August 24th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Biological and transgender worldviews are mutually exclusive

CANBERRA OBSERVED Can you have too much of a renewables thing?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH Professor Augusto Zimmermann addresses NCC WA on freedoms

NSW ABORTION BILL Clear and present danger to women's health

RURAL AFFAIRS Land-clearing laws render productive land useless and worthless

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Why an indigenous referendum is misconceived

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY The post-liberal way: Make good use of the time in the wilderness

ASIAN AFFAIRS Hong Kong defies its obtrusive overlord

SPECIAL FILM REVIEW Danger Close: Australia's fiercest battle of the Vietnam War

HUMOUR Rage against the baked bean

MUSIC Riff wrap: The thing that makes it go 'pop'

CLASSIC CINEMA Dr Strangelove: Helpless fear turned to laughter

BOOK REVIEW The epic awfulness of Mao and his 'isms'

BOOK REVIEW From slave to son of the Church

LETTERS

POETRY

ZEG'S PLACE

Books promotion page

THE PECULIAR CASE OF THE ELECTRIC CONSTABLE:
A True Tale of Passion, Poison and Pursuit

Carol Baxter

$19.95


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(London: Oneworld Publications, 2014)
Paperback: 416 pages
ISBN: 9781780744032
Price: AUD$19.95

 

Book description

The electrifying story of a criminal Quaker, a poisoned mistress, and the dawn of the information age in Victorian England. 

“A murder has just been committed ...” said the now historic message repeated in books and articles all over the world. 

When Quaker forger John Tawell disembarked in Sydney in 1815, none could have imagined that he would become the most historically “influential” — albeit unwittingly — of Australia’s 160,000 convict transportees. Tawell established Australia’s first retail pharmacy and built the first Quaker meeting house in New South Wales. He became a rich convict nabob like his colleague Samuel Terry, the Botany Bay Rothschild. However, unlike Terry, he eventually decided to take his fortune home to England.

Shunned by the Quakers and ridiculed by the broader community, he was a deeply troubled man when he caught the 7:42pm train from Slough station near Windsor Castle on New Year’s Day, 1845, leaving a dying woman sprawled on a nearby cottage floor. Had he murdered her or hadn’t he?

Between Slough and London’s Paddington railway station ran the only electric telegraph operation in the entire world that was capable of sending a random message at a moment’s notice. “A murder has just been committed,” began the message that pursued Tawell. 

The consequences were extraordinary. Tawell’s trial was a sensation; the struggling electric telegraph industry became a phenomenal success; the electricity industry was launched; and the communications revolution began.

 

About the author

Carol Baxter is a prize-winning author of three popular histories, all with a criminal bent, including Captain Thunderbolt and His Lady, which have been published to critical acclaim. She lives in Sydney.

 

Endorsements

“…totally irresistible” — The Independent (UK). 

“… as lively and readable as a crime novel” — The Times (London).

“… gripping” — Publishers Weekly

“a fascinating history, mystery, and portrait of a complex, contradictory man” — Daily Mail (London).


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