Tag Archives: libraries

‘Jane’ wins The Body in the Library category at the Scarlet Stiletto Awards

This year I entered the Sisters in Crime Australia Scarlet Stiletto Awards for the very first time. The awards, hosted by Sisters in Crime and a number of generous sponsors, are for crime stories written by Australian women and with female protagonists.

I am absolutely thrilled to have received the Body in the Library first place with my ghost story, ‘Jane’.

An Australian Literature research student meets a ghost in a state-of-the-art private library on a remote bush property. She tries to unravel the mystery of the ghost’s origins while the dangers of the present, both human and natural, loom.

The awards night was fabulous! Most of the 26 shortlisted authors (out of 186 entrants) were there, some coming from interstate. Jane Clifton was a marvellous MC, and did a fantastic interview with the ever-lovely Sigrid Thornton (with whom she co-starred in the iconic TV series Prisoner).

Congratulations to all my fellow short-listed authors, and category winners! Huge thanks to Sisters in Crime and the award sponsors, especially the fabulous Athenaeum Library!

A big thank you too to Lindy Cameron, who looked me in the eye when I told her I’d never written for the awards and instructed me, in no uncertain terms, that this year I had to enter.

Books and Publishing has a full list of the winning entries.

If you’d like to read ‘Jane’ and the other award-winning stories, you can pick up Scarlet Stiletto: The Ninth Cut 2017:

You can also find out more about the awards at Sisters in Crime.

Give me your tales of library loss woe

I once left a library book on  a train. I was terribly upset for two reasons. One. It was a library book, not my book, and it felt almost like stealing through negligence. Two. I hadn’t finished reading it!

And, actually, three. It was a library book. I know that’s just One again, but I felt really bad about it.

Losing library books feels like stealing food from the starving poor. Or being mean to puppies. Or something.

The book was Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World, so it wasn’t like I was waiting to find out whodunnit, or whether the secret plans were recovered, or if Frodo really got to Mordor. But it was a damned good book.

Lost and Found never found it, so I duly called the library and paid for the replacement, and because I couldn’t wait, I also bought my own copy of the book and finished it.  *aaaaah, the literary relief of it*

I thought of this incident at the beginning of the year when I read about the anonymous return of an overdue library book 27 years after the fact.

I was impressed that someone wanted to do the right thing after all that time, and the financial cunning they showed in doing it anonymously.  Even though I know the library would not have charged them the nearly $3000 in overdue fees, because libraries don’t actually work like that.

Sadly, when I was a teenager, I met someone who confessed that they stole books from the local library. I can’t even remember now whether or not she read them, or just nicked them for the fun of it. I remember being horrified and we stopped being friends shortly afterwards.

The weird thing is that I was mortified partly because, you know, theft, but mostly because, you know, theft from a library. I don’t know why that makes it worse, except, of course, that libraries are sacrosanct.

I’m assuming I’m not the only one with an intense quasi-sacred regard for library books. So please, share your library-book-pain stories with me, and we can all go seek therapy together.