A Child’s Book of True Crime

Chloe Hooper

Kate Byrne is having an affair with the father of her most gifted pupil, Lucien. Unnervingly, her lover’s wife has just published Murder at Black Swan Point, a true crime novel about the brutal slaying of a young adulteress.

When Lucien displays violent imagery in his crayon sketches, Kate wonders how well her pupil understands his mother’s grisly work, and why he’s exposed to it. Suspecting the adult account of Black Swan Point’s murder to be wrong, Kate imagines her own version of the novel, for children, narrated by Australian animals. But has her obsession with the crime aligned her fate with that of the murdered adulteress? Chloe Hooper brilliantly portrays a young woman reluctant to enter or conform to the world of adults. Kate Byrne is compelled by the lives of her nine-year-old students, a misfit among their parents. And though Lucien’s father brings her to life sexually in scenes of escalating eroticism, he does nothing to penetrate her obsession with the past. Kate is fixated on the crime of passion that occurred years earlier, less and less aware of her own reputation in the present.

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