An intimate portrait of Justice Peter Mahon, who headed the Erebus plane crash inquiry, written by his son.
Described often as ‘a man for all seasons’, Justice Peter Mahon is perhaps best remembered for his role in the Erebus Inquiry: an inquiry into the worst air disaster in New Zealand’s history. In My Father’s Shadow, his eldest son, artist Sam Mahon, draws a composite portrait of Peter: a rational, moral, astute and complex character, but a father whom the author hardly knew.
In poignant lyrical prose, an expansive story emerges, operatic in scope, of Peter Mahon’s life – through his war years and the Senio offensive, his distinguished legal career, to the insult keenly felt be a proud man when the Court of Appeal questioned his immortal line ‘an orchestrated litany of lies’ – as soldier, lawyer, judge, naturalist, father, colleague, husband. He was at the time of his death ‘one of the ten most admired New Zealanders’.
Artfully woven throughout, the memoir exposes the dynamic and the ongoing legacy between these two strong personalities – the rebellious artist-in the- making, and his tolerant, distant and revered father. Written with a spirited clarity, startling honesty, and humour, My Father’s Shadow is a captivating and extraordinary New Zealand story.