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Book clubs  •  5 March 2019


The Ink Stain book club notes

Bring Tom and Meg Keneally’s unlikely sleuths into your book club fold.

‘Ticket-of-leave gentleman’ Hugh Monsarrat’s knack for solving complex mysteries has allowed him to leave his convict past behind. True to form, in the fourth book in Tom and Meg Keneally’s Monsarrat series, he and his trusted housekeeper, fellow problem solver and tea-making maestro Mrs Mulrooney, have a tangle of a case to unravel. Set your book-club buddies the challenge of sipping tea while sifting through the suspects along with this unlikely detective duo. Here are some talking points to see who was paying attention.

Discussion points and questions:

  • One of the driving forces behind Tom and Meg exploring this particular story of colonial Sydney is the reduction of media sources available to us today. How vital to a functioning civil society do you believe it is to have various news sources readily available to citizens?
  • Do you believe there ever was a time of truly independent news, or have we always lived with biased or ‘fake’ news?
  • Australia is supposedly a class-less society. What do you think of this statement? Did social rankings come with European settlement?
  • In what ways does reading Australian historical fiction encourage you to investigate the history of this country further?
  • Why would you choose to read historical fiction?
  • There remains plenty of evidence of ticket-of-leave and convict-built businesses and infrastructure today. Do you believe that once a prisoner has served their sentence they should be admitted full re-integration into civil society?
  • Who is the sidekick in this dynamic duo, Mrs Mulrooney, or Monsarrat?
  • Where do you think Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney should head for their next adventure?

The Ink Stain Tom Keneally, Meg Keneally

Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are sent to Sydney to investigate corruption that may go right to the top – to the office of the governor - and threaten the colony's fundamental rights to freedom of speech.

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