Mystery Writers Panel Author Feature: Kelly Dennett

Are you a fan of mysteries? The Ngaio Marsh Awards and Wellington City Libraries invites you to Mystery in the Library, a fantastic (and free!) after-hours event featuring four outstanding and highly acclaimed local storytellers.

Photo by Emma Miller

When?
Saturday 13 April 2019

Where?
Karori Library (Please note the new location for this event)

What time?
6pm-7.30pm

One of the outstanding panellists at our Mystery in the Library event is Sunday Star-Times news director Kelly Dennett.  Her book The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong was published last year and is a gripping and empathetic account of the life and unsolved murder of Jane Furlong, a seventeen year old who disappeared from Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 1993.

We were lucky enough to talk to Kelly last week about her book.

Kelly told us she had forged strong relationships and trust with Jane’s friends and family as she painstakingly pieced all the different strands of the story of Jane’s disappearance together. As a result, she felt an enormous responsibility to Jane’s family and the memory of Jane to write the best book that she could. She felt that it was important to get the tone of the book right and concentrate on details that would bring the story and the charismatic personality of Jane to life rather than salacious and sensational details. Being able to read Jane’s diaries meant Kelly could get a good understanding of Jane’s character and she told us that she would often consider what Jane would think of the book as she was writing it.

We asked if Kelly had any thoughts on why unsolved murders and true crime, for example the television series Making a Murderer, were more popular than ever.  Kelly told us that because cold cases are about real people it is easy for us to relate to the characters, and put ourselves in their shoes. She also thinks that the genre gives audiences the appealing chance to be armchair detectives.

Jane’s body was discovered 19 years after her disappearance and her murder remains unsolved. Kelly believes that this case could be solved in the future and pointed to some recent arrests in Australia that have been made decades after the murders were committed.

Kelly speaks eloquently about her writing. Come along to Mystery in the Library this Saturday night (6-7:30pm) to hear more of the fascinating details of this book that has been called a “brave look at a cold case” (Otago Daily Times).

For more tasters of Kelly Dennett’s writing and The Short Life and Mysterious Death of Jane Furlong  listen to this interview with Wallace Chapman on RNZ or read this article in The Spinoff.

Join us on Saturday, 13 April at 6pm at Karori Library to hear Kirsten McDougall, Dame Fiona Kidman, Jennifer Lane, Kelly Dennett and chairperson Brannavan Gnanalingam discuss some fantastic works of mystery!