31/07/2015 - 5:03pm

Clan Destine Press announces the ePublication of the historic crime novel, Force and Fraud by Ellen Davitt.

Outback Australia in the mid-1800s

When rich, domineering squatter Angus McAlpin is murdered, the obvious suspect is the penniless artist, Herbert Lindsey – who wants to marry his daughter, Flora.

McAlpin may have proclaimed that Flora would marry Herbert ‘only over his dead body’ – and Herbert's bloodstained knife and handkerchief were found near the murder scene – but the artist denies any wrongdoing.

So begins a compelling murder mystery and trial, as the heiress seeks to prove her lover's innocence, and a country town takes sides.

Force may have killed Angus McAlpin, but fraud follows murder in a cunning plan to see Herbert Lindsey hanged – by any means necessary.

For someone else is determined to marry Flora, to obtain her property and her person; and he will stop at nothing.

Force and Fraudis Australia's first mystery novel.

First published in Melbourne in 1865 – in the midst of the often-lawless gold rush era of Australia's colonial past – it is a genuinely original novel; well ahead of its time.

In fact Kerry Greenwood – the creator of Phryne Fisher – describes Ellen Davitt's novel as: ‘a stunning mystery with a court scene worthy of Perry Mason’.

The Clan Destine Press eBook of Force and Fraud features an introduction by writer, Sister in Crime and ‘literary archaeologist’ Dr Lucy Sussex.

It also contains a short story by Ellen Davittfirst published in The Australian Journal in August 1867.  

“The Highlander's Revenge” is a crime story, rather than a mystery; and was the best of Ellen Davitt's short stories and a significant early fictionalisation of European atrocities against Aborigines.

“The Highlander's Revenge” comprises two stories: a memoir of genocide; and the reaction to it from an audience.

The CDP eBook of Force and Fraud will be available in time for the 2015 Davitt Awards for Australian women’s crime writing on August 29.

31/07/2015 - 4:23pm

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced its shortlist for its 15th Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women.

Leading UK crime writer, Sophie Hannah, will present the awards at a gala dinner at Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre at 7pm, Saturday 29 August. Prior to the presentations, she will discuss her own life in crime with Melbourne author, Angela Savage. Hannah is in Australia for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

Twenty-three titles out of the record 96 crime books nominated are shortlisted for six different awards: Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult; Best Children’s Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted by the 650 members of Sisters in Crime Australia). Four titles are shortlisted twice as they’re debut books.

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said that women’s crime writing had surged in both quality and quantity.

“Many of the shortlisted authors are multi-award winners. For instance, Malla Nunn, a previous Davitt adult novel winner, has scored two nominations in the Edgar Award, the top US crime writing competition, plus a RUSA Award for Best Mystery Novel.

“This year, Present Darkness, her fourth novel set in 1950s’ apartheid South Africa, is in contention. Nunn's fighting it out with two previous Davitt winners, Honey Brown and Sulari Gentill, plus New York Times No. 1 best seller, Liane Moriarty, and 2014 shortlisted author, Ilsa Evans. Both of Ilsa’s novels have the distinction of being e-books,” Horwood said.

“The titles shortlisted in all other categories exhibit a similar high standard. Jen Storer, who is shortlisted for Best Children’s Novel, won last year with another book in her popular Truly Tanseries. Judith Rossell has already won two children’s book awards for Withering-by-Sea.

What’s also remarkable, Horwood said, was the amazing diversity in theme, location, period and mode of investigation.

“The mysteries are variously located in London, Paris, Johannesburg, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, the Blue Mountains and the Australian countryside. Sometimes it’s 1900, the 1930s, or the 1950s but mostly it’s the present. Not all books feature sleuths – and if they do, they’re not always female and hardly any are PIs, these days. They’re more likely to be cops, cafe owners or financial investigators. Quite a few are men.”

The short list is:

Adult Novels

·         Honey Brown, Through the Cracks (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Ilsa Evans, Forbidden Fruit: A Nell Forrest Mystery (Momentum Press) ebook

·         Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned (Pantera Press)

·         Annie Hauxwell, A Morbid Habit (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Malla Nunn, Present Darkness (Xoum Publishing)

Young Adult Novels

·         Christine Bongers, Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint)

·         Rebecca Lim, The Astrologer’s Daughter (Text Publishing)

·         Ellie Marney, Every Word (Allen & Unwin)

·         Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia)

Children’s Novels

·         Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Eileen O’Hely, Kitten Kaboodle Mission 1: The Catier Emerald (Walker Books)

·         Judith Rossell, Withering-by-Sea (HarperCollins Australia)

·         R A Spratt, Friday Barnes: Big Trouble (Random House)

·         Jen Storer, Truly Tan #4: Freaked! (ABC Books – a HarperCollins Australia imprint)

Non Fiction

·           Megan Norris, Love You to Death: A story of sex, betrayal and murder gone wrong (The Five Mile Press)

·           Caroline Overington, Last Woman Hanged (HarperCollins Australia)

·           Virginia Peters, Have You Seen Simone? The story of an unsolved murder (Nero)

·           Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press)


·         Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Christine Bongers, Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint)

·         Candice Fox, Hades (Random House)

·         Anna George, What Came Before (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Rebecca Jessen, Gap (University of Queensland Press)

·         Virginia Peters, Have You Seen Simone? The story of an unsolved murder (Nero)

·         Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Sandi Wallace, Tell Me Why (Clan Destine Press) Debut

·           Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press)

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

The Davitts apply to books published the previous calendar year. Named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud in 1865, the awards cost publishers nothing to enter.

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

“The Davitts have persuaded Australian publishers to risk publishing crime books by Australian women, instead of just importing the latest blockbusters. It’s a gamble that has well and truly paid off,” she said.

The judging panel for 2015 comprises Maggie Baron, Deborah Crabtree, Jacqui Horwood, Sylvia Loader, Michaela Lobb and Dr Shelley Robertson.

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503.

Bookings for the Davitt Awards close Monday 24 August. All seats are limited so book early — individually or in tables of up to 10. Click here

Additional information: Michaela Lobb, 0409 431 397.

20/07/2015 - 7:11pm

Kate Nancarrow, the Education Editor, for Melbourne's Age newspaper, has published an article about Allen & Unwin's Youth Award in this year Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

Entries are open in the 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards and organisers, Sisters in Crime, are looking for young female writers with a passion for murder and mystery to enter the junior competition.

Bridey Carmel, with Janet King actress Marta Dusseldorp, won last year's young writer's prize. Photo: Supplied

Murder at the ballet excursion, blackmail in the principal's office or theft on the netball team – what will this year's crop of young female crime writers come up with for the under 18 section of the Sisters in Crime crime-writing awards?  

Publisher Allen & Unwin is offering a $500 prize for the best short story written by a girl under 18 as part of Sisters in Crime's 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards ... and schools are being encouraged to help their students turn their writing skills towards mystery and mayhem. 

Last year's winner was an 11-year-old primary school student from the Mornington Peninsula, Bridey Carmel, who won for Dorothy Gale P.I. – a story about an investigator sent by tornado to a wonderful land, just like Dorothy from Kansas, but with the twist that she must unravel a spate of mysterious deaths.

The competition is open to secondary and primary school girls, but  younger writers need not think they have no chance of success; the youngest winner of the Allen & Unwin prize so far has been an eight-year-old, who wrote about an axe-murdering relief teacher.

Student entrants in previous years have written about thefts of Tim Tams from the school staff room and a teacher's past coming back to haunt her. Others put school as secondary to the junior protagonist's main activity: a 2008 winner set her crime amid a worm farm, where thefts of the worms were tied into a spate of local robberies, and the schoolgirl detective hoped to solve the mystery in time to finish the homework set by her evil teacher.

Some students, however, have come up with plots and settings that could easily be constructed by and for adults. The 2013  winner was a 15-year-old Brighton East schoolgirl, Sarah Robinson-Hatch, who won for Just one Touch – the tale of a vigilante named Ruby Sykes, who gained a special power after a lightning strike. That power went to her head – and her hands: young Ruby is able to kill people by electrocuting them, and decides to use this new skill to wipe out the world's baddies. Sarah was also a joint winner in 2011, and last year became a Sisters in Crime reviewer for Young Adult fiction.

Sisters in Crime's spokeswoman Carmel Shute says that each year the junior writers produce a great variety of plots, and the hope is that these young writers will go on to enter the competition's adult sections. The first youth writing prize (when the competition was open to women under the age of 25) went to Canadian-born model Tara Moss, who has gone on to a very successful crime-writing career.  

Female-authored crime writing seems to be growing in both numbers of writers and breadth of subject and content. The adult competition this year includes sections for environmental crime, financial crime, romantic suspense, disabled protagonist, indigenous writer and many others. Perhaps the most challenging section is the Athenaeum Library's prize of $1000, with the runner-up to receive $500, for the best crime story that includes the words "body in the library".

Entries close August 31, and winners will be announced in November.  

Click here for an entry form. 


14/07/2015 - 9:34pm
On July 15, Penguin Random House begins publishing Lethal in Love, a six-part serialised suspense romance e-book by Michelle Somers, with subsequent episodes released fortnightly after that. The book is available for pre-order so if you order all in advance each episode will download directly to your device on publication. Click here.
Sandi Wallace interviewed Michelle Somers for Sisters in Crime:
Melbourne-based author Michelle Somers has achieved what she calls the “dangling chocolate heart – publication” with her debut title Lethal in Love. She is also part of something that she sees as a new future in digital reading: the serialised eBook.
Many Sisters in Crime profess to have fallen in love with crime and adventure stories thanks to the Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and other series; I’m proud to be in that club. We love crime shows on TV, serials that parcel out thrills in each episode and leave us with cliffhangers at season finales. We are a society of immediacy – whether you see that as good or bad. We want it now; maybe we can stretch that to a week or so at a push.
Michelle admits that she loves-to-hate being left hanging, counting down for the next episode in a TV serial. She says, “Why shouldn’t we get the same excitement and suspense from reading? Sometimes waiting for something makes it all the sweeter. It’s all about anticipation.”
Her new book serial will delve out a steamy romantic suspense about an instinct-driven detective and a sexy, scoop-hungry reporter, both on the hunt for a sadistic killer, via six digital-only episodes at novella length, with Episode 1 released on 15 July 2015.
Michelle says that her lead female character, Jayda Thomasz, is a homicide detective first and foremost, a woman last. Jayda goes undercover as part of her investigation and “one gun-metal blue gaze, one kiss from a sexy stranger, and all her preconceptions about sex and attraction are shot to dust. Pity the timing’s off, with her whole unit outside, listening in.”
Jayda pairs up with Seth Friedin, a hot, determined reporter chasing the story that’ll make his career and impress his academic parents. Both characters are career-focused and battling their private demons, along with a serial killer returned to the streets of Melbourne after a 25-year sabbatical.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Michelle worked in microbiology and genetics, not policing or journalism like her protagonists. She says her background, “is great for understanding anything medical and forensic, but little else,” although she has a collection of knowledgeable people – and Google-power – to help her fill in blanks. But I suspect that medical-forensic knowledge is part of why she chose to write this story about a sadistic killer, combined with her reading taste.
She loves to read straight crime, thrillers and suspense, along with contemporary romance (as long as it has solid conflicts and plot), admitting, “I enjoy (is that the right word?) the psychological thrill of facing a cold, calculating killer; the kind that sends shivers up your spine.” And she’s a sucker for love and happy endings. She explains, “This is the flavour of book I love to read, so this is the book I wanted to write; a story with equal parts romance and suspense.”
Lethal in Love in its entirety is about 140,000 words and editors and agents had advised Michelle that she’d have to cut it back by around 30,000 to be considered for publication. But then she hit a dream run. She pitched her manuscript to Lex Hirst at Penguin Random House at the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) conference last year. And Lex proposed the idea of a digital book serial to Michelle. Within two weeks, Michelle had a letter of offer for publication. Less than a year later, she is a published author. 
She says, “The whole pitching and publication process has been a whirlwind. And I have to confess, I’ve loved every minute of it!”
She leaves us with some valuable advice for writers striving for publication: “Don’t give up. Find your passion – whether it be romance, suspense, another genre or a melding of several – throw everything you have at it, and believe in yourself.”
And in the words of Jayda to Seth from Lethal in Love, Episode 2: “Achievement comes from within. If you don’t feel it, it won’t make any difference what anyone else thinks.”
Michelle Somers is a full-time writer. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their three beautiful boys, Josh (11), Nathan (10) and Gabriel (8). Lethal in Love is her first published title. She is currently penning a short story for an anthology to mark the Melbourne Romance Writers’ Guild’s 25th Anniversary (due out November 2015). She is also writing her next book, working title Murder Most Unusual, which features Jayda, Seth and other characters from Lethal in Love, and a bunch of new characters that she hopes to include in book number three.
Michelle is the 2013 winner of the Valerie Parv Award, 2013 winner of the Indiana Golden Opportunities contest (romantic suspense category), 2013 finalist The Molly (romantic suspense category), and 2013 finalist The Catherine (contemporary romance category for her unpublished romance, Worth the Risk). 
For more information about Michelle, please visit her website or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram 
01/07/2015 - 4:49pm

Melbourne's Athenaeum Library, which has sponsored the 'body in the library' prizes in Sisters in Crime's annual Scarlet Stiletto Award short story competition for the past three years, has published the winning stories from 2014 in e-book format:

Winning story: Natalie Conyer - The Book Club             read it here!
Runner-up: Fin J Ross - The VOTOS Solution         read it here!

The Athenaeum Library is again offering a prize of $1000 and a runner-up award of $500 in the 2015 awards.

This year a total of $9350 is up for grabs. Click here to download an entry form. 










01/07/2015 - 4:22pm

Congratulations to Scarlet Stiletto winner Aoife Clifford (above at the 2013 Awards' ceremony) has her debut novel coming out next year with Simon & Schuster in Australia and then in the UK.

Aoife won the top Scarlet Stiletto Award in 2007, came second in 2009 and has won numerous other category awards.

She also won the Ned Kelly – S.D. Harvey Award in 2012. She was shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger in 2009. Her short stories have been published in the crime anthology Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut (2011) and in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Scribe anthology, New Australian Stories

The media release from Simon & Schuster reports:

Carla Josephson, Assistant Editor Simon & Schuster UK, bought UK, Commonwealth & ANZ rights in All These Perfect Strangers by Australian debut author Aoife Clifford from Rebecca Ritchie and Clare Forster at Curtis Brown. 

S&S Australia will publish in trade paperback in March 2016, with S&S UK publishing in paperback Original in June 2016. Catherine Drayton at Inkwell is handling North American rights.

The novel tells the story of Penelope Sheppard, whose young life is weighed down with scandal and tragedy.  But entry into university offers her the chance to run away from the past and reinvent herself among perfect strangers. Little by little, through Pen's flawed narration and tantalising diary entries, her secrets and lies come to light and a dangerous dilemma unfolds, twisting and turning until the very last page.

All These Perfect Strangersis Aoife Clifford’s first novel, but she has already won the two major Australian crime writing prizes in short story form: the Ned Kelly - SD Harvey Short Story Award and the Scarlet Stiletto. She was also shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger. In 2013, she was awarded an Australian Society of Author's mentorship for All These Perfect Strangers.

Carla Josephson said, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers. I received it on a Friday and read it in one satisfying gulp, barely coming upfor air. Pen is a brilliantly unreliable narrator who pulls the reader into her world wherethe truth is constantly being revised and no one is who they seem. This is a unique and beautifully written debut and I’m delighted to welcome Aoife to S&S.’

Larissa Edwards, Head of Publishing at S&S Australia, said, ‘I am so proud to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers on our list. Aoife is a wonderful and talented writer whose novel haunted me for days after the first reading. It is hard to believe this is a debut when you are drawn into the mystery and intrigue of this self-assured novel. This is certain to gain a wide readership amongst Australian readers.’

Aoife Clifford said, 'It is a dream come true to have my debut novel picked up by Simon & Schuster and to work with their passionate and dedicated editors, both in Australia and the United Kingdom. I wanted this novel to be a compulsive page-turner that would keep the reader up all night but have the emotional depth that they would still be thinking about it long after finishing. I am delighted that my character Pen and her story has found such a wonderful audience.'

