All the Tears in China

Shanghai in 1935 is a twentieth century Babylon, an expatriate playground where fortunes are made and lost, where East and West collide, and the stakes include life itself.  

Into this, Rowland Sinclair arrives from Sydney to represent his brother at international wool negotiations.  A novice to global commerce, Rowland is under strict instructions to commit to nothing… but a brutal murder makes that impossible. 

As suspicion falls on him, Rowland must seek answers in a city ruled by taipans and tycoons, where politics and vice are entwined with commerce, and where the only people he can truly trust are an artist, a poet and a free-spirited sculptress.


Book Tour


Ned Kelly Awards

Crossing the Lines my strange little metafiction won the Ned Kelly Award for 2018!  I know!  I'm not sure if I entirely believe it yet. Every Australian crime writer dreams of winning the Ned someday, and I have been shortlisted before, but I am so glad it was Crossing the Lines they chose to honour.  I've copied my acceptance speech below.

Acceptance Speech

A couple of years ago, after having written six or seven crime novels, I set out to explore other genres.  The file I opened on my laptop was simply named "non crime novel".  Eventually it was published under the title Crossing the Lines.  The irony of the winning a Ned for my "non crime novel" is not, I assure you, lost on me.

Clearly all I've established by my attempted literary expedition to new worlds is that I am in my heart and soul a crime writer.  And here, tonight, in the company of the extraordinary and talent colleagues in the crime writing community, I can't imagine why anyone would want to be anything else.  

I do first want to pay tribute to my fellow shortlistees - Candice Fox, Anna George, Alan Carter, Iain Ryan and Gary Disher.  I am truly honoured to share a list with you.  I feel a little like I've stolen this award but considering that it's the Ned Kelly, perhaps that's appropriate.

To the ACWA who do the phenomenal job of administering the Ned, and the Ned Kelly judges who read the mountain of entries to choose from among them, thank you.  There is not a writer alive who does not wish to be read and the light shone by the Ned Kelly and awards like it serve to help readers find their way to our books.  In addition to everything else the Ned Kelly is a show of support and for that I am very grateful.

My publishers:  The brilliant and brave Poisoned Pen Press in the US, particularly Barbara Peters who first believed in this book.  My beloved Australian publishers, Pantera Press.  To be honest I'm still not sure if Pantera believed in this book or if they simply believed in me.  Either is wonderful and something for which I can only offer a writer's gratitude.

My friend and agent Jo Butler who championed this book from the beginning.

Finally my family and friends.

My poor husband who married a lawyer and found himself financially tied to a writer, who remains my first reader and my first editor.  My boys who advise me on how exactly to kill people.  My sister, Devini and my day who have been unfailing in their support.

Leith Henry and Angela Savage who kept me from giving up on this manuscript and Robert Gott who launched it into the world about a year ago now.

Crossing the Lines is in many ways my love letter to writing, to a writer's live with all its highs and lows, it absurdities and previleges.  This is very definitely a high and a privelege.  To everybody who took a chance on this strange little book, thank you with all of my heart.



Vale Peter Corris

One of the great highlights of my crime writing career was appearing with Peter Corris at the HNSA Festival a few years ago. He was gracious and funny and began the session by putting his flask out on the table. Vale Peter - it was an honour


Vale Bernadette Bean

Coming up for air again after the craziness of three back to back launches (Crossing the Lines, Rejacket of the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, and A Dangerous Language in August, September and October respectively), then the Holidays and writing a new book.  Suddenly it's March... 2018!

I do have a lot with which I need to update you, but I'll do that in later posts.  In this post I'd like to talk about the prolific and dedicated Australian reviewer, Bernadette Bean, of Reactions to Reading and Fair Dinkum Crime, who passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago.

Bernadette was one of the first reviewers to ever pick up a Rowly book. Back in 2010 she reviewed my debut novel, A Few Right Thinking Men.  I remember well the excitement of being reviewed for the first time by Bernadette Bean.  She said at the end of that review: "I’m chuffed to have discovered this debut work (of adult fiction though Gentill has published YA fiction) by an author whose work I can now look out for with pleasure."  Bernadette did continue to look out for my work.  She read and reviewed every single one of my novels.  It became so that I did not feel that a book was truly out in the world until Bernadette had reviewed it.

Authors and reviewers have always had an interesting relationship - one in which fear and gratitude feature in equal measure (on the part of authors anyway).  We would not be published writers if we did not care, if we did not want readers to connect with our work.  Reviewers introduce out books to the world... without them our voices would be lost in the general din.  A bad review can be shattering but when a reviewer truly understands your book, it is encouraging, and gratifying, and just plain wonderful.   But more than that, a thoughful, insightful review can guide other readers on how to read your book - it can point out facets and ideas that they might otherwise have missed.  It can help your book find a readership in a world crowded with stories.  Bernadette wrote those kinds of reviews.

Of course Bernadette was also fearlessly honest when she came across books, subjects or characters she did not like.  But those reviews were reasoned and fair and often linked to reviews which expressed the opposite view.  Like everyone, she had her preferences but she was open to her mind being changed.  

From Bernadette's review of A Decline in Prophets : "I really ought not to have enjoyed this book. Its hero, Rowly Sinclair, is the kind of world-wandering dilettante living off inherited wealth instead of the product of his own toil that should offend my lefty sensibilities. But, in what might be evidence that my principles are only skin deep, I like Rowly very much and loved the book too."

Almost every Australian crime writer has been reviewed and championed by Bernardette at some point. Her reviews were eloquent and witty - the kind that inspire you to write harder still. She sought out new writers and supported us out of obscurity. 

Over the last seven years,  I have, with every release, waited anxiously for her review, her nod, which I never took for granted. In many ways Bernardette was my mythical ideal reader. She knew crime fiction, but she also truly "got" my work. Her published reviews of the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries were beautifully stated and kind, but it is the personal messages she'd send me after reading my work that I treasure most as a writer. In her, Rowly had a friend, and though we never met, I'd like to think I did too. Vale Bernardette.

My fellow writer, Margot Kinberg, had posted a very moving tribute to Bernadette here.