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Diggers Rest Hotel
In 1947, two years after witnessing the death of a young Jewish woman in Poland, Charlie Berlin has rejoined the police force a different man. Sent to investigate a spate of robberies in rural Victoria, he soon discovers that World War II has changed even the most ordinary of places and people.
An ex-bomber pilot and former POW, Berlin is struggling to fit back in: grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, the ghosts of his dead crew and his futile attempts to numb the pain.
When Berlin travels to Albury-Wodonga to track down the gang behind the robberies, he suspects he's a problem cop being set up to fail. Taking a room at the Diggers Rest Hotel in Wodonga, he sets about solving a case that no one else can â€“ with the help of feisty, ambitious journalist Rebecca Green and rookie constable Rob Roberts, the only cop in town he can trust.
Then the decapitated body of a young girl turns up in a back alley, and Berlin's investigations lead him ever further through layers of small-town fears, secrets and despair.
The first Charlie Berlin mystery takes us into a world of secret alliances and loyalties â€“ and a society dealing with the effects of a war that changed men forever.
About the Author
Melbourne-born Geoff McGeachin has spent much of his life shooting pictures for advertising, travel, theatre and feature films. His work has taken him all over the world including stints living in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong. He is now based in Sydney, where he teaches photography and writes.
His first novel, Fat, Fifty & F***ed!, won the inaugural Australian Popular Fiction Competition and was published by Penguin in August 2004. Described by the Sunday Tasmanian as 'one of the most exhilarating debut novels in many moons . . . wildly imaginative, irreverent, bitingly funny, beautifully paced and populated by the sort of characters we'd all love to know', it continues to entertain and amuse Australian and international readers.
Geoff followed this up in 2006 with the hilarious adventure thriller D-E-D DEAD!, which introduced Alby Murdoch â€“ Australian secret agent and international photographer â€“ a man with a taste for good coffee, fine food and interesting women and described by the Sunday Age as 'a genuine action hero, with a truly Australian irreverence'. D-E-D DEAD! was published by Penguin/Viking and nominated for a Ned Kelly Award in 2006.
Sensitive New Age Spy, the second Alby story, was published by Penguin in 2007 and was also nominated for a Ned Kelly Award. According to GQ Magazine, Sensitive New Age Spy 'crackles with picaresque players and absurd wit. A chuckle-by-the-pool read.'
Dead and Kicking, the third book in the Alby Murdoch trilogy, was published to excellent reviews in January 2009. The Age's Cameron Woodhead wrote: 'McGeachin channels the ghost of Ian Fleming to entertaining effect in this high-octane adventure with a camp, comic gloss.' The Sunday Tasmanian said: 'McGeachin has a real flair for action-adventure writing. His pacing is excellent, his ever-changing scene locations are richly detailed and his plotting is intricate without being cumbersome. Throw in his inimitable sense of humour and you have a sensational combination.'
His fifth novel, The Diggers Rest Hotel, is a crime story set in Albury-Wodonga, and it marks a change of direction for McGeachin. The hero is hard-boiled detective Charlie Berlin, an ex-bomber pilot and POW with a dark past. Published in June 2010 it was described by Christopher Bantick in the Weekly Times as '... a bottler of a book ... terrific in all respects', and the Hobart Mercury reviewing it as, '...a fiesty, beautifully researched thriller ... shot through with brilliant insights and great dialogue, fitfully lit by explosive flashbacks to battle in the air.'
The Diggers Rest Hotel won the Best Fiction category at the 2011 Ned Kelly Awards presented by the Australian Crime Writers Association and was also one of ten titles selected for the State Library of Victoria's 'Summer Reads Program' 2010/11.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge
On 19 March, 1932, after nine years of planning and building, more than a million Australians crossed the newly opened Sydney Harbour Bridge, the largest arch bridge in the world. This revised edition of Peter Spearitt's biography of the Bridge celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 2012. It tells the extraordinary story of the Bridge's design and construction, the drama of its official opening, and the way it has taken a central place in Sydney's celebrations and become a much-loved symbol of the city. The Bridge has inspired great art and drawn visitors from all over the world to marvel and climb it, yet is still so familiar that Sydneysiders refer to it endearingly as the coathanger. The Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrates not only a magnificent structure, but the people who use it.
About the Author
Peter Spearritt is a leading historian, the former executive director of the Brisbane Institute, and a current professor at the University of Queensland. He has published more than 20 books, including Australians and the Monarchy, Electrifying Sydney, Sydneyâ€™s Century: A History, Holiday Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870, and Trading Places: Australian Travel Posters.
""In this story, as the chief character is internally melodramatic, the story itself ceases to be merely melodramatic, and partakes of true drama."" - T. S. Eliot.Like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, Wilkie Collins shifted easily from rational domains to the ""superrational."" Like them, he is famed for original contributions to ""ratiocinative"" (detective) literature, but often preferred to indulge his occult predilection - a lifelong indulgence. His first published story, ""The Last Stage Coachmen"" (1843), was a supernatural allegory of trains; perhaps his last lucid effort (before ill health and opium drained his powers) was this short novel, The Haunted Hotel.Collins' methods and themes, developed and elaborated in his earlier, massive novels, are streamlined and concentrated here into a tight novelette. The same relentless pace and narrative power, the same attention to plot and backdrop detail that distinguish The Moonstone and The Woman in White are evident here, as is the obsession with destiny and the willful struggle against it.Collins' much-loved Venice provides the scenery and fatal beauty, the grim waterways and palaces the author will haunt with mysterious women, grotesques, and bloody conspiracies. The Countess Narona is one of Collins' cosmopolitan enchantresses; she acts, but as the tool of her doom. T. S. Eliot wrote, ""The principal character, the fatal woman, is herself obsessed by the idea of fatality; her motives are melodramatic; she therefore compels the coincidences to occur, feeling that she is compelled to compel them."" Collins relieves the tension with some wry characterizations and ironies; the theatrics are sustained. Indeed, theatrical motifs figure heavily, Collins himself being much involved with the stage at that period.The Haunted Hotel appears to be loosely based on a case from the annals of French crime; the scene, scenery, players and conflicts, and especially the horror, come straight from Collins' overstimulated, no doubt overwrought, most certainly haunted imagination.
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