Clare Forster (Curtis Brown Australia) and Rebecca Ritchie (Curtis Brown London) said, ‘All These Perfect Strangers is an incredibly accomplished debut, packed with twists, turns and secrets. We are delighted that Simon & Schuster will be publishing Aoife Clifford in the UK and Australia and think this deal spells the start of a very bright future.’


14/06/2015 - 12:15pm

Every Cloud Productions, the producers of the internationally-acclaimed crime drama,Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, has just added another feather to its cloche: sponsorship of the $1500 first prize in the 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards, Sisters in Crime Australia’s annual short story competition.

Fiona Eagger, who producesMiss Fisher’s Murder Mysterieswith Every Cloud’s co-founder Deb Cox, said that they were only too delighted to support women’s literary talent of the criminal bent.

“We’re huge fans of the crime genre. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is based on the path-breaking novels of Kerry Greenwood, a founding member of Sisters in Crime back in 1991. Essie Davis, who plays our twenties’ sleuth, Phryne Fisher, presented the Scarlet Stiletto Awards before a capacity crowd in 2013. The year before, the costume designer, Marion Boyce, and Kerry did the honours,” Eagger said.

“Sisters in Crime members have been some of the most ardent fans of our show and led a campaign to persuade the ABC to commission a third series. So there’s a certain synchronicity in Every Cloud offering more direct support to the Scarlet Stiletto Awards.”

National Co-convenor, Michaela Lobb, said Sisters in Crime was thrilled with this top level support.

“We’re on cloud nine. It’s the first time the Scarlet Stiletto Awards have secured the support of a television production company. The fact that it’s the producers of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, a show so loved and admired by our members, makes it even more thrilling,” Lobb said.

“We’re also excited that Echo Publishing, the new adult publishing wing of The Five Mile Press, is the sponsor for 2nd prize ($1000). HarperCollins Publishing is offering a new award for romantic suspense ($500).

A record $9350 is on offer this year – up $650 from last year. Stories must have a crime or mystery theme, a female protagonist and a female author. The awards are amongst the richest short story competitions in Australia.

As well receiving Every Cloud Productions’ 1st Prize of $1500, the overall winner is presented with the coveted trophy, a scarlet stiletto withits steel heel plunging into a perspex mount.

Melbourne’s Athenaeum Library is again offering a prize of $1000 and a runner-up prize of $500 for the best short story that includes the words ‘body in the library’.

Other awards include:

  • The Sun Bookshop Award: 3rd Prize: $500
  • Allen & Unwin Award for Best Young Writer (under 18):$500
  • Josephine Pennicott Award for Best Indigenous Writer:$500
  • Kerry Greenwood Award for Best Malice Domestic Story:$750
  • HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Romantic Suspense Story:$500
  • Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Environmental Crime Story:$500
  • Scarlet Stiletto Award for Best Financial Crime Story:$500
  • Arena Magazine Award for a Well-loaded Political Story:$500
  • Clan Destine Press Award for Best Cross-genre Story:$400
  • Liz Navratil Award for Best Disabled Protagonist Award: $400 (up $150)
  • Benn’s Books Award for Best Investigative Story:$200
  • Scriptworks Award for a Great Film Idea:$200

Arena Magazine will publish the winning story in its category.

Lobb said Sisters in Crime was delighted with the increased prize money but, most especially, with the success of the awards in unearthing so much literary criminal talent over the past two decades.

To date, 2,735 stories have been entered with 19 Scarlet Stiletto Award winners –including category winners – going on to have novels published: Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Ellie Marney, Sarah Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey, Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Simmone Howell, Emilie Collyer, Sandi Wallace and Amanda Wrangles.

“The great variety of awards on offer should appeal to all sorts of different literary sensibilities, from the cosy and romantically inclined to the hard-boiled and speculative,” Lobb said.

Last year, the Awards attracted 207 entries. They were presented by Marta Dusseldorp, star of ABC1’s Janet King.

Five authors have won the Scarlet Stiletto Award twice and subsequently been invited to become judges: Cate Kennedy, Christina Lee, Roxxy Bent, Janis Spehr and Josephine Pennicott. Only Cate Kennedy, however, has a matching pair of stilettos.

