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An unsolved murder takes one of Australia’s foremost writers of non-fiction into the 1930s Bohemian demi-monde, exploring the fate of a talented young woman trying to make her way in that artistic, sexualised, ‘liberated’ world.

As enigmatic in life as in death, Mollie Dean was a woman determined to transcend. Creatively ambitious and sexually precocious, at twenty-five she was a poet, aspiring novelist and muse on the peripheries of Melbourne’s bohemian salons – until one night in 1930 she wasbrutally slain by an unknown killer in a laneway while walking home.

Her family was implicated. Those in her circle, including her acclaimed artist lover Colin Colahan, were shamed. Her memory was anxiously suppressed. Yet the mystery of her death rendered more mysterious her life and Mollie’s story lingered, incorporated into memoir, literature, television, theatre and song, most notably in George Johnston’s classic My Brother Jack.

In A Scandal in Bohemia, Gideon Haigh explodes the true crime genre with a murder story about life as well as death. Armed with only a single photograph and echoes of Mollie’s voice, he has reassembled the precarious life of a talented woman without a room of her own – a true outsider, excluded by the very world that celebrated her in its art. In this work of restorative justice, Mollie Dean emerges as a tenacious, charismatic, independent woman for whom society had no place, and whom everybody tried to forget – but nobody could.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780143789574

    April 2, 2018

    Hamish Hamilton

    RRP $32.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781760144166

    March 28, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

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Also by Gideon Haigh

Mystery Spinner: Text Classics
Stroke of Genius
Certain Admissions: A Beach, a Body and a Lifetime of Secrets
Ashes to Ashes
Uncertain Corridors: Writings on modern cricket
End of the Road?: Penguin Special
On Warne
The Deserted Newsroom: Penguin Special
The Office
Spheres Of Influence
The Vincibles
The Ashes 2009
Inside Out
The Racket
Asbestos House
The Uncyclopedia
Bad Company: The Cult of the CEO: Quarterly Essay 10

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Green Is The New Black
The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay
Mindhunter
Pablo Escobar
Unmaking a Murder
Red Notice
Mr Nice
Undercover
The Monster of Florence
Breaking Vegas
Good Cop, Bad War
The Shepherd's Bush Murders
Lethal Force
Remembering Anita Cobby
Nemesis
The Dirty Game
In Pursuit of the Truth
One of the Family
The Secret Train Robber
Hope