High profile crimes spice Yarns in Barns

By Don Farmer don.farmer@age.co.nz -
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Award winning New Zealand author David Hill has settled on a novel way of bringing history to the young. PHOTO/FILE
Award winning New Zealand author David Hill has settled on a novel way of bringing history to the young. PHOTO/FILE

THOSE with a thirst for whodunnits and a natural bent towards stories relating to crimes, and the solving of them, will want to be at Greytown Town Hall on May 28 to hear about this country's high-profile crimes from the mouth of award-winning author Steve Braunias.

Braunias will be talking about his book Scene of the Crime, a true-crime book and the 11th book this prolific New Zealand writer has published.

The book features some of the most notorious cases to shock, and grip the nation including the Mark Lundy double-murder, the Louise Nicholas rape trial, the starry-eyed killer Antonie Dixon and even manages to go off-shore to cover the trial of perhaps the most surprising sex-offender case of modern times, the trial of Rolf Harris in London.

Whereas the thrust of the morning talk to be given by Braunias in Greytown will be about headline crime cases featured in his latest book, the author is a more versatile scribe than just a crime writer.

He is a very capable satirist and is not afraid to wind up those who sit at the top end of society.

Any reader who doubts that statement has only to ask Tim Grosser the Prime Minister John Key or, by contrast, Lucy Lawless.

In all, Scene of the Crime zeroes in on 12 true crime and punishment stories and most reviewers would agree even those grisly tales have not escaped the satirical wit or cynicism for which the author has become well-known.

Yarns in Barns followers will pay $8 to hear Braunias who, in his mid 50s, is one of the country's most prolific authors, turning out a book a year over the last few years.

One for the younger book lovers will be the presentation to be given by David Hill at Aratoi in Masterton on June 1.

Hill is the author of the new release Enemy Camp, a novel that is based on a famous, or infamous, event in Wairarapa's military history.

While it may be a novel the story is firmly based on the "Featherston incident" during World War II on February 25, 1943 when 48 Japanese incarcerated at the prisoner-of-war camp at Tauherenikau were killed or later died of their wounds and many more were injured when New Zealand guards were ordered to fire on them for refusing to join a work detail which brought about a tense stand-off in a compound at the camp. Enemy Camp is aimed at readers from 9 to 14 years and the book's story is told through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy.

Hill has had books published in eight countries and his short stories and plays for young people have been broadcast in New Zealand and overseas.

Hill has won several national and international awards and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.

His yarn at Aratoi will be a free event.

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