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Curlew Rising by Don Douglas

Curlew Rising by Don Douglas

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ISBN: 978-0-6453511-9-4

284 page paperback

Young Eliza McDonald is sent to live with her grandparents in Kalgoorlie to attend high school, but when she’s sixteen she is assaulted by the school principal, who she murders in desperation. She goes on the run, relentlessly pursued by a young detective, Lance McLeod, who hounds her to Surfers Paradise, Townsville and to her home at Tomahawk Plains in the Territory.

After her grandfather Ben dies of a heart attack while abusing Lance, Eliza returns and confronts Lance in his own office with a Tommy-gun.

He begins to see her as a possible victim, rather than a callous murderer and a stalemate follows, during which they begin an affair, which Lance knows compromises his integrity and he requests a transfer. He is replaced by an old detective, Kelly Atkins, who comes to the realisation the case should be dropped. He burns her file and resigns. But in the meantime, Eliza has given birth to Lance’s child and has a nervous breakdown. Kelly tracks her down and they go in search of Lance, who has left the country.

Their daughter, Sarah is six before Kelly eventually confronts Lance and has become close friend to Eliza and uncle to Sarah in that time. Their reconciliation isn’t a foregone conclusion however, as Lance is reserved about his feelings, until Sarah almost dies from tetanus and they spend a night together in a motel when Sarah miraculously recovers, after Eliza returns home to get the crocodile diamond, the talisman old Captain had given her father.

The story ends with Sarah conspiring with Lance to propose to her mother.

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