Indulgent and satisfying – The Chocolate Tin by Fiona McIntosh


I’m a fan of Fiona McIntosh as a reader, a librarian, and as a writer, but her new book takes the biscuit.

Let me explain:

As a reader I have been completely lost in quite a few of Fiona’s books. She has a fabulous knack of wrapping you up in the story (full sensory immersion) so when I turn the last page I look up at the real world and have to blink and stumble around for five minutes or so because it just doesn’t align with where my head has been. Which is exactly how a good book is supposed to mess with you.

As a librarian, it was an absolute delight having Fiona come to the library as part of her book tours. I have never seen a more engaging author draw a crowd into the story behind a book. She had people, literally, on the edge of their seat, in tears, or gasping with laughter – she is a just a natural storyteller, and so much fun.

Fiona is currently touring for The Chocolate Tin, so check out the schedule and go and see her if she is anywhere near you. I’ll be driving the two hours to catch her at Bowral, because I know it will absolutely be worth it.

As a writer, I attended Fiona’s 5 day masterclass, and it was, quite simply, life changing. She convinced me to take my writing seriously and was so inspiring, supportive, and, yes, