Vote for Bird of the Year 2021

It’s that time of the year again, when we all get the opportunity to vote for our favourite New Zealand Bird of the Year.  Whether you’re a purist who insists that only birds qualify, or one of these new radicals championing a *gasp* mammal (the pekapeka-tou-roa or long-tailed bat), there’s a bird to suit everyone’s tastes.  From cheeky kākā, to those chonky kererū or the tiny tītīpounamu with their bumblebee sized hatchlings, New Zealand birds are fascinating and sadly, all too many of them are at risk of disappearing altogether.

If you’re not sure what birds you might like to vote for, we’re here to help, with plenty of books about the birds of New Zealand, whether you’re backyard bird watcher, a recreational twitcher or a serious ornithologist, we’ve got something for you.  Here are a selection of titles:

A naturalist’s guide to the birds of New Zealand / Thomas, Oscar

“This photographic identification guide to 239 bird species in New Zealand, including the most commonly seen, unique and endemic species, is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High-quality photographs from one of New Zealand’s youngest nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers climate, vegetation, biogeography and the key sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of New Zealand encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status.” (Catalogue)

The brilliance of birds : a New Zealand birdventure / Wishart, Skye

“Who knew that the morepork, our forest-dwelling owl, can turn its head 270 degrees? Or that the eastern bar-tailed godwit triples its body weight before undertaking an epic and continuous migration of 11,000 kilometres? Or that the tūī has two voiceboxes – enabling it to duet with itself – one producing sounds too high-frequency for humans to hear?” (Catalogue)

 

Birdstories : a history of the birds of New Zealand / Norman, Geoff

“Norman covers a range of our bird families and individual species, and provides an up-to-date picture of how these birds are regarded by both Māori and Pākehā, the backstory of their discovery, and their current conservation status. Extensively illustrated with historic illustrations and contemporary artwork, this is a beautiful, comprehensive publication that will help New Zealanders realise what a taonga we have in our birds.” (Catalogue)

 

The hunters : the precarious lives of New Zealand’s birds of prey / Stewart, Debbie.

“The majestic New Zealand falcon in flight looks like a sleek killing machine – but it is one of the most endangered and misunderstood birds in our nation today. This landmark book presents all of our amazing birds of prey, from the cute ruru (or morepork) we hear calling in the night, to the hawks that hover over roadkill on our highways. Stunning photographs show the lives of these birds in intimate close-ups, and the stories make a case for their continuing protection as a vital part of our fragile ecosystem.” (Catalogue)

The field guide to the birds of New Zealand / Heather, B. D.

“The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand is the modern classic of the genre – the tried and trusted reference for lovers of New Zealand birds. Comprehensive, reliable and easy to use, this revised edition features: 374 species, including 11 new additions – the book’s biggest revision since first publication ; 85 stunning colour paintings of New Zealand birds, including rare and recently extinct species ; an introduction to key bird-watching sites ; distribution maps and an in-depth guide to field identification ; an additional handbook section that includes information on the distribution, habitat, population, conservation, breeding, behaviour and feeding habits of each species. The only field guide to New Zealand birds officially endorsed by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, this is the most authoritative reference available – a wonderful celebration of our extraordinary and diverse birdlife.” (Catalogue)

Buller’s birds of New Zealand : the complete work of JG Keulemans / Keulemans, J. G.

