December 15th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The Christ child: a life lived for the whole world

WATER RESOURCES Murray-Darling management delivers the worst of both worlds

CANBERRA OBSERVED Libs fish around for explanations

ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwanese agree to stick with nuclear power

EDUCATION In support of NAPLAN

VICTORIAN ELECTION Coalition collapse

ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY Mondragon Corporation: humanity at work

BREXIT December 12: D-Day for Britain's EU vote

EUTHANASIA WA Government ignores objections and lessons

TAIWAN Referendum stems homosexual tide

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Free trade and the WTO in the Trump era

MUSIC Teacher teachers: The jarring note in music courses

CLASSIC CINEMA The Adventures of Robin Hood: The one and only

BOOK REVIEW A triumph of determination

BOOK REVIEW An escape from futility and addiction

POETRY

LETTERS

HIGHER EDUCATION Massification: it's the name of the game

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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