Miss Elizabeth Quinn is something of an institution in Maitland Town. For longer than anyone could remember she and her brother, businessman Michael, have lived in the impressive two-storey stone house next to the church. When she is discovered cowering in the corner of the exhibition gallery at the Technical College the entire town knows something strange has come to pass.
Was it the prehistoric remains or perhaps the taxidermy exhibition that had reduced the whale-boned encased pillar of society to a quivering mess? Or is there something odd about a striking painting on loan from the National Gallery?
Mathematical savant Jane Piper is determined to find out. Deposited on the doorstep of the local orphanage as a baby, she owes her life and education to the Quinns’ philanthropic ventures and Elizabeth has no one else to turn to.
As the past and the present converge, Elizabeth’s grip on reality loosens. Can Jane, with her logical brain and penchant for puzzles, unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late?
Ranging from the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, the bucolic English countryside to the charm of Maitland Town, this compelling historical mystery in the company of an eccentric and original heroine is rich with atmosphere and detail.
Well thought out and, as always with this author, great fiction blended with historical facts. Quite a convoluted plot with a twist or two, which adds to my enjoyment. I appreciate the effort that goes into creating a storyline with so many threads and found myself thinking about the novel when I wasn’t reading (which meant I was drawn back to reading when I should have been doing other things!!) That’s rare for me. Well done, Tea.
For me, pace is critical. I’m a huge fan of crime and thrillers as I enjoy that edge-of-your-seat feeling, but sometimes I need to reset my reading, slow down, and get stuck into something a little ’softer’. Tea’s books always provide the perfect break. The slower pace allows the reader to absorb the setting/description, and the historical detail. Tea does this so well.
I also love the way Tea uses the Australian landscape in her stories. Not overdone or flowery, the author keeps readers in the picture and lets them discover the setting through the character.
Elizabeth and Jane are great characters, but Michael had a heart of gold.
Pardon the pun, but Tea always ‘paints’ interesting characters with solid backstories and emotional depth.
OVERALL FEELINGS ABOUT THE STORY
Once again, Tea Cooper has delivered a well-crafted, entertaining and intriguing story with passionate characters in an Australian setting. Loved it.
Published by Harper Collins Australia