In Sydney 1828, all is not well. The young British colonial settlement is shaken by a daring bank robbery and a spate of murders. At the Governor’s command, Nicodemus Dunne – a disgraced London thief who is now the Running Patterer, a news-hawker roaming the streets of Sydney – sets out to discover the truth.
The evidence points – amazingly – to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte! Could the old enemy of the British have escaped death and come to the colony, where he is preparing to seek his revenge? But who is aiding this phantom? And how can he be stopped? Why are Dunne’s closest friends involved? Is an exotic American singer stealing more than hearts? Spine tingling, blackly humorous and a real page turner, The Ghost of Waterloo will keep you guessing right to its dramatic ending.
Veteran Sydney journalist Robin Adair has had a colourful career at the The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, the Australian Financial Review and the ABC. For many years he reflected on the lighter side of life in a humorous column for the Australian Women’s Weekly. He has been a lifelong student of early colonial history, especially police, pubs, crime and punishment. One of his ancestors was an early Sydney police superintendent; he believes another was a London judge who sent many convicts to Australia. His first novel, Death and the Running Patterer, won the inaugural Penguin’s Most Wanted competition for new Australian crime fiction and was short-listed in the Best First Fiction category of the 2010 Ned Kelly Awards. His second novel is The Ghost of Waterloo.
The Ghost of Waterloo has a large cast of colorful characters and he does the readers a service by listing them, and their roles in his drama, at the beginning of the book. They include Governor Ralph Darling (forget the French and the Irish – the coffee here is even more revolting); The Reverend Samuel Marsden (the unforgiving Flogging Parson, throwing his weight around as usual); and Obadiah Dawks (garrulous journalist whose last scoop is deadly).
The Ghost of Waterloo, pub by Penguin Books, $A29.95