLAMOROUS lady detective Miss Fisher is embarking on her most exciting adventure yet: a feature film adaptation shot in England and set in a variety of exotic locations around the world.

The makers of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries report strong interest in the screenplay and are scouring the globe for an internationally recognised star to join the cast.

Head writer Deb Cox says a feature will finally give their larger than life character — played by Essie Davis — the big canvas she deserves, describing the tone as: “The same kind of tongue-in-cheek adventures on the big screen that Indiana Jones has managed for the last three decades.”

“There will be a UK shoot and an exotic location shoot and Phyrne will fly her light plane all the way, breaking aviatrix records of the day! Essie is currently based in the UK so that also works well for her,” Cox said.


Season opener ... Mighty Merve MacKenzie (Grant Piro) and Miss Fisher (Essie Davis).

http://tcog.news.com.au/track/component/article/entertainment/television/miss-fishers-murder-mysteries-to-be-a-movie-filmed-in-the-uk/story-fni0cc2a-1227336789720?t_product=HeraldSun&t_template=s3/chronicle-component/relatedstories/templates/indexThe hit show returns this week for a third season. With an average audience of 1.5 million viewers, sales to 120 territories around the world and a growing fanbase thanks to Netflix in the US, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has a level of brand recognition few other Aussie series can boast.

Every Cloud Productions has already turned down an offer from an LA producer to develop a US version of the series because the makers want to maintain the quality of the local one, but Cox says they’re “very interested in the potential for that” in the future.

“It could work beautifully in 1920s New York or Los Angeles,” she says.

Based in the UK ... Hobart-born Essie Davis stars as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

Star Essie Davis also has a growing international profile, thanks in part to her role in The Babadook — a low budget Australian psychological horror film that drew rave reviews overseas.

On set at Ripponlea Estate in Melbourne during filming of season three, Davis acts coy when asked about the feature film plans.

“That’s top secret information,” smiles the actress, her signature black bob in stark contrast to today’s brilliant white tennis outfit. But she reels off her wish list for the film.

“There’s all sorts of amazing things you could do. There’s got to be horses, there’s got to be rickshaw chases, lots of building climbing, rooftop running, things like that!”

The 45-year-old says her favourite parts of the show are the action sequences, which last season saw her scale Parliament House and this season has Davis performing underwater escape tricks and racing motorcycles while being filmed by drone helicopters.

But she explains they often have to curtail action sequences as they “take quite a bit of time” — a luxury they can’t always afford as each episode is shot in just eight days.

“I’m always pushing for more action, but you know there’s all kinds of risks they don’t want me to take and there’s budget issues,” she says.

“I would love to do a movie of this with the right budget. I think it would need a budget that would make it achievable to look as brilliant as James Bond … But I mean, we do achieve an incredible amount on the smell of an oily rag!”...

Miss Fisher The Movie is unlikely to suffer that same fate [as The Babadook], if only thanks to its ardent fans — who mounted a huge campaign to get the ABC to renew it after the national broadcaster dithered for a year (reportedly due to budget cuts and a desire to chase a younger audience.)

Season three offers a new and unique world in each episode, from the vaudeville magic theatre scene of the opener to astronomy at the Botanic Gardens’ observatory and today’s Great Gatsby-like tennis episode.

Fisher’s estranged father (Pip Miller) returns from overseas to create trouble, and Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) takes on a Watson-like role to Miss Fisher’s Holmes.

“At times she’s on even ground with Phyrne in terms of investigating and she’s really come into her own as a detective,” the 22 year old explains.

In real life Cummings looks up to Davis, seeing her as both a mentor and a friend, and says they disclose everything to one another. “She’s one of the most important figures in my life, and I’m very lucky to have that relationship with her,” she says. Davis is a perfectionist with an eye for detail she says. “It’s really wonderful to see that despite the immense hours she has to work and how exhausted she is, while raising her two young daughters and trying to manage everything, she still has such dedication to the work.”

Cummings is clearly passionate about the series, revealing she moved frequently as a child and has had a nomadic existence as an actress. “This has been the most consistent thing I’ve ever had in my really and on a very personal level I was kind of devastated to think it wouldn’t go ahead,” she says. “I’m really grateful to the fans for their support and for getting season three happening.”