“Presents the full set of artworks created by JG Keulemans for “A history of the birds of New Zealand” by Walter Buller.” (Catalogue)

 

Land of birds : an illustrated tribute to the birds of New Zealand / Meyer-Westfeld, Niels

“Land of Birds is a stunning new book of New Zealand bird illustrations. Using the structure of a naturalist’s journal, Niels Meyer-Westfeld has created a very personal and sensitive tribute to this country’s remarkable birdlife. The heart of the book is his beautifully detailed illustrations of birds, covering all of our best-loved wetland, sea and forest species. The main illustrations are supported by beautifully rendered sketches and working drawings. Accompanying the illustrations is text from the author, which provides information about the species, and anecdotes about the process of creating his artwork. His text is also an impassioned call for a greater awareness of the wider threats that so much of our endangered birdlife faces in New Zealand. Land of Birds will appeal to anyone with a passion for New Zealand’s flora and fauna, particularly birds, as well as those with an interest in illustration and art.” (Catalogue)

Native birds of New Zealand / Hallett, David

“Native Birds of New Zealand is a photographic book of New Zealand native birds that will appeal to the casual bird-watcher as well as the ornithologist. Many books in the past have been aimed at the serious ornithologist, with illustrations designed to show distinct feather patterns but not to create an image that is also pleasing to the eye. The photographs in this book have been taken by David Hallett, one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife photographers, who captures the beauty of New Zealand’s native birds in their natural environment, from the subtropical north to the Sub-Antarctic Islands, and from the oceans to the alpine meadows of the Southern Alps. The text is kept short and avoids the in-depth academic material found in some of the very good reference books on the market. It does include all the interesting facts that set our native birds apart, presented in a short, concise format that makes the book ideal for browsing. With the advent of digital photography, many more birders are now equipping themselves with cameras as well as binoculars when they go into the field, creating an increasing awareness of wildlife photography. This trend, combined with the affection New Zealanders have for their native birds, makes Native Birds of New Zealand a book that will have widespread appeal.” (Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand : a photographic guide / Scofield, R. Paul

“[An] introduction to the identification and behaviour of this country’s extraordinary avian life. From the Kermadecs to Campbell Island, from beloved endemics to passing vagrants, from albatrosses and shearwaters to kiwi and kākā, the book ranges widely. Key features include: expert and up-to-date information on the 345 bird species found in New Zealand ; almost 1000 new photographs illustrating key identification characteristics and variation by age and sex ; authoritative text covering identification, behaviour, distribution and taxonomy ; Māori, English and scientific names.” (Catalogue)

Shorebirds of New Zealand : sharing the margins / Woodley, Keith

“Shorebirds of New Zealand is a beautiful, informative and lyrical account of the many shorebirds found here – those living and breeding in the same area year after year, those that migrate within New Zealand, and those whose migrations link the hemispheres. It examines the lifecycles, habits and histories of our shorebirds, such as red knots (some 50,000 of which reach New Zealand from Siberia annually), or red-necked stints (birds the size of a sparrow that make a similar journey), and our own shorebirds – stilts and oystercatchers, terns and gulls, dotterels and wrybills, snipes and godwits. Author Keith Woodley connects these shorebirds with everyday people and the environment, looking into our social and cultural values, the work of researchers and community conservation groups, as well as the ways in which our lives impact those of shorebirds – both harmoniously and harmfully. Shorebirds of New Zealand is a significant and thought-provoking book, with many stories to tell and a strong environmental message elegantly stated. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob

“New Zealand boasts exceptional species of birds; a quarter of the birdlife lives nowhere else on the planet. With the concerted focus on bird recovery, through sanctuaries, the Department of Conservation and volunteer groups, native birds are abundant, and those struggling species are continually growing in population. Rob Suisted has captured these beautiful birds in remarkable, vibrant photographs, with individual portraits and habitat shots. The four main habitats – forest, wetlands, sea and coast, and open country are introduced by Alison Dench’s thoroughly researched text. Extended captions accompany each photograph. This attractive, colourful book is a wonderful expression of New Zealand’s most interesting birdlife.” (Catalogue)

Food, Glorious Food

Is there anything quite as comforting to read about than food? Be it the biography of a chef or food critic, a history of a particular food, or just a really good cook book, books about food have been a favourite for generations. Here are some books in our collection that you might like to sink your teeth into:

