"Obviously you know nothing of the homicidal instincts sometimes aroused in a mother by her children. After a particularly exasperating day, it is a relief to murder a few characters in your book instead."
I just read this in a Sun-Herald book review and I had to laugh. I'd written a very similar comment a few blogs ago (see: Writing With Kids is Murder, March, 2014) and I can certainly empathise.
Our long-lost AgathaJune Wright (pictured above) is the (now) little-known author of six crime novels set in Melbourne's 1940s, the era in which she was writing. Once a telephonist, she turned her hand to writing when she became a housewife and only gave it up when her husband took ill and she needed to start earning regular income.
Still, she had a degree of popularity, apparently, and was only forgotten over time because, as one recent interviewer, Lucy Sussex, says: "Australia is a very sexist country and we tend to forget women's achievments ... There's always been a tradition of good women's writing but we privilege males. This is a country that's still coming to terms with women's writing, just as it was in her time."
My, how things have changed. Not.
Wright's books are being resurrected by a US publisher (of course!), called Verse Chorus Press. The first is titled Murder in the Telephone Exchange and its protagonist is a fiery telephonist who lives in a South Yarra boarding house. The last three have, of all things, a nun-detective! (I wonder if Amazon have a category to fit that one?!)
I can't wait to get hold of them, if only to see how a woman with six kids (including one with a severe intellectual disability), writing in a time when you still had to get up at dawn and light the copper (whatever the hell that is), managed it!
I won't complain about my lot, quite so much again. (And damn, there go all my excuses.)
Happy reading everyone.