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A recap of Tom and Meg Keneally’s Monsarrat stories to date.

‘Gentleman convict’ to ‘ticket-of-leave gentleman’, lucky for Hugh Monsarrat his interrogative mind and nose for justice have allowed him to break away from the shadows of a questionable past. But any reader of Tom and Meg Keneally’s Monsarrat books will soon realise the real brains behind the operation are in the possession of strong-willed housekeeper and tea-making genius Hannah Mulrooney. From the penal colonies of Port Macquarie to the sprawl of western Sydney and a tiny island off Tasmania, here we chart the adventures of this unlikely, accidental investigative duo.

 

The Soldier’s Curse (2016)

As the trusted clerk of the Port Macquarie penal settlement’s commandant, gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat is entitled to certain advantages. None less than the outstanding cups of tea made by housekeeper and companion Hannah Mulrooney. But when the commandant’s wife falls ill and dies under mysterious circumstances, Mulrooney is arrested for murder. Monsarrat has another theory. And he’s racing the clock to expose the real killer and save his friend from the gallows.
 

The Unmourned (2017)

Now a ticket-of-leave gentleman, Monsarrat has left the penal settlement at Port Macquarie and taken up residence in Parramatta, along with his ever-loyal housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney. As the unofficial criminal adviser to the governor’s secretary, Monsarrat is charged with uncovering the truth behind the murder of the predatory superintendent of the Parramatta Female Factory. Inmate Grace O’Leary is the prime suspect. But in the factory, Robert Church was a universally despised figure. The question is: who would go as far as killing him?
 

The Power Game (2018)

When the skipper of the cutter that carries all communications between Tasmania and Maria Island is brutally murdered, the blame is pointed at Irish political prisoner Thomas Power. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are enlisted to neatly tie up the crime. But they soon realise there are more loose ends than expected, and many others with motive to shut the skipper up. Could the accusation at the feet of Power be an all-too-convenient ploy to silence this charismatic revolutionary for good?

 

The Ink Stain (2019)

While awaiting trial for criminal libel, Sydney Chronicle editor Henry Hallward boasts of a story that will destroy several powerful people. But before he can finish it he is killed, and Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are sent to investigate. There are many who had reason to wish Hallward dead. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney must sift through the suspects, unravel hidden agendas and navigate shifting loyalties, aware that at any moment they could be dumped from the case. Then a young boy is kidnapped, and it becomes clear freedom of speech may not be the only casualty.

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