Historical Australian crime and mystery: Corella Press cover reveal and giveaway
In these heady days of seemingly bottomless internet archives, it can be easy to think that it’s possible to find anything online. But there are certain treasures we may not even realise we have lost, and that’s where initiatives like the University of Queensland’s Corella Press come in.
Corella Press is committed to unearthing forgotten gems from Australia’s literary past, with a particular focus on mystery and crime writing of the 19th century. Next week sees the launch of the first two collectable volumes in the Corella collection, and I’m delighted to join in the unveiling of the cover designs for these two republished works.
Bridget’s Locket and Other Mysteries is the first book in the collection, a triptych incorporating a novella and two pieces of short fiction by Mary Helena Fortune, who wrote under the pseudonym Waif Wander. The novella, Bridget’s Locket, ‘tells the story of a migrant dressmaker’s search for justice when her travelling companion meets a terrible fate,’ and is accompanied by two shorter crime pieces delving into murder, bigamy, love, and lawbreaking, set amongst the backdrops of 19th century Melbourne and the Australian goldfields.
The Millwood Mystery is the second book in the new collection, and features a family tragedy written by Jeannie Lockett. It tells the story of the death of Barbara Neill, and how the mystery surrounding her death impacts the community, leading to suspicion, intrigue, and destruction.
The two gorgeous cover illustrations you see here have been created by Brisbane illustrator, Kathleen Jennings, whose work celebrates intricacy, beauty, and whimsy. Jennings built her designs using paper cut silhouettes, and once all four books in the series will be launched, the four cover illustrations will combine to form a single picture pointing to Australia’s historical crime and mystery sensibility.
If you’re loving the crisp beauty of Jennings’ designs or are keen to start reading these rediscovered works of literature before next week’s launch at Avid Reader, then I’m delighted to let you know I’ve partnered with Corella Press for a giveaway. First prize is a beautiful silhouette pendant, second prize an ebook edition of Bridget’s Locket and Other Mysteries, and third prize an ebook of The Millwood Mystery. Participate using the rafflecopter form here. Good luck!
The beautiful print editions shown below will be available to purchase via the Corella Press website from August 30.