Scoff : a history of food and class in Britain / Vogler, Pen
“Avocado or beans on toast? Gin or claret? Nut roast or game pie? Milk in first or milk in last? And do you have tea, dinner or supper in the evening? In this fascinating social history of food in Britain, Pen Vogler examines the origins of our eating habits and reveals how they are loaded with centuries of class prejudice. Bringing together evidence from cookbooks, literature, artworks and social records from 1066 to the present, Vogler traces the changing fortunes of the food we encounter today, and unpicks the aspirations and prejudices of the people who have shaped our cuisine for better or worse.” (adapted from catalogue)

A cook’s tour : in search of the perfect meal / Bourdain, Anthony
“Inspired by the question, ‘What would be the perfect meal?’, Anthony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail. Our adventurous chef starts out in Japan, where he eats traditional Fugu, a poisonous blowfish which can be prepared only by specially licensed chefs. He then travels to Cambodia, up the mine-studded road to Pailin into autonomous Khmer Rouge territory and to Phnom Penh’s Gun Club, where local fare is served up alongside a menu of available firearms. In Saigon, he’s treated to a sustaining meal of live Cobra heart before moving on to savor a snack with the Viet Cong in the Mecong Delta. A Cook’s Tour recounts, in Bourdain’s inimitable style, the adventures and misadventures of America’s favorite chef.” (adapted from catalogue)

Hungry : a memoir of wanting more / Dent, Grace
“From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better. Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.” (adapted from catalogue)

In the devil’s garden : a sinful history of forbidden food / Allen, Stewart Lee
“Among the foods thought to encourage Lust, the love apple (now known as the tomato), has become the world’s most popular vegetable. But until the nineteenth century the love apple was considered Satanic by many because of its similarity to the mandrake, a plant believed to be possessed by demonic spirits. Filled with Incredible history and the author’s travels to many exotic locales, In the Devil’s Garden also features recipes like the Matzoh-ball stews outlawed by the Spanish Inquisition and the forbidden “chocolate champagnes” of the Aztecs. This is truly a delectable book that will be consumed by food lovers, culinary historians, amateur anthropologists, and armchair travellers alike.” (adapted from catalogue)

Toast / Slater, Nigel
“TOAST is top food writer Nigel Slater’s eat-and-tell autobiography. Detailing all the food, recipes and cooking that have marked his passage from greedy schoolboy to great food writer, this is also a catalogue of how the British have eaten over the last three decades.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Ultimate food journeys : the world’s best dishes & where to eat them
“[A] book for food-lovers with an interest in travel–and ardent travelers with a passion for food. … [also] has helpful sightseeing itineraries, hotel recommendations, and hundreds of restaurant choices.” (Catalogue)

 

Plenty : a memoir of food & family / Howard, Hannah
“A moving reflection on motherhood, friendship, and women making their mark on the world of food from the author of Feast” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Chocolate wars : from Cadbury to Kraft : 200 years of sweet success and bitter rivalry / Cadbury, Deborah
“Beginning with an account of John Cadbury, who founded the first Cadbury’s coffee and chocolate shop in Birmingham in 1824, ‘Chocolate Wars’ goes on to chart the astonishing transformation of the company’s fortunes under his grandson George. But while the Cadbury dynasty is the fulcrum of the narrative, this is also the story of their Quaker rivals, the Frys and Rowntrees, and their European competitors, the Nestles, Suchards and Lindts. These rivalries drove the formation of the huge chocolate conglomorates that still straddle the corporate world today, and have first call on our collective sweet tooth.” (adapted from catalogue)

Bread & butter : history, culture, recipes / Snapes, Richard
“A celebration of bread and butter’s divine partnership, covering history, culture and recipes.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

Special bonus read:

