This three-volume series represents a comprehensive treatment of the beetles of Australia, a relatively under-studied fauna that includes many unusual and unique lineages found nowhere else on Earth. Volume 1 contains keys to all 117 beetle families found in Australia, and includes over 1100 illustrations of adults, larvae and anatomical structures. This volume is based in part on Lawrence & Britton’s out-of-print Australian Beetles, but is fully updated and expanded. The biology and morphology for all major beetle lineages is described and illustrated, along with anatomical terms which clarify the characters and terminology used in the keys; few other resources for beetle identification include such a detailed morphological background. A chapter on the fossil record is also included, and family sections provide full descriptions of adults and larvae, including the world distribution of each family. The revised identification keys (currently recognised as one of the most valuable keys worldwide) will aid quarantine agents, biologists and students in identifying members of the most species-rich order of animals.
With hints of Jasper Fforde (and a passing nod to Enid Blyton and her contemporaries), The Secret Five and the Stunt Nun Legacy is a comic novel, a surreal parody of children’s adventure stories aimed at adult readers in which, unnervingly, the time-travelling characters are aware of their place in the narrative, and the author treats them with curmudgeonly disdain. The plot, creaky and with more holes than a Swiss cheese, is the vehicle for the quirky and unusual humour which is packed onto every page. Our young-adult heroes – Betty, Daniel, Ricky, Amy and their dog Whatshisname – think that they live life on the edge, dominated by secret passwords and meetings. They have a tetchy relationship with Whatshisname, who might just be cleverer than they think; they also have a tetchy relationship with the author, who definitely isn’t. The characters sometimes become uncontrollable – Ricky walks out of the book at one stage and, at another critical point, Daniel demands that his character should wear spectacles. A feeble attempt by the author to kill off his characters fails miserably. This book for adults is crammed with humour, occasionally a little cheeky, never offensive, but always unashamedly silly.