The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender

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Allen & Unwin, May 1, 1998 - Fiction - 176 pages
4 Reviews
Mark Bannister, writing 'the bestseller of the century' is found dead at his computer - the victim of a murder so perfect that Claudia Valentine smells a rat... and wants it caught.

The chase leads deep into the murky underworld of Sydney - a world where bright, tough Claudia must play a deadly high-tech game of cat and rat with the menacing overlord of the city's cancerous network of crime and corruption.

Witty, wryly humorous and fast-paced, The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender is a mystery with a twist, which brilliantly exposes the seamy action below the surface of the city's glittering facade.

'Earns Day a place up there in the first league of female crime writers.' - Time Out

'Sam Spade in a frock... it's almost more than flesh and blood can bear! ...Claudia Valentine is smart, sassy and sexy, even when she's up to her eyeballs in mystery and intrigue.' - Christine Hogan

'A racy, rollercoaster hunt through Sydney.' - Melbourne Times

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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Absolute shit. Had to read this for class and it took ages to finish because it was like a chore to read it. If Marele Day can somehow publish this and call it a 'book' then it looks like i'm gonna be an author.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

We had to study this for english. Absolute crap 1/5 would not read again. A song of ice and fire is the series I was reading beforehand, it makes marele day's writing look like that of a 5 year old's.


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Popular passages

Page 47 - Claudia says that once: in a movie, I heard California described as a beautiful dancing lady, high on heroin, enchanting like the drug, who doesn't know she's dying till you show her the marks. Sydney was like that: not so high, not so dying, only sick sometimes . . . She'd been a very sickly child, poxy and plagueridden. But she'd grown strong, like a mushroom on a dung heap.
Page 119 - I'm tired and I wanna go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago. And it's gone right through my head.
Page 47 - Officially it was autumn but the summer lingered on. Not that Sydney took a blind bit of notice of the seasons. Variable, she blew hot and cold like a moody child. Once, in a movie, I heard California described as a beautiful dancing lady, high on heroin, enchanting like the drug, who doesn't know she's dying till you show her the marks.
Page 1 - Someone was pounding my brain like a two year old who's just discovered a hammer. In between blows I managed to prise open the eyes. Close by the bed was a bottle of Jack Daniels: empty. And an ash tray: full. Clothes were strewn all over the place and through the french doors roared the sights and sounds of Sydney. As I got out of bed I...
Page 36 - You don't mind me calling you by your first name do you, dear?
Page 124 - There was silence on the other end of the line. I could tell Carol didn't like it but finally she agreed to see me. 'Great! Would you like to tell them?
Page 56 - I don't know why I did it. I didn't even think about it, I just did it!
Page 149 - I want to talk to you.' She didn't want to talk to me, a jagged edge to her voice now, the Sally I knew and didn't love so well. 'You talk to me or you talk to the cops. Take your pick.
Page 77 - There was a knock on the door and before I could answer it opened. 'Thought this might help,' said Steve, handing me a glass of champagne.
Page 54 - But someone else did: the door opened as far as the chain would allow and I heard the high pitched voice of Sally. 'Who is it?

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About the author (1998)

Marele Day grew up in Sydney and graduated from Sydney University with BA (Hons). Her work experience ranges from fruit picking to academic teaching and she has travelled extensively, taking up temporary residence in Italy, France and Ireland.

The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender (1988) was Marele Day's first thriller, followed by The Case of the Chinese Boxes (1990), The Last Tango of Delores Delgado (1992) which won the 1993 Shamus Crime Fiction Award, and The Disappearances of Madalena Grimaldi (1994). In 1996, Day was the general editor of and contributor to How to Write Crime. And in 1997, Day published her bestselling literary novel, Lambs of God, to acclaim in Australia and overseas.

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