Food isn’t medicine : challenge nutribollocks & escape the diet trap / Wolrich, Joshua
“The first NHS doctor to take a public stand against diet culture and empower you to do the same. Losing weight is not your life’s purpose. Do carbs make you fat? Could the keto diet cure mental health disorders? Are eggs as bad for you as smoking? No, no and absolutely not. It’s all what Dr Joshua Wolrich defines as ‘nutribollocks’ and he is on a mission to set the record straight. As an NHS doctor with personal experience of how damaging diets can be, he believes every one of us deserves to have a happy, healthy relationship with food and with our bodies. His message is clear- we need to fight weight stigma, call out the lies of diet culture and give ourselves permission to eat all foods. Food Isn’t Medicine wades through nutritional science (both good and bad) to demystify the common diet myths that many of us believe without questioning. If you have ever wondered whether you should stop eating sugar, try fasting, juicing or ‘alkaline water’, or struggled through diet after diet (none of which seem to work), this book will be a powerful wake-up call. Drawing on the latest research and delivered with a dose of humour, it not only liberates us from the destructive belief that weight defines health but also explains how to spot the misinformation we are bombarded with every day. Dr Joshua Wolrich will empower you to escape the diet trap and call out the bad health advice for what it really is: complete nutribollocks.” (Catalogue)

Crochet Projects to Challenge You

I don’t know about any of you other crocheters, but I’m bored with crocheting granny squares and the afghan throw of eternity (it’s nearly big enough to cover a king size bed, twice, how do I stop??)  I have a huge yarn stash, built up after last year’s lockdown so that never be without yarn in a lockdown again, and of course, a lot more time to actually crochet, but inspiration has been lacking.   Then I realised I had access to Overdrive from home, and I went hunting for eBooks and online magazines to kickstart my crochet creativity.  I thought I’d share a few that I really enjoyed with you here:

Kawaii Crochet by Melissa Bradley – super easy amigurumi patterns for 40 very cute food toys.  I hadn’t attempted amigurumi before, and Kawaii Crochet was a great primer for getting started.  I made the cutest little lemon in about half an hour at my first attempt.

 

Title details for 100 Micro Crochet Motifs by Steffi Glaves - Wait list

100 Micro Crochet Motifs by  Steffi Glaves – I cannot resist a tiny crochet and these are perfect for making into earrings.  Or perhaps add to berets and beanies to give them a pretty twist.  Again, these patterns are easy to follow and are a good way to use up the leftover bits of yarn from earlier projects.

 

Title details for Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore - Available

Yarn Bombing by Mandy Moore – want to jazz up the neighbourhood on your socially distanced walk?  Learn a little about the history of yarn bombing/graffiti, seek out some inspiration and find some patterns to create for your first yarn bomb projects.

 

Title details for My First Crochet Book by CICO Books - Wait list

My First Crochet Book by CICO Books – if you have bored kids, involve them in crochet.  This junior crochet book is written in simple language, has plenty of starter projects that both you and the kids can get into.  Crochet is excellent for young minds and hands.  It’s very calming, you can find a crochet hook that suits small hands without having to buy special junior ones, it’s inexpensive to start (a ball of acrylic yarn is the best place to start) and there’s a completed project at the end.

Title details for Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workshop by Ellen Gormley - Available

Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workshop by Ellen Gormley – Ok maybe you do want to work on an Afghan throw of eternity.  That’s the thing with Afghan rugs and throws, you can just keep going at them and watch them grow.  This book will kick you off if you’ve never made an Afghan design before and give you inspiration for some new ones.

 

Title details for How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques by Deborah Burger - Available

How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques by Deborah Burger – another book of small, stashbuster patterns, great for making patches for clothes, bags, hats, you name it.  I can see some of them as brooches too.  Lots of themes and motifs for you to work your way through.

 

Title details for Lacework for Adventurous Crocheters by Margaret Hubert - Available

Lacework for Adventurous Crocheters by Margaret Hubert – perhaps your crochet skills are a little more advanced than mine and you’d love to give some fine lacework a go.  I haven’t had a go at these yet, but I did drool over the patterns and styles on offer.  One day I hope to have the confidence to have a go at these.

 

These are just the tip of the iceberg for the books and magazines you can find on Overdrive for crochet, not to mention all of the other craft topics available.  You can find more crochet books and magazines here.

Happy stitching!

Hot and Bothered – Navigating Perimenopause for Generation X

In the media and entertainment, we’re always hearing about what’s happening with the Millennial, Boomer and now Generation Z women, but in that we seem to have lost most traces of the Heathers, Clueless Chers, Riot Grrrls and Mallrats of Generation X.  At this point in time, many Gen X women find themselves sandwiched between Zoomer kids and Boomer parents, still in the thick of the careers we fought so hard for and realising that when we tried to have it all, we realised we probably didn’t really want it all.

Let’s not forget that we’re also smack bang in mid-life right as the world is in a global pandemic.

Of course the looming reality for most Generation X women is menopause.  If we’re not already well on our way to it, it’s on the horizon in the next few years.  Unfortunately it’s still a subject that is considered taboo and is not often discussed – our mothers and grandmothers whispered about “the change” and generally swept all that was happening to them aside.  Of course the younger generation of women is definitely not interested, because who wants to think about getting older?  But there is plenty of information available through your local library, for you to go boldly forth into your future and to stimulate discussion with your peers.

Try a few of these out:

Hormone repair manual : every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40 / Briden, Lara
“The Hormone Repair Manual is a must-have guide to understanding and overcoming the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Naturopath Lara Briden, author of the international bestseller Period Repair Manual, has more than 20 years’ experience in women’s health. The Hormone Repair Manual is backed by evidence-based research and case studies and is a reassuring guide to soothing, nourishing and strengthening your body, mind and spirit during this time of change.” (adapted from catalogue)

The complete guide to the menopause : your toolkit to take control and achieve life-long health / Mukherjee, Annice
“Dr Annice Mukherjee went through the menopause at just 41 following a breast cancer diagnosis, and she is also a top UK hormone specialist with nearly 30 years of experience. In this book she combines her medical expertise and personal experience to develop an essential menopause toolkit offering balanced, practical and comprehensive advice designed for our modern world. The author has used her unique holistic system to help thousands of women look better, feel younger and enjoy an improved quality of life in the long term.” (Catalogue)

The menopause manifesto : own your health with facts and feminism / Gunter, Jen
“The only thing predictable about menopause is its unpredictability. Factor in widespread misinformation, a lack of research, and the culture of shame around women’s bodies, and it’s no wonder women are unsure what to expect during the menopause transition and beyond. Knowing what is happening, why, and what to do about it is both empowering and reassuring. Filled with practical, reassuring information, this essential guide will revolutionize how women experience menopause–including how their lives can be even better for it!” (adapted from catalogue)

Our hormones, our health : how to understand your hormones and transform your life / Esche-Belke, Susanne
“A handbook for women who want to understand their hormones and transform their lives for the better. Written by two doctors from their experience as practitioners and as women, and full of pioneering knowledge from epigenetics, stress medicine, nutritional medicine, and modern hormone replacement therapy, Our Hormones, Our Health aims to show women how to live with good health, good humour, and much happiness — no matter what their stage of life.” (adapted from catalogue) eBook version here

Perimenopause power : navigating your hormones on the journey to menopause / Hill, Maisie
“Perimenopause Power is a handbook that exudes calm positivity and makes sense of complex physiological processes in an easy-to-understand manner, helping women to understand what the hell’s going on with them and provide instruction on what can be done to improve their experience of the dreaded “change.” Maisie Hill, the celebrated author of Period Power, delves into the science of menopause in an accessible way and provides a whole slew of tips to see women through the challenge of wildly fluctuating hormones.” (adapted from catalogue) eBook version here

What fresh hell is this? : perimenopause, menopause, other indignities, and you / Corinna, Heather
“Heather Corinna tells you what can happen and what you can do to take care of yourself, all the while busting pernicious myths, offering real self-care tips – the kind that won’t break the bank or your soul – and running the gamut from hot flashes to hormone therapy. With practical, clear information and support, inclusive of those with disabilities, queer, transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people, people of colour, working class and others who have long been left out of the discussion, What Fresh Hell Is This? is the cooling pillow and empathetic best friend to help you through the fire.” (adapted from catalogue)

The M word : how to thrive in menopause / Mansberg, Ginni
“The time is ripe for a book that lifts negative connotations around the experience of peri-menopause/menopause and Dr Mansberg is perfectly placed to do just that. A practicing GP and mother who has just turned 50 herself, Ginni has written a solution-focused book for understanding, embracing and (even) enjoying this stage in a woman’s life. She outlines medical science, explaining what happens at a cellular level in the body once key hormones begin to diminish; she details symptoms and experience; then explores pros and cons of treatment options, as well as home remedies.” (adapted from catalogue) eBook version here

The new hot : navigating the menopause with attitude and style / Mathews, Meg
“When Meg Mathews hit menopause she was shocked at the lack of awareness, understanding and support shown to women – and also found the information available far too dreary. After getting her symptoms under control she became determined to help other women avoid an experience like hers. The New Hot is her no-holds-barred guide to menopause designed to entertain and empower women in equal measure. It’s full of Meg’s personal insights as well as the latest information and advice from a wide range of menopause and lifestyle experts.” (Adapted from Catalogue) eBook version here

Older and wider : a survivor’s guide to the menopause / Eclair, Jenny
“Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair’s hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny’s whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn’t just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough).” (adapted from catalogue)

Perimenopower / Wilk, Katarina
“We hear a lot these days about the menopause, but there may be up to fifteen years of hormonal changes in a woman’s body before she reaches the point where her periods stop. These years can be turbulent both emotionally and physically – with panic attacks, insomnia, acne, hot flashes, weight gain and low moods. As our hormones fluctuate from our mid-thirties, so do the needs of our bodies. With the right lifestyle and dietary changes, you can turn the perimenopause into a powerful life transition towards a stronger, healthier and happier you.” (adapted from catalogue)

Special mention, just for entertainment value…

Turns out, I’m fine / Lucy, Judith
“Judith Lucy was just Great! Sure, the last remaining member of her immediate family had died, she was menopausal, she suspected her career was in the shitter and it seemed like the world was going to hell in a handbasket – but she was about to move in with the love of her life! Everything would work out because SHE HAD A MAN. Then, in the space of twenty-four hours, her relationship came apart and so did she. A broken heart became the catalyst for a complete existential melt down. She was nearly fifty, suddenly alone and unsure about every aspect of her life. How had this happened? Should she blame one of her four parents? What part had the comedy world played and was her disastrous history with men about more than just bad taste? In her most candid and insightful book yet, Judith figures out what went wrong and then turns her attention to finding out what her life might look like if it went right. She tries everything from dating a tree to getting a portrait of her vulva done to swimming with a whale shark. Thanks to a series of revelations and a slight drowning experience, Judith slowly starts to realise that her life is still full of possibilities and despite death, heartache and a dry vagina it turns out … she’s fine.” (Catalogue)

For many more titles on the topic, click here.

And don’t forget:

Exploring True Crime

Do you love to read true crime? Kath, one of our lovely librarians, has put together this round-up of her true crime picks. Have a read and let us know your favourites in the comments!

It’s no secret that the true crime genre has exploded over the past few years, particularly thanks to a number of podcasts that have not only taken deep dives into significant crime stories, but have even managed to solve a few incredibly intense ones.  Now more than ever, there are many new true crime books to delve into if you’re a fan of the genre.

That said, the genre has been around as long as crime and books have existed, so there are plenty of good books to work your way back through if you’ve caught up with all the recent best sellers.

