When Celia Inverarity, aged 17, is found brutally murdered in a secluded West Auckland park one Sunday afternoon, Paul Prior, her English teacher and mentor, is suspected of being her murderer. Celia's death and the violence which follows send Prior back to examine the past - a past that is as secret as his father's den in the old poison shed. Eventually the murderer is exposed, but not before a family has been split apart and old wounds revealed.
As she watches her brother losing the battle with his memories, Rowan wonders how long she can keep her own past at bay. The old family home in Access Road, where Lionel, Roly and Rowan grew up, is crumbling away - but after more than fifty years Lionel and Roly are back. Rowan too, otherwise safe in her 'upper crusty' suburb, is drawn more and more strongly 'out west'. The past is dangerously alive.
When people like Herbert Muskie take up residence in your mind, there's nothing you can do to get them out. Colin Potter is a skinny boy, hungry for chocolate. Herbert Muskie is enormously fat, hungry for revenge. A dramatic encounter down at the creek forges an unhappy alliance between the vindictive man and the fearful child. But who is the fat man and why does he hate the people of Loomis? What guilty secrets are hidden in the past and why are Colin's parents such special targets?
Alice Ferry is a retired Wellington scientist. As her story unfolds we learn of her childhood with her brother Gordon in West Auckland and of the divergent paths their lives have taken. While Alice has gone on to have a successful career, Gordon has mentally deteriorated to the point where he is a silent derelict living on the streets of Wellington. As the novel evolves, Alice is becoming more and more edgy. What is she hiding? How has Gordon ended up in this state?
Wellington, 1935. James Tinling, a former cabinet minister, plans a political comeback, although a brash newcomer stands in his way. James has methods of dealing with people who stand up to him, but is held back by the secrets in his life. Eric Clifton, world-renowned moon scientist, has secrets too. He lives hot-bloodedly and is at war with patrician James. Sam Holloway, literary man and moralist, records their year with its sexual intrigues, sudden violence and the overturning of the political norms.
Prowlers is a picaresque journey through an agile mind and a richly populated memory: And through the town of Jessop, whose roots lie back in the early years of the century. Noel's repossession of the past leads to some unexpected discoveries. He sees himself as a prowler at the window; and now and then an occupant reaches out and takes his hand, or tugs him in.
As a young man in the 1930s, Josef battled the Nazis on the streets of Vienna. He fled to New Zealand, only to be interned as a dangerous enemy on Somes Island in Wellington Harbour. After the war, he rebuilt his life and married Nancy. Despite his success, Josef still stands askew from his times. In his chosen home he is both an insider and an outsider, and the past has become a place in which to escape and perhaps even to resolve the troubles of the present.
Worlds separate Brent Rosser from Ulla Peet, but a burglary gone wrong brings them into a confrontation that will change their lives - and end one of them, or perhaps both. There are many crimes in this chilling novel - brutal murder, corporate fraud, domestic violence and spiritual bankruptcy. Through the chance meetings of the Peet and Rosser families, Crime Story asks questions about the victims and perpetrators of crime, and about the price of greed and personal isolation.
May, David and Alan Macpherson have the same father but different mothers, and their paths in life have been enormously different. The three have come together after thirty-five years at the Nelson orchard of their dying father, Robert Macpherson. The old tugmaster, domineering and earthy still, is being nursed by May's daughter, Heather, who also runs the orchard. A strange love exists between her and the old man.
This is the story of Ellie Crowther, a spirited and original woman who becomes a painter of distinction. But her canvases continue to be haunted by an elusive presence she thinks of as her shadow man. Told in five parts, each concentrating on a significant period of her life, it ranges from the 1950s when, as a girl, she lived in a YWCA hostel with her mother, to her 20s when she lives on a commune in Nelson, through to middle age, as she raises a son and becomes a painter.