The new novel, Freycinet, by Melanie Calvert, is a startling psychological murder mystery that resonates strongly with the current Tasmanian Gothic movement. In Freycinet, Tasmania is depicted as a place of great beauty, but also one of mystery and murder.
Ginny O’Byrne arrives at Freycinet National Park with her fiancé Julian, only to be haunted by gory, clairvoyant visions of two murdered young women. The next morning two women are missing. Ginny immediately joins the massive Search and Rescue mission, but she is surrounded by people who may be responsible for the murder of the missing women, and embroiled in an eerie atmosphere that is becoming increasingly threatening.
The author, Melanie Calvert, explains: “I wanted it to be like Picnic at Hanging Rock or Twin Peaks, with that same sense of atmospheric horror.” Accordingly, in its exploration of Tasmania’s strange Gothic potency, the novel references Tasmanian cold cases such as those of Victoria Cafasso and Nancy Grunwaldt, Tasmanian history, Aboriginal myth, European fairy tales, and even ballet plots.
The novel itself discusses this cultural potency, likening it to the French term terroir: “Loosely translated it means ‘sense of place,’ the sum of the effects of the surrounding environment … a sense of the land itself; a combination of its weather, its terrain, its history, the things that have happened here, and of people’s shared histories with that place, its particular resonances, the intersection of wilderness and myth and human culture and beliefs.”
But, for the main character of Freycinet, Ginny O’Byrne, this experience of the land is overwhelming and horrifying, and Ginny will eventually encounter a shocking conclusion that will leave the reader reeling.
Freycinet is available from bookshops and online, or as an ebook from Amazon.com.
About the Author
Melanie Calvert was born in Launceston and grew up in Scottsdale in North East Tasmania. She has a Master’s Degree in Literature and a Journalism degree from Deakin University in Victoria. Freycinet is her first novel.