I’ve selected some that I’ve enjoyed over the years, many of them from my country of origin, Australia.

Murder in Mississippi / Safran, John

This is one of the best true crime books I have ever read.   John Safran, an Australian satirist and documentary maker, played a prank on a white supremacist in Mississippi as part of his TV series John Safran vs God. The footage was canned for legal reasons and he thought that was the last he’d have to do with Richard Barrett.  It came as a shock then to find out a while later that Barrett had been stabbed to death by a black man, one that he owed money to and had allegedly propositioned.  Not content with just researching the story of Barrett’s murder, Safran headed to Mississippi to interview all involved, including the killer… and managed to get himself tangled even further into the story while he was there.  What follows is a riveting exploration into what happened, why it happened and why on earth Safran found himself in the situation he had got into.  An absolute page turner!

A scandal in Bohemia / Haigh, Gideon

In the 1920s Mollie Dean was a young, independent woman, a poet and aspiring novelist who was the lover and muse of acclaimed artist Colin Colahan.  And then one night in 1930 she was brutally murdered by an unknown killer.  When police investigated, they found a tangle of bohemian lifestyles, abusive family and sexual freedom that was to shake Melbourne to the core and inspire music, literature and theatre long into the future.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil / Berendt, John (Audiobook)

A delicious, steamy melange of high society, rednecks, con artists, voodoo, antiques and a stunning black drag queen who metaphorically slays all in her path.  This New York Times bestseller was made into a film starring John Cusack and the Lady Chablis, the actual drag queen featured in the book.  This book reads like fiction, but it’s all true, and like the aforementioned Safran book, the author John Berendt manages to get himself embroiled in the story.  Another riveting story.

His bloody project : documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae, a historical thriller / Burnet, Graeme Macrae

His Bloody Project is technically fiction, but it has been created from extensive research into a true crime case and the community around it.  A fantastic historical thriller explores a triple murder in a small Scottish farming community around the time of the highland clearances.  There is no question that 17 year old Roderick Macrae committed these brutal murders, but what led him to do so? What secrets were being kept by the villagers of Culdie?  Graeme Macrae Burnet has used the historical documents of the time to piece together the story and speculate on the reasons behind this dramatic occurrence in a tiny village community.

Tamam Shud : the Somerton man mystery / Greenwood, Kerry

Written by Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman novels, this is the story of the most mysterious unsolved murder in Australian history.  In 1948 a body was found on a beach in Adelaide, and even now, it is not known who he was.  But around him, were so many bizarre details.  A tiny scrap of paper with the words “Tamum Shud” sewn into the lining of his suit.  A code written in a book of Persian poetry… the same book that the piece of paper in his suit had been torn from.  All the labels had been cut from his clothing.  Kerry Greenwood delves into this story to try to solve it after all these years, and leaves us with almost as many questions as we have answers!

The tall man / Hooper, Chloe

Chloe Hooper takes a close look at the case of Cameron Doomadgee, the Palm Island man who was found dead in a watch house cell after swearing at a white police officer, Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurly, and the long and difficult efforts to bring him to trial.  Indigenous deaths in custody have long been a contentious issue in Australia and the Palm Island case was a flashpoint in Indigenous rights.  This would have been a very complex case to research and even more difficult to write as sensitively as Chloe Hooper has. A totally engrossing read that literally made me hold my breath in parts.

In cold blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences / Capote, Truman

Let’s face it, In Cold Blood is the OG of the true crime genre as we know it today.  Truman Capote took crime reporting and turned it into literature.  Investigating the 1959 murder of the Clutter family and the men who carried out that murder, Capote himself got embroiled in the community of Holcomb, Kansas and the lives of the two murderers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.  There is an intimacy to the way that Capote writes about those involved in this case that set the tone for crime writing well into the future.  As well as a captivating tale, it’s a fantastic way to look at the way the true crime genre was born.

For more great true crime reads, click here.