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Cop This!

October 29 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

$10 to include a draw for a package of books.

Register by Friday 29 October, 5pm and you will be sent the link by 6pm.

Former Victorian Assistant Police Commissioner Sandra Nicholson will interrogate a panel of writers of police procedurals.

The booming fascination with true crime investigations through books, documentaries, and podcasts, which often focus on the nitty-gritty of crime solving, has shone a renewed spotlight on police procedural stories. Former Victorian Assistant Police Commissioner Sandra Nicholson will interrogate our panel about this popular crime subgenre.

Authors Caroline de Costa, Suzanne Frankham, and Margaret Hickey will talk to Sandra about why they opted to tell their stories through the police procedural style and what it has brought to plotting, pace, and characterisation. Does the need to be accurate about the profession of law enforcement, forensic science, autopsies, gathering evidence, search warrants, interrogation, and adherence to legal restrictions and procedure help or hinder the narrative?


Caroline de Costa has four crime novels under her belt. Since 2015 she has published three novels in the Detective Cass Diamond series, all set in Cairns. The first, Double Madness, was shortlisted for Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Awards in 2016. Hidden Lives, the prequel to her Cass Diamond series, was released by Boolarong Press this year. Caroline’s short story, Screwed, won the Kerry Greenwood Malice Domestic Award in the 2019 Scarlet Stiletto awards, with two other stories highly commended last year.

Caroline is an obstetrician and gynaecologist and professor at James Cook University who has published numerous healthcare books for women. She has lived and practiced in Cairns for many years but is trying to relocate to Melbourne for a life of crime fiction and (semi-) retirement.

Suzanne Frankham’s debut police procedural, Shadow over Edmund Street (Journey to Words Publishing), is set in the harbour city of Auckland, her one-time hometown. The murder of a middle-aged battler is a mystery. Edwina’s death is brutal, with a silent killer who leaves no clues. Her murder seems unsolvable until a casual comment sends Inspector Alex Cameron trawling through the dead woman’s childhood…

Suzanne is a Melbourne-based writer who loves nothing more than sitting hunched over her computer planning a murder or two (all so far confined to fiction). She trained as a scientist. Her short stories have won prizes in the 2014 and 2017 Sisters in Crime’s Scarlet Stiletto Awards as well as the 2019 S. D. Harvey Award.


The past and the present collide in Cutters End (Penguin Random House), the first crime thriller by Margaret Hickey. A mysterious death on New Year’s Eve 1989 in the South Australian outback leads to a shocking murder investigation 32 years later. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti is seconded to a recently reopened case. And with the help of local Senior Constable Jagdeep Kaur at Cutters End, he soon learns that this death isn’t the only unsolved case that hangs over the town…

Margaret is an award-winning author, playwright, and radio presenter from North East Victoria. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and is deeply interested in rural lives and communities. She was shortlisted in the Scarlet Stiletto Awards some years ago.

Compere Sandra Nicholson spent 35 years serving the community of Victoria as a Police Officer with Victoria Police. The majority of her service was as a detective. In 1983 Sandra was seconded to the Ash Wednesday Task Force assisting the Coroner. She was the first female lecturer gazetted to the Detective Training School in 1990 at the rank of Detective Senior Sergeant. She later became Assistant Commissioner, retiring in 2010. Sandra was awarded an Australia Police Medal for services to the community in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours. She is a former President of Sisters in Crime.

Three lucky ticketholders will win a $150 pack of crime books, kindly donated by publishers. Unfortunately, this bonus is restricted to Australian residents – international postage is just too expensive!

The pack will include:

  • Hidden Lives, Caroline de Costa (Boolarong Press)
  • Shadow over Edmund Street, Suzanne Frankham (Journey to Words Publishing),
  • Cutters End, Margaret Hickey (Penguin Random House)

And one of these pairs:

  • Making Trouble: Tongued by Fires, Sue Ingleton (Spinifex Press)
  • The Suicide Bride, Tanya Bretherton (Hachette Australia)

Or

  • The Lost Night, Andrea Bartz (Simon & Schuster)
  • My Father the Murderer, Nina Young and Denise Young (Penguin Books)

Or

  • Without a Doubt, Fleur McDonald (Allen & Unwin)
  • Mind Behind the Crime: What Makes Australia’s Wrist Killers Tick?, Dr Helen McGrath and Cheryl Critchley (Pan Macmillan Australia_

A video broadcast will be available to watch on YouTube from the evening of Sunday 31 October.

Supported by the Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature Office.