The Australian Women's Weekly - - Christmas Baking -

THE OTHER WIFE by Michael Robotham, Ha­chette

Robotham’s un­rav­el­ling of the life of a psy­chol­o­gist, Pro­fes­sor Joe O’Lough­lin, lurches faster than an un­der­ground train. Di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s 13 years ear­lier, his late wife Ju­lianne died of sur­gi­cal com­pli­ca­tions, and he “en­dures” for the sake of his daugh­ters. Now his sur­geon father Wil­liam is in an in­duced coma, af­ter cat­a­strophic head in­juries; his wife is at his bed­side. Joe thought his father lived with his mother, Mary, but at his bed­side is other wife Olivia. A cou­ple for 20 years, they have raised an­other child to­gether. The at­tack hap­pened at their Lon­don home. Joe looks in­cred­u­lously at the pink sweaters and jeans in his father’s wardrobe; Vi­a­gra on the bed­side ta­ble. Robotham’s flair makes O’Lough­lin’s fi­nal bow in­trigu­ing read­ing.

THE HONOURABLE THIEF by Meaghan Wil­son Anas­ta­sios, Pan Macmil­lan,

Turkey, 1955: a dis­cred­ited US ar­chae­ol­o­gist whose knack for plac­ing trench marks in the sand has un­cov­ered a layer-cake of hu­man his­tory, an in­com­pa­ra­ble Ital­ian ar­ti­san and an Is­tan­bul gallery owner with a lais­sez-faire at­ti­tude flog fake an­tiq­ui­ties. We join Bene­dict Hitchens, Raphael Don­azetti and Il­han As­lan as Charles and Mar­i­lyn Van Burns from Los An­ge­les fall for their lu­cra­tive clown­ing. The movie mogul wants a gen­uine an­tiq­uity; the sort that is not al­lowed to leave the coun­try. As­lan is happy to show him his per­sonal col­lec­tion, but they are not for sale. On cue, en­ter Hitchens, ac­cus­ing As­lan of sell­ing Turkey’s trea­sures! Re­sult: fleeced philis­tine tourist hands over cash for a worth­less fig­urine.

THE NOWHERE CHILD by Chris­tian White, Af­firm

A clev­erly crafted cold case thriller in which the life of a 30-year-old Mel­bourne teacher is turned up­side down.

Kim Leamy tells younger half-sis­ter Amy of a phone call from a

James Finn, say­ing he’s sure she’s Sammy Went, who was ab­ducted as a two-year-old from a house in Amer­ica in

1990. Kim’s mother died two years ear­lier and all she said of her dad was that “he was not very nice”. When Kim meets up with Finn, he takes her DNA from a soda, find­ing a sib­ling match – he is her brother Stu. White fo­cuses on a feral cast of char­ac­ters in Ken­tucky. But the bea­con of hope is in the re­ally shiny peo­ple – such as Kim’s step­dad, Dean. Cast­ing a dark shadow – rat­tlesnake-rid­den cult Church of the Light Within, where “fundie” mum Molly wor­ships and ex­or­cisms are rife.

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