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Sisters in Crime at Clunes Booktown Weekend: Crime takes to the backroads – Interrogating Rural Noir

May 1, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Crime does not just walk the mean streets of our cities. These days it is stalking the dusty backroads of the Australian bush. Authors Katherine Kovacic , Sandi Wallace and Lyn Yeowart discuss with Maggie Baron how and why the country is such an ideal scene of the crime – and the many insights that ‘rural noir’ novels offer into life, now and in the past.

Part of Turn the Page: 3-4pm, Saturday 1 May: Clunes Town Hall, 98 Bailey St., Clunes 

Katherine Kovacic headshotThe Shifting Landscape (Echo Publishing), the latest novel in Katherine Kovacic’s Alex Clayton series, is set in Victoria’s Western District. At an historic sheep station, Alex, an art dealer, finds an important and previously unknown colonial painting – and a family fraught with tension. Arguments about the future of the property and its place in an ancient and highly significant indigenous landscape end with deadly consequences.


Katherine Kovacic is a Melbourne-based writer, art historian and former veterinarian. Her debut novel, The Portrait of Molly Dean, was shortlisted for the 2019 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, and is the first of three books in the Alex Clayton art mystery series. Her new ‘true crime novel’, The Schoolgirl Strangler (Echo Publishing), tells the shocking story of a serial killer targeting young girls in 1930s’ Melbourne.


Sandi Wallace has written four rural noir thrillers in her Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series set in the Daylesford area – Tell Me Why, Dead Again, Into the Fog and Black Cloud. She won the 2015 Davitt Award Readers’ Choice for her debut novel, along with five prizes in Sisters in Crime’s Scarlet Stiletto Awards. Chris Hammer, acclaimed author of Scrublands, says of Sandi’s latest novel Black Cloud (Gumshoe – A Next Chapter Imprint): “Brilliantly captures the impact of small-town tragedy. A beautifully written police procedural.”


headshot link to websiteThe Silent Listener (Viking, an Imprint of Penguin), the debut novel of Lyn Yeowart, is set in the dark, gothic heart of rural Australia and propels the reader back and forth between the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s. In the cold, wet summer of 1960, eleven-year-old Joy Henderson lives in constant fear of her father. She tries to make him happy, but, as he keeps reminding her, she is nothing but a filthy sinner destined for hell … In her recent Nine Newspaper review, Sue Turnbull declared: “Vivid and heart-rending, The Silent Listener is simply unforgettable.” Karina Kilmore in the Herald Sun as “stunning”.

Lyn is a professional writer and editor with more than 25 years’ experience in writing and editing everything from captions for artworks to speeches for executives, along with poetry, fiction and non-fiction books, and textbooks. The Silent Listener is loosely based on events from her childhood in rural Victoria. She is now happily ensconced in Melbourne, where there are lots of books and a vibrant writing community, but very little mud.


Maggie Baron headshotMaggie Baron is a former convener and inaugural President of Sisters in Crime. She has judged both the Scarlet Stiletto and the Davitt awards. Maggie was a state forensic scientist for six years and has since worked in a number of roles which have taken her to the bottom of the ocean floor as a shipwreck conservator; to archaeology sites in North-East Syria; between the stacks at the State Library and down a deep tunnel, delivering Melbourne’s next underground railway.

A sought-after guest on all things crime, she chairs panels for sisters in Crime, was a speaker at its 2018 Law Week event and guest speaker at the Ned Kelly Awards in August 2018. Maggie is working on her first crime fiction novel.

All tickets $15.  Bookings open 29 March.

Full program here.