150 year anniversary of Australia's first mystery novel


September 2015 marks 150 years since Australia's first mystery novel was published.

To celebrate the anniversary of Force and Fraud by Ellen Davitt,

Clan Destine Press is republishing the groundbreaking novel as an eBook.

Force and Fraud  goes live today, August 29, in a not even-remotely accidental release,
on the day of the 15th annual Davitt Awards. 

The Davitts, presented by Sisters in Crime Australia, and obviously named in honour of the country's first crime writerForce and Fraud , celebrate Australian women's crime fiction. Note: not the first 'female' crime writer (though she was) but Australia's first published crime writer.

Five awards and five highly commendeds, in the categories of Best Adult Crime Fiction, Best YA Crime Fiction, Best Debut Crime Fiction, Best Children's Crime Fiction, Best True Crime,
and the Readers's Vote (which covers all categories)
 will be presented to authors of works of fiction and nonfiction published in 2014.


So, while the Davitt Awards turn 15, Force and Fraud celebrates its 150th anniversary.

First published in September,1865, Force and Fraud  was the lead serial in the first issue of the Australian Journal: a Weekly Record of Literature, Science and the Arts

Now, Clan Destine Press — along with award-winning writer and self-confessed 'literary archaeologist' Dr Lucy Sussex — is bringing Australia's first murder mystery to a 21st Century audience. 

Dr Sussex, credited with rediscovering the work of two 19th century Australian crime writers, Mary Fortune and Ellen Davitt, has written the introduction to the new edition of Force and Fraud


The book itself:

Outback Australia in the 1850s: When rich, domineering squatter Angus McAlpin is murdered, the prime suspect is the penniless artist, Herbert Lindsey — who wants to marry his daughter, Flora.

McAlpin may have proclaimed that Flora would marry Herbert 'only over his dead body' — and Herbert's bloodstained knife was found near the murder scene — but the artist denies any wrongdoing.

So begins a compelling murder mystery and trial, as the heiress seeks to prove her lover's innocence, and a country town takes sides.


Our eBook edition of Force and Fraud  also includes a bonus short story.

'The Higlanders Revenge' is a crime story, rather than a mystery. First published 1867, it was the best of Ellen Davitt's short stories and a significant early fictionalisation of European atrocities against Aborigines.

Dr Lucy Sussex says: "The Davitt Awards are rightly named after Ellen Davitt; she was a significant pioneer of the genre."

And Kerry Greenwood — creator of Phryne Fisher — says: Force and Fraud is "a stunning mystery with a court scene worthy of Perry Mason."