Force and Fraud

A Tale of the Bush

Outback Australia in the mid-1800s 

When rich, domineering squatter Angus McAlpin is murdered, the obvious 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 and handkerchief were 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.

Force may have killed Angus McAlpin, but fraud follows murder in a cunning plan to see Herbert Lindsey hanged - by any means necessary. 

For someone else is determined to marry Flora, to obtain her property and her person; and he will stop at nothing.


Force and Fraud  is Australia's first mystery novel.

First published in Melbourne in 1865 - in the midst of the often-lawless goldrush era of Australia's colonial past -  it is a genuinely original novel; well ahead of its time.

In fact Kerry Greenwood - the creator of Phryne Fisher - describes Ellen Davitt's novel as: "a stunning mystery with a court scene worthy of Perry Mason". 


The Clan Destine Press eBook of Force and Fraud  also contains a short story by Ellen Davitt.

'The Highlander's Revenge' is a crime story, rather than a mystery. 

First published in the Australian Journal in August 1867, it was the best of Ellen Davitt's short stories and a significant early fictionalisation of European atrocities against Aborigines.

'The Highlander’s Revenge' comprises two stories: a memoir of genocide; and the reaction to it from an audience. 





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