Three collections of winning stories have been published by Clan Destine Press: Scarlet Stiletto: The First Cut, Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut and Scarlet Stiletto Short Stories: 2013(ebook). 

Closing date for the awards is 31 August 2015. Entry fee is $15 (Sisters in Crime) or $20 (others). Maximum length is 5000 words.  Click here for entry forms and FAQs. 

The 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards are tentatively scheduled for 6.30pm Saturday 28 November at theThornbury Theatre in Melbourne.

Media comment: Michaela Lobb, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia:  0409 431 397.

04/06/2015 - 10:25pm

Sisters in Crime offers its warmest congratulations to St Kilda author Jane Harper who has won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Harper took out the $15,000 prize for her crime novel, The Dry, set in rural Australia.

The Age reported the judges saying that Harper "weaves together themes about belonging, loyalty and forgiveness in an exploration of the best and worst of rural Australia ... [she] has delivered an accomplished piece of crime writing, one destined to find a wide audience".

Presumably publishers are beating a quick path to Jane’s door.

It has certainly proved a boon to other authors. Sisters in Crime member Angela Savage won the award in 2004 for a manuscript which grew out of a story which won the 3rd prize in Sisters in Crime’s Scarlet Stiletto Awards in 1998. She has since published three novels featuring her Thailand-based P I Jayne Keeney.

Sisters in Crime member J M (Jenny) Green, who has a debut novel Good Money coming out with Scribe in November, was shortlisted for the award last year.

The prize has also previously gone to writers such as Carrie Tiffany, Graeme Simsion and Maxine Beneba Clarke and given their careers a massive kickstart.

The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript is part of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards program, which is administered by the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas on behalf of the Andrews Labor Government.

Click here to read more. 

04/06/2015 - 10:21pm

According to Adam Davis from BuzzFeed, Phryne Fisher is a flawless human being who must be celebrated endlessly.

It's not often we run male opinion pieces on the Sisters in Crime website, but Adam does put forward 18 compelling arguments as to why we should all love Phryne and the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, based on the books by Kerry Greenwood, a founding member of Sisters in Crime Australia.

Click here to find out why you absolutely need her in your life, according to Adam. (The site includes lots of delicious video clips.)


03/06/2015 - 6:20pm

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said that there had been an explosion of women’s crime writing over the past 15 years.

Hannah Kent won the 2104 Davitt (Readers' Choice) for Burial Rites

“When the Davitt Awards were set up back in 2001, there were only seven books competing , though admittedly non-fiction crime books weren’t then in contention. Last year, numbers had climbed to 76 books but in one short year they’ve grown by another 20. The increase is gobsmacking,” Horwood said.

“Australian women are turning to crime above all other genres, it seems, because crime offers so many possibilities. It really is a broad church (the television crime series was appropriately titled). All tastes and proclivities are catered for, from hard-boiled to cosy, from serial killers to crime capers. Ebooks are also now part of the mix.”

Horwood said that last year Sisters in Crime had decided to establish a separate award for children’s crime novels.

“It seemed unfair to expect children’s fiction to compete with Young Adult fiction but we didn’t expect children’s books to soar in numbers and popularity. This year, there are 20 children’s crime novels, six more than in the Young Adult category,” Horwood said. 

“Many of us in Sisters in Crime aren’t all that surprised since we cut our teeth on The Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. In fact, we’re thrilled that a whole new generation of crime readers and writers is being nurtured by the likes of Jen Storer, Jennifer Walsh, Catherine Jinks and Sally Rippin.”

Six Davitt Awards will be presented by a major UK crime writer 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 by 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.

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

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,” she said.

The judging panel for 2015 comprises:

·         Maggie Baron: Former forensic scientist and avid crime reader, Maggie brings a strong analytical perspective to the craft of judging.

·         Deborah Crabtree:Deborah is a writer, reviewer and bookseller at Readings Carlton. An ex-Kill City dame and past Ned Kelly judge, Deborah has returned to the literary crime scene to check out how the sisters do it and whether they can get away with it.

·         Jacqui Horwood: Jacqui is a former public servant and newly minted librarian. She likes her crime hard boiled and her eggs sunny side up.

