Cobargo here we come!
September 16, 2016 — 0:23

Author: Dorothy Johnston  Category: crime fiction crime series fiction writing  Comments: 4



On October 7, eight female crime and mystery writers will converge on Cobargo, just inland from Bermagui on the NSW coast, to take part in their inaugural crime convention.

The writers are an eclectic mix, from a gynaecologist living in far north Queensland, Caroline de Costa, to a former member of the RAAF, who also has a BA in medieval history, Ilsa Evans, to a writer of historical crime (Sydney/1930s), Sulari Gentill, to yours truly, author of a Canberra-based quartet, now embarked on a sea-change mystery series.



One of the festival organisers, in a welcoming email, said that they were washing the streets of Cobargo in honour of our arrival. Thank you, Louise!

While this is an attractive idea, I wonder if it really fits a collection of crime writers, who might be more comfortable with dirty streets, even blood-stained ones?

Jennifer Rowe once referred to crime writers as ‘good housekeepers’, by which she meant that we like to tidy things up, which has an element of truth in it, at least for some exponents of the genre. But even PD James said that order is never really re-established at the end of her novels.

My approach to clean streets is that I like to dig beneath them – hardly surprising since I lived in Canberra for 30 years and turned to mysteries as a way of writing about that city.

Now what exercises my imagination is what might lie beneath the surface of an idyllic coastal town….





  • I’m thinking of a novel plot in which eight crime writers vie to commit the most elegant and undetectable murder in a little country town where they have gone for a conference. it would leave Inspector Barnaby’s Midsomer in the shade.

    September 16, 2016 — 22:45
  • admin

    Exactly! I have been to gatherings of crime writers where we drew straws as to who got to use the setting in their next plot! Of course some of us are more adept at the ‘country house’ style murder than others. But would we be falling over dead bodies as frequently as Inspector Barnaby?

    September 16, 2016 — 23:03
    • I once saw a rv of Midsomer Murders that mentioned “the appalling slaughter that waits on the gentlemanly ministrations of Inspector Barnaby”.

      September 19, 2016 — 21:41
  • admin

    ‘Appalling slaughter’ is right! I once saw an interview with the actor who used to play Inspector Barnaby, (not the current one), where he talked about trying to reduce the number of murders per episode. Howls of protest ensued.

    September 19, 2016 — 22:04
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *