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About the Book
Homicide on Hydra: George Johnston’s Crime Novels is about the ‘forgotten’ five crime novels written by the Australian novelist George Johnston (perhaps not Australia’s Hemingway but an author held in very high regard nevertheless), which he wrote under the pseudonym ‘Shane Martin,’ while living on the island of Hydra in Greece between 1957 and 1962. While the books are all out-of-print, they are well-written and entertaining crime novels which, surprisingly, are almost as autobiographical as Johnston’s greatest book, My Brother Jack.
In 1951, the acclaimed two-time Miles-Franklin-Prize-winning Australian author George Johnston (1912-1970), together with his wife, the Australian author Charmian Clift (1923-1969), their son, Martin (1947-1990), and their daughter, Shane (1949-1973) moved from Australia to England; then, in 1954, they moved to Greece. They lived on Kalymnos for about a year before settling on Hydra, where the Johnstons’ third child, Jason was born in 1956. They returned to Australia in 1964. Johnston wrote many books while living on Hydra, including five crime novels under the pseudonym Shane Martin, featuring the diminutive, sixty-something, American archaeologist and amateur sleuth, Professor Ronald Challis who lives in England and does his fieldwork in Greece; as well as Johnston’s break-through autobiographical novel, My Brother Jack (1964), which many argue is ‘the great Australian novel’ — at least of the second half of the twentieth century.
Johnston’s Professor Challis series of books consist of Twelve Girls in the Garden (1957), The Saracen Shadow (1957), The Man Made of Tin (1958), The Myth is Murder (1959, titled The Third Statue in the USA), and A Wake for Mourning (1962, titled Mourners’ Voyage in the USA). As Australian mid-twentieth century crime fiction goes, Johnston’s seven crime novels are very good and certainly deserve an audience. However, like much of what he wrote prior to the publication of My Brother Jack, they have been largely ‘forgotten.’ Therefore, Homicide in Hydra: George Johnston’s Crime Novels examines the Professor Challis series in depth for the first time.
How to Buy the Book
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