·         Sylvia Loader: Sylvia has been reading crime for more than sixty years and is still searching for the ideal way of disposing of a husband.

·         Michaela Lobb:Michaela formerly worked as a proof reader for freelance writers and has a degree in journalism and writing and certificates in editing and publishing. She began her career as a devoted crime reader at age 11 when she transitioned from Trixie Belden to Agatha Christie.

·         Dr Shelley Robertson:Shelley has been a forensic pathologist for over 25 years, with extensive experience in the investigation of unnatural deaths and giving expert evidence in court. She has written a number of articles published in true crime anthologies and been a Davitt Judge and Sisters in Crime member for many years.

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.

Voting by Sisters in Crime members for the Davitt (Readers' Choice) closes on 27 July. 

A short list will be announced in late July.

The long list follows.

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503; jacqui.horwood@gmail.com

Adult novels (44)

·         Sarah Barrie, Deadly Secrets (Harlequin MIRA – Harlequin)

·         Honey Brown, Through the Cracks (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Kimberley Brown, Trusting a Stranger (Escape Publishing –Harlequin) ebook, Debut

·         Carla Caruso, Pretty Mess: An Astonvale novel (HarperCollins Australia) ebook, Debut

·         Melanie Casey, Craven (Pantera Press)

·         Lee Christine, In Safe Arms (Escape Publishing – Harlequin) ebook

·         Sandy Curtis, Grievous Harm (Clan Destine Press)

·         Wendy L Curtis, Above and Beyond (Escape Publishing–Harlequin) ebook, Debut

·         Karen Davis, Deadly Obsession (Simon & Schuster)

·         Livia Day, Drowned Vanilla (Twelfth Planet Press)

·         Joy Dettman, Tying of Threads (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Ilsa Evans, Forbidden Fruits: A Nell Forrest mystery (Momentum Press) ebook

·         Sarah Evans, Killing Kindness (Clan Destine Press) ebook

·         Sarah Evans, Operation Paradise (Clan Destine Press) Debut

·         Jaye Ford, Already Dead (Random House)

·         Candice Fox, Eden (Random House)

·         Candice Fox, Hades (Random House) Debut

·         Kathryn Fox, Fatal Impact (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Anna George, What Came Before (Penguin Books Australia) Debut

·         Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned (Pantera Press)

·         Helen Goltz, Graveyard of the Atlantic (Atlas Productions)

·         Nina Hamilton, Rescue Nights (Escape Publishing – Harlequin) ebook

·         Annie Hauxwell, A Morbid Habit (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Katherine Howell, Deserving Death (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Anna Jaquiery, The Lying-down Room (Picador – a Pan Macmillan imprint) Debut

·         Wendy James, The Lost Girls (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Rebecca Jessen, Gap (University of Queensland Press) Debut

·         Kathryn Ledson, Monkey Business (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Gabrielle Lord, Dishonour (Hachette Australia)

·         Sophie Masson, Trinity #1: The Koldun Code (Momentum Press – a Pan MacMillan imprint)

·         Lily Monadjemi, The Scent of Love (Austin Macauley Publishers) Debut

·         Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Maris Morton, The Herb Gardener (Odyssey Books)

·         Malla Nunn, Present Darkness (Xoum Publishing)

·         P M Newton, Beams Falling (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Ainslie Paton, Floored (Escape Publishing – Harlequin) ebook

·         Josephine Pennicott, Currawong Manor (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Elisabeth Rose, Evidence of Love (Escape Publishing – Harlequin) ebook

·         Deborah Sheldon, Dark Waters (Cohesion Press) ebook

·         Vanessa Skye, Broken (The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House)

·         Nicole Trope, The Secrets in Silence (Allen & Unwin)

·         Sandi Wallace, Tell Me Why (Clan Destine Press) Debut

·         Felicity Young, The Scent of Murder (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Helene Young, Safe Harbour (Penguin Books Australia)

Young adult novels (14)

·         Alexandra Adornetto, Ghost House (HarperCollins Australia) Debut     

·         Christine Bongers, Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint)

·         Kaz Delaney, Almost Dead (Allen & Unwin)

·         Rebecca James, Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead (Allen & Unwin)

