January 25th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Wildfires: Lessons from the past not yet learnt

EDITORIAL America 'resets' foreign policy on China and Russia

CANBERRA OBSERVED After the fires, we still need an economy and to power it

GENDER POLITICS In trans Newspeak, parental consent is a 'hurdle'

REFLECTION Conjugal honour: Love of husband and wife joined together in pure intimacy

LIFE ISSUES Pro-lifers punished for exposing baby harvesting

LAW AND SOCIETY Cardinal Pell and the Appeal Court judges

LITERATURE AND SOCIETY The poetry of Distributism

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY Botany Bay: Always more than a dumping ground

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Finally getting Brexit done

HUMOUR The MacStuttles probe

MUSIC From retch to wretched

CINEMA Three times the bravura: 1917, The Gentlemen, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon

BOOK REVIEW The contradictions of the dominant ideology

BOOK REVIEW Novel celebrates inventor of literary fairytales

POETRY

LETTERS

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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