Vol. 104, No. 31, Wednesday, August 29, 2012
New Thriller from Local Author
FREYCINET, a murder mystery set in the well known Tasmanian national park, is the first novel by Melanie Calvert.
Ms Calvert was born in Launceston and grew up in Scottsdale. She is the daughter of Ted and Phyllis Calvert.
The novel was inspired by events surrounding the unsolved 1993 disappearance of 26-year-old German backpacker Nancy Grunwaldt, and the 1995 brutal murder of 20-year-old Italian tourist, Victoria Cafasso.
The main character of the novel, Ginny O’Byrne, arrives at Freycinet National Park with her fiance Julian, only to be haunted by a series of clairvoyant visions of two young murdered women.
The next morning two young women are missing. Within 24 hours, Ginny is part of a massive search and rescue mission, surrounded by people who may in fact be responsible for the murder of the missing women, tormented by her gruesome visions, and embroiled in an eerie atmosphere that is becoming increasingly threatening.
“Freycinet contains all the things that I find fascinating about Tasmania; its beauty, its dramatic scenery, its essential, inherent danger. I wanted the novel to be like Picnic at Hanging Rock or Twin Peaks with that same sense of atmospheric horror,” the author said.
“And I couldn’t fail to reference the terrible, unresolved vanishing of Nancy Grunwaldt, or the horrific murder of Victoria Cafasso and the image of her tragic ghost, calling from among the reeds.”
Freycinet is currently available at the Scottsdale Information Centre and other good bookshops. It is also available online from Amazon, Booktopia, the Book Depository and Ebay.
“But I still imagine Victoria’s wet face peering from among the reeds, Nancy’s bike wheel spinning.”
“Freycinet will keep you guessing to the end with its quirky, mysterious characters and stunning poetry narrative of the Tasmanian landscape. If you have visited Tasmania before, you’ll relate to Calvert’s eloquent descriptions, and if you haven’t, you’ll want to, and be enveloped in its mesmerising beauty, as Ginny is throughout the story. Freycinet is a worthy beach holiday – or bush cabin holiday – read, if you dare.”
I have a Pinterest page too if you would like to take a look. Melanie.
“Ten years ago I stood on the balcony of Freycinet Lodge, the fairy lights flickering through the trees, the music from Twin Peaks floating out into the syrupy air, and I turned to my fiancé Brad and said “this would be a great place to set a novel.” Luckily, Brad was more supportive than Ginny’s fiancé Julian in the novel.
I wanted to write a book that I would like to read. So Freycinet contains all the things that I find fascinating about Tasmania; its beauty, its dramatic scenery, its essential, inherent danger. I wanted my novel to be like Picnic at Hanging Rock or Twin Peaks, to create that same sense of atmospheric horror.
So Freycinet became a psychological murder mystery that depicts Tasmania as a place of great beauty, but also one of mystery and murder; an enigmatic living museum with a history of harsh cruelty.
It is essentially an exploration of Tasmania’s strange Gothic potency, referencing Tasmanian cold cases such as the horrific murder of 20-year-old Italian Tourist, Victoria Cafasso, and the still unsolved vanishing of 26-year-old German Tourist Nancy Grunwaldt. It also contains Tasmanian history, Aboriginal myth, European fairy tales, and even ballet plots.
Freycinet was written in dribs and drabs over these last 10 years. When my children were little it was written by single paragraphs late at night, just a single, vivid scene or image. Over the years I’ve missed events and outings and meals out to write (although I should confess I’m actually a hermit who prefers to be home alone anyway, so sometimes this was just a good excuse!) It was been written and re-written and put to one side and written again from scratch. And finally it has been pushed out into the world, leaving me to cringingly await its reception.
Freycinet is intended as a tribute to my home state, a studied collection of many bits and pieces from my life, and it is filled with things that interest and intrigue me. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you to the fabulous Monica Penders for launching my book today. Thank you to Steve and the staff here at Paperchain, to Kirsten McCulloch, who was one of my early readers, to all the friends and guests who have come here today to celebrate with me, and to all those who have bought my book! Thank you to Brad, Henry and Miranda for putting up with another of my various hare-brained schemes, and to my sister Cindy and my niece Harriet who have travelled from Tasmania to be here today.
Thank you everyone.”
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.