·         Justine Larbalestier, Razorhurst (Allen & Unwin)

·         Rebecca Lim, The Astrologer’s Daughter (Text Publishing) Debut

·         Ellie Marney, Every Word (Allen & Unwin)

·         Sophie Masson, Emilio: Through my eyes (Allen & Unwin)

·         Sophie Masson, The Crystal Heart (Random House)

·         Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia) Debut

·         Jessica Shirvington, Corruption (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Jessica Shirvington, Disruption (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Frances Watts, The Raven’s Wing (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Nova Weetman, The Haunting of Lily Frost (University of Queensland Press) Debut

Children’s Novels (20)

·         Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut

·         Ursula Dubosarsky, Talkative Tombstone #6: The CrypticCasebook (Allen & Unwin)

·         Elizabeth Farrelly, Caro Was Here (Walker Books) Debut

·         Jacqueline Harvey, Alice-Miranda in Japan (Random House)

·         Catherine Jinks, Saving Thanehaven (Allen & Unwin)

·         Sofie Laguna, Do You Dare? Fighting Bones 1836 (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Alison Lloyd, Do You Dare? Bushranger Boys 1841 (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Deryn Mansell, Tiger Stone (Black Dog Books – a Walker Books Australia imprint) Debut

·         Belinda Murrell, The Sequin Star (Random House)

·         Eileen O’Hely, Kitten Kaboodle Mission 1: The Catier Emerald (Walker Books) Debut

·         Eileen O’Hely, Kitten Kaboodle Mission 2: The Lightning Opal(Walker Books)

·         Sally Rippin, Billie B Mystery #2: Code Breaker (Hardie Grant Egmont)

·           Sally Rippin, Billie B Mystery #3: Playground Detectives (Hardie Grant Egmont)

·           Sally Rippin, Billie B Mystery #4: Strawberry Thief (Hardie Grant Egmont)

·           Sally Rippin, Billie B Mystery #5: Stolen Stash (Hardie Grant Egmont)

·           Sally Rippin, Billie B Mystery #6: Treasure Hunt (Hardie Grant Egmont)

·           Judith Rossell, Withering-by-Sea (HarperCollins Australia)

·           R A Spratt, Friday Barnes: Big trouble (Random House)

·           Jen Storer, Truly Tan #4: Freaked! (ABC Books – a HarperCollins Australia imprint)

·           Jennifer Walsh, Crooked Leg Road (Allen & Unwin)

Non-Fiction Books (18)

·           Lindy Cameron and Fin J Ross, Murder in the Family: 15 horrifying accounts of domestic tragedy  (The Five Mile Press)

·           Amy Dale, The Fall (Random House) Debut

·           Suzanne Falkiner, Mrs Mort’s Madness: The true story of a Sydney scandal (Xoum Publishing)

·           Vashti Farrer, Ellen Thomson: Beyond a reasonable doubt (Halstead Press)

·           Victoria Heywood, Lethal Lovers (The Five Mile Press)

·           Amanda Howard, Murder on the Mind: An insight into the minds of serial killers and their crimes (New Holland)

·           Xanthé Mallett, Mothers Who Murder: And infamous miscarriages of justice (Ebury Press – a Random House imprint)

·           Debi Marshall, The Family Court Murders: Four murders.Five bombings. No convictions (Ebury Press – a Random House imprint)

·           Michaela McGuire, Last Bets (Melbourne University Publishing)

·           Belinda Neil, Under Siege (Harlequin MIRA – Harlequin)

·           Megan Norris, Love You to Death: A story of sex, betrayal and murder gone wrong (The Five Mile Press)

·           Eileen Ormsby, Silk Road (Pan Macmillan Australia) Debut

·           Caroline Overington, Last Woman Hanged (HarperCollins Australia)

·           Virginia Peters, Have You Seen Simone? The story of an unsolved murder (Nero)

·           Sue Turnbull, The TV Crime Drama (University of Edinburgh Press)

·           Emily Webb, Murder in Suburbia: Disturbing stories from Australia’s dark heart (The Five Mile Press)

·           Robyn Windshuttle, Dancing with a Cocaine Cowboy (Allen & Unwin) Debut

·           Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press) Debut