So they should probably start campaigning now for season four?

“Yes please!” she laughs.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, ABC, Friday, 8.30pm


Festival of Phyrne in Melbourne (May/June) including tours, exhibitions, deathly dinners and speakeasies.



03/05/2015 - 4:22pm

UK crime writer Ruth Rendell, creator of the Inspector Wexford series, has died at the age of 85, following a stroke in January.

Rendell, who also wrote psychological thrillers under the name of Barbara Vine, was the author of more than 60 novels.

Her rival and great friend, P D James, died in November. Both were in the House of Lords, James appointed by the Tories, Rendell by Labour.

The Guardian carried a tribute by Scottish Queen of Crime (and great friend of Sisters in Crime Australia), Val McDermid.

 “Ruth Rendell was unique. No one can equal her range or her accomplishment; no one has earned more respect from her fellow practitioners,” McDermid said.

“The broad church that is current British crime writing owes much to a writer who over a 50-year career consistently demonstrated that the genre can continually reinvent itself, moving in new directions, assuming new concerns and exploring new ways of telling stories. And doing it all in a smoothly satisfying prose style.”

Read more:





03/05/2015 - 4:01pm

New England Writers Centre is proud to announce an exciting new national literary award, the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing

The prize is for unpublished short-form crime writing in three categories: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. It has been inspired not only by New England's traditional association with the legendary bushranger Captain Thunderbolt, but also because of the region's many associations with crime writing.

The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Fiction: First Prize: $500, for a story of up to 2,500 words. Sponsored by the School of Arts, University of New England.

The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Non-Fiction: First Prize: $500 for an article of up to 2,500 words. Sponsored by The Armidale Express.

The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry: First Prize: $500 for a poem of up to 60 lines. Sponsored by Collins Booksellers (Armidale and Tamworth), Dymocks Bookshop (Armidale) Chaucer on Bridge Street Gallery (Uralla), and the Armidale Dumaresq Memorial Library.

There will also be an extra prize of $200 for the best entry by a writer resident in New England, sponsored by the New England Writers' Centre.

All winning entries will be published in the Armidale Express.

Open to writers all over Australia, whether published or unpublished, the Prize will put New England on the national literary map, for there are surprisingly few awards in this very popular genre.

The three judges, all residents of New England, have a national and international profile and high reputation in their various fields. Fiction judge is Bronwyn Parry, best-selling author of three mystery novels, As Darkness Falls, Dark Country andDead Heat, published in Australia and overseas; poetry judge is Michael Sharkey, eminent poet with more than twenty books to his name, who has also taught literature in universities in Australia, New Zealand and China, run his own poetry press and taught writing to prisoners; and non-fiction judge is Dr Xanthe Mallett, criminologist, forensic anthropologist and presenter of TV shows including BBC 2's History Cold Case and the US-based seriesThe Decrypters. She is currently filming series 1 of Coast Australia.

Prize details and entry form: www.newc.org.au

24/04/2015 - 6:11pm

Sisters in Crime Australia has presented its first Lifetime Membership Awards –  to Vivienne Colmer and Robin Bowles on 13 March and to Phyllis King on 17 April.

Each recipient received a red Sisters in Crime Lifetime Membership card and a framed pulp-style book cover designed by National Co-convenor, Jessica Fichera.

Here’s an abridged version of what National Co-convenor, Carmel Shute, said when making the presentations:

“The first recipient is Vivienne Colmer who served as a National Convenor from 1999-2011. Vivienne brought her superb organising skills from the union movement to Sisters in Crime. She was the key organiser for SheKilda, Sisters in Crime’s 10th anniversary convention, held at St Kilda Town Hall in 2001.

"She secured out international guest of honour, Tart Noir Queen, Lauren Henderson though it was touch and go for a bit. Lauren was living in New York where the Town Towers were bombed shortly before the convention. Then there was the Qantas strike. Vivienne coped with all these challenges with her usual cool head and great strategic sense. SheKilda was a triumph, despite being organised in record time."

"Our second Lifetime Membership goes to true crime author Robin Bowles who served as a National Co-convenor from 2001-2010. Besides bringing her inimitable sense of style to Sisters in Crime, Robin was a gun event organiser and sponsorship queen. I worked with Robin in negotiating what turned out to be 4 years of sponsorship with the Victoria Police Museum for the Davitt Awards.

"To see her get the deal was awe-inspiring. I can’t remember if she played good cop and I played bad cop but whatever it was, it was extremely successful! Robin was always full of ideas for events and she’s sorely missed on that front."

"The third recipient is Phyllis who served as a national co-convenor from 2002 to 2014. Her family name is King but to us she is a Queen of Crime.

"In Sisters in Crime, we often mistrust the supernatural – or the oomby goombie’ as former convenor Cathy Martin likes to call it – but it’s true that Phyllis appeared as if by a divine miracle when we were in a huge tizz organising SheKilda 2001. Phyllis King and her daughter Tanya King (as she then was) turned up at St Kilda Town Hall as volunteers on the Thursday night before the grand opening the Friday night.

"In Sisters in Crime, we are nothing if not opportunists – we know talent of the criminal kind when we see it and we quickly snaffled them both as national co-convenors straight after SheKilda. Phyllis brought the wonderful organisational skills that she exercised at the University of Melbourne Business School to Sisters in Crime – particularly, the organisation of the Scarlet Stiletto Awards and the Davitt Awards.

"It was a lot of slog but not without its own rewards. We know that Phyllis loved being able to ring up the authors shortlisted for the Scarlet Stiletto Awards and hear their delight at the news. Supporting emerging writers is one of Sisters in crime’s missions.

"Phyllis brought a lot of intellectual rigour to the reviews she wrote for or magazine and more latterly the Sisters in Crime website and to the judging process. We’re thrilled that she – and Tanya as well – will continue to be judges for the Scarlet Stiletto Award competition.”

Carmel Shute (l) presents Phyllis King with her Lifetime Membership Award

A fourth Lifetime Membership Award will be presented to Cathy Martin on 15 May.


24/04/2015 - 5:58pm

Publishers have to Friday May 1 to enter Sisters in Crime Australia’s 15th Davitt Awards for the best crime and mystery books by Australian women.

Honey Brown - 2014 Davitt (Best Novel) winner

Six Davitt Awards will be presented at gala dinner in Melbourne on Saturday 29 August : Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult; Best Children’s Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted the 650 members of Sisters in Crime Australia).

The Davitts, named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865, cost publishers nothing to enter. A long list will be published in May, a shortlist in July.

The awards are handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning novel under perspex. No prize money is attached.

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said that this year entries were expected to eclipse last year‘s record of 76 books in contention.

“Each year the judges are amazed by the high quality of writing amongst the women crime writers in Australia. Last year was memorable for a record number of entries for children’s mystery novels and the judges are hoping this trend continues.

“These books are the ones that encourage a new generation of crime and mystery readers. Many of us in Sisters in Crime spent our childhoods devouring Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books – and it indelibly shaped (some may say warped) – our literary tastes.”

Horwood said that the Davitts have played a key role in getting women’s crime writing better recognised.

“The Davitts have also encouraged Australian publishers to take a punt on crime books produced by women locally, instead of just importing the latest blockbusters from overseas. It’s a gamble that has paid off.”

The judging panel for 2015 comprises forensic pathologist Dr Shelley Robertson; Readings Bookshop bookseller and writer Deborah Crabtree, Sisters in Crime national co-convenors, Maggie Baron, Jacqui Horwood, and Michaela Lobb and former convenor Sylvia Loader.

Previous Davitt Awards have been presented by South African crime writer Lauren Beukes (2014); New Zealand crime writer Vanda Symons (2013); Swedish crime writer Asa Larsson (2012); Singapore crime writer Shamini Flint (2011), Scottish crime writer Val McDermid (2010); Justice Betty King (2009), Judge Liz Gaynor (2008); Walkley-winning investigative journalist Estelle Blackburn (2007); true crime writer Karen Kissane (2006); Sisters Inside’s Debbie Killroy, (2005); US crime writer Karin Slaughter, (2004); Val McDermid (2003); , ACTU President Sharan Burrow (2002) and Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police (2001Christine Nixon,).

Sisters in Crime Australia was set up 24 years ago, has chapters in different states and holds regular events in Melbourne dissecting crime fiction on the page and screen. It also hosts a popular annual short-story competition, the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

To enter the Davitts, email Carmel Shute, Sisters in Crime, National Co-convenor on carmel@shute-the-messenger.com by May 1 Enquiries: 0449 703 503

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0418 574 907; jacqui.horwood@gmail.com

17/04/2015 - 4:13pm

Series 3 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries starts 8.30pm Friday 8 May on ABC1 – and it’s part of a much wider Festival of Phryne. Hooray!

Returning to Rippon Lea House & Gardens in Melbourne on Friday 1 May is with a major new exhibition featuring never before seen costumes by award-winning designer Marion Boyce. This exciting and immersive exhibition runs 30 September 2015.

There’s also:

·         Miss Fisher’s Murder Mystery Dinner at Como House on Saturday 30 May - $160

·         Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Pop Up Speakeasy at Old Melbourne Gaol on Friday 12 June - $40 (includes entry and 2 drinks)

·         Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Fashionable Tea at Labassa - 11am & 2pm, Saturday  23 May & Saturday 13 June. $ 60 general public, $50 National Trust Members

·         Curatorial Floor Talk at Rippon Lea. Various dates – $ 25 (includes Exhibition entry)

·         Meet the Makers Talk and Afternoon Tea at Rippon Lea Ballroom. Saturday 20 June – $60 general public, $50 National Trust Members

·         Miss Fisher’s Afternoon Tea & Walking Tour: Melbourne CBD & Tasma Terrace. 9 May – 25 June (Tuesday/Thursday & Saturday): $129

Click here for further information and bookings.

Click here to read the Sunday Life feature on 12 April 2015: “The Divine Miss Davis” .

15/02/2015 - 1:46pm

The Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) is offering a 10% discount to Sisters in Crime members to attend its inaugural conference at Balmain Town Hall in Sydney on 21-22  March.

It is also offering the opportunity to submit an academic paper to a special edition of The Australian Journal of Crime Fiction on the theme ‘Phryne Fisher and Other Fantasies: The Female Detective in History’.

A panel discussion on this theme will be held at 11.15 am Sunday 22 March with Rachel De Rossignol, Wendy J Dunn, Diane Murray, Rachel Franks and Kelly Gardiner (free admission with a whole conference ticket.)

Several Sisters in Crime members will be participating: Felicity Pulman, Sulari Gentill, and Sophie Masson.

The Historical Novel Society Australasia (conference will celebrate the historical fiction genre in a weekend of talks, panels, debates, book launches and readings with super sessions on social media, researching and writing historical fiction as well as manuscript assessments.  The weekend conference will showcase 40 speakers and is peppered with international literati such as Kate Forsyth (its patron), Felicity Pulman, Isolde Martyn, Sulari Gentill, Jesse Blackadder, Sophie Masson, Toni Jordan and Colin Falconer. 

HNSA is offering Sisters in Crime members a special conference deal.  The price of a Whole Conference ticket (normally priced at $250) will be reduced by 10% to $225.  This ticket entitles the holders to attend all the sessions in the main program and also includes morning and afternoon tea, and a lunch voucher redeemable at a fantastic local café.  The offer does not include tickets to super sessions or social events. Apply the coupon code SISHNSA15 when purchasing a standard whole conference ticket. Day tickets are also available.

In addition to the discount on the whole conference ticket, HNSA is offering a giveaway of Sherryl Clark’s Do You Dare-Jimmy’s War to the first 50 ticketholders to the conference dinner on Saturday 21 March. All ticketholders to the opening night reception at the State Library of NSW on Friday 20 March will receive a free ebook bundle of the Janna Chronicles by Felicity Pulman.

For more information, visit the conference website - www.hnsa.org.au

15/02/2015 - 1:22pm

Sisters in Crime members and supporters are warmly welcomed to the launch of Ellie Marney's, Every Move, the 3rd (and final) book in her Every Young Adult crime series – 6-8pm Monday 16 March - Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon St, Carlton

Adele Walsh, the Program Coordinator for the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, will launch the book. There will be other speeches, Ellie says, “not too long, food (something easy), drinks (on the house), book signing and much general silliness. All welcome! (and you don't even have to wear a funny hat!).”

Free by please RSVP.

Here are some clues about Every Move:

After the dramatic events of London, a road trip back to her old home in Five Mile sounds good (in theory) to Rachel Watts, with her brother Mike in the driving seat. But when Mike picks up his old buddy – the wildly unreliable Harris Derwent – things start to go south. Back in Melbourne, Rachel’s ‘partner in crime’, James Mycroft, clashes with Harris, and then a series of murders suggest that the mysterious Mr Wild – Mycroft’s own personal Moriarty – is hot on their tail. When tragedy strikes, Rachel and Mycroft realise they’ll have to recruit Harris and take matters into their own hands…

24/12/2014 - 3:48pm

In late November Sisters in Crime Australia paid tribute to recently retired national co-convenor, Phyllis King, and retiring Davitt Judges wrangler (and former convenor), Tanya King-Carmichael. Fellow convenor, Jessica Fichera, designed pulp-style book cover certificates to honour the mother-daughter team who devoted so much time, energy and intellect to helping Sisters in Crime flourish. (Phyllis and Tanya are pictured here with their presentations.)

Fellow convenor, Carmel Shute, spoke on behalf of Sisters in Crime:

Sisters, I hate to start with a quote from a male crime author, even if it is by Raymond Chandler, but here it is:

"If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."

In the case of Sisters in Crime, it was more a case of: “If in doubt, have two King women come through the door with pens."

Phyllis King and Tanya King (as she then was) came through the door of St Kilda Town Hall as volunteers for SheKilda 2001, as I recall, on the Thursday night before the grand opening the following night.

It was the usual chaos. They soon showed their mettle and we wasted no time in snaffling them as convenors. For a time, some of us referred to Phyllis and Tanya as the ‘King Women’ but we should have called them ‘Queens – Queens of Crime’.

It was our first – and so far only – mother-daughter pairing amongst the convenors and it’s been to our great benefit as while they share core beliefs, not to mention a passion for crime, their talents are multifarious.

Phyllis brought her great organisational know-how to the Scarlet Stiletto Awards, liaising with all the talent, organising the prize presentation, giving the judges’ report and much much more. She then took charge of the Davitt ticketing – both exacting jobs though not without their compensations. We know Phyllis loved being the bearer of good news to the aspiring authors on the Scarlet Stiletto Awards shortlist.

Tanya became a Davitt judge and then, since 2010, the judges’ wrangler. Tanya reformed the judging process. Her reports have always been insightful and highlights of the Davitt Awards ceremony.

Tanya has also been a top event host and we hope that she will still consider taking the odd turn.

Both Phyllis and Tanya have brought their considerable intellects to bear on crime writing itself – through their contributions to different judging processes, their reviews and in general discussion. They also exhibited flexibility in their critical processes.

Phyllis always professed a loathing for stories with ‘woo woo’, or as Cathy Martin, used to call it, ‘oomby-goomby’, so imagine our surprise when she nominated a vampire story at one Scarlet Stiletto Awards judging and, from memory, I think it won a prize.

We’re already missing both Phyllis and Tanya heaps. They are both welcome to join in the Scarlet Stiletto Award judging.

We hope they won’t be strangers or we may have to resort to coming around with menaces.

Three cheers for the King Women, our Queens of Crime!

30/11/2014 - 6:33pm

Anna Krien, who won the 2014 Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Award for True Crime has won the UK William Hill Sports Book of the Year, only the second woman to do so in the 26-year history of the award.

Her book Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport, about the rape trial of a young AFL footballer, beat six other nominees to the £26,000 ($41,000) prize.

"It's not a celebratory book about sport," she said. "It's about the dark side of sport ... it can be pretty ugly."

Congratulations from Sisters in Crime Australia Anna.

Click here to read the Fairfax Media report.