Mrs Mort's Madness: The True Story of a Sydney Scandal

Xoum Publishing
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Four days before Christmas in 1920, Dorothy Mort shot her lover dead in cold blood. The tragic end to her affair with dashing young doctor, cricket star and War hero, Dr Claude Tozer, scandalised Sydney. Dorothy’s respectable husband was devastated.

Following a trial that mesmerised the public and sent the media into a frenzy, the troubled North Shore mother of two and budding actress was declared ‘not guilty on the ground of insanity’.

After nine years in Long Bay Gaol, Dorothy was released and returned to live quietly with her husband . . . But was she really mad, or bad, or neither? And what was the secret that her husband kept for the rest of his life?

In an absorbing blend of investigative non-fiction and biography, Suzanne Falkiner delves into the case that has intrigued Sydney for almost 100 years.

‘Suzanne Falkiner’s Mrs Mort’s Madness is not a cricket book: it is a carefully assembled but highly readable account of a sensational crime.  … Nearly a century after it transfixed Sydney, Suzanne has at last rounded the story out.’ – Gideon Haigh 

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About the author

Suzanne Falkiner is a Sydney writer. The author of twelve previous books of fiction and non-fiction, her most recent titles include the biographies Joan in India, 2008, and The Imago: E. L. Grant Watson & Australia, 2011. She has been shortlisted in the Vogel Award, the Kibble Award, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, and the NSW History Awards. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Xoum Publishing
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Published on
Dec 1, 2014
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781922057907
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Women
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The flickering, faded footage shows the ruler of Palanpur’s summer house. On a terrace overlooking the lake, Joan tilts her head and turns slightly, with unconscious grace. She smiles enigmatically. It appears to be a scene of great happiness. But who can tell?

In 1939, young Joan Falkiner’s spirited flight from South Yarra to princely India and her marriage to the Muslim ruler of a small state in Gujarat sent shockwaves through Melbourne society. News of their union quickly spread throughout the Raj and – as the kingdoms were about to disappear forever in the maelstrom of Indian Independence – went as high as the British throne.

How did it all come about? Through conversations in Melbourne, Mumbai and the South of France, research in the India Office Library in London, and her own observations while travelling in modern India, Suzanne Falkiner traces the course of a most unusual love story.

Praise for Joan in India

‘The typical fairytale of marrying a prince comes to life in this biography of an Australian girl who leaves her family … to marry a Muslim ruler … in India … Through part travelogue, Falkiner traces the feelings of Joan upon arriving … to wed a man 36 years her senior. Falkiner’s descriptions … are insightful and conjure up the very essence of being on the streets of India. The documentation of the Independence period … is brilliant and the reader gets a real grasp of how things were at the time.’ FOUR STARS **** – BOOKSELLER + PUBLISHER MAGAZINE

‘An impressive writerly achievement. One of the marvellous things about the book is the deft characterisation of the interviewees — various Falkiner matrons and matriarchs among them – as well as the wryly humorous self-dramatisation of herself as the biographical detective, quietly displaying the author’s skills as novelist and journalist.’ – Nicholas Jose

‘Deftly combining the skills of an archaeologist with those of a historian, Falkiner goes from one corner of the world to another, to excavate the love story of Joan and the Nawab of Palanpur. The breadth is aptly captured in the titles of the different parts comprising the book: Bombay, Palanpur, London, The South of France … Thus history, romance, and travelogue blend, to add a rich, hard-to-define flavour to the narrative, making it difficult for the reader to lay the book aside until finished.’ – Md Rezaul Haque, Transnational Literature, Vol 5, Issue 1, Flinders University, Adelaide

‘In her childhood, Suzanne Falkiner heard tales of a cousin called Joan who married a prince from India. As an adult, she decided to find ‘what in actuality might lie in the gap between the happy-ever-after and the faraway kingdom and the real life as it was lived out’  … As an historian of India, I can say that Falkiner has uncovered a great deal of information that has never been published, and is not generally known even by scholars working in the field.’ – John McLeod, University of Louisville

‘… both a fascinating narrative of travels around Australia and to India, Britain and France in search of people who knew Joan … and an intimate biography … Suzanne Falkiner was remarkably tenacious in tracking down individuals on three continents who did not provide many clues as to their whereabouts. She embodies the historian as detective who … is not deterred by difficult travelling conditions, unpleasant weather, recalcitrant witnesses or dead ends … Her work is an impressive contribution to the ongoing examination of the role of memory in the writing of the histories of individuals and events.’ – Barbara N. Ramusack, University of Cincinatti

‘While writing about her cousin, Falkiner makes the last few years of the Raj come alive and reverberate. Joan in India is one of those rare books you chance upon that make you glad someone wrote them.’ – Swati Daftuar, The Hindu Times

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   -  NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 

"Disturbing and riveting...It will sear your soul." —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

SHELF AWARENESS'S BEST BOOK OF 2017

Named a best book of the year by Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR's Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "On Point," Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub's "Ultimate Best Books," Library Journal, Paste, Kirkus, Slate.com and Book Browse

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
       
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
      Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
      In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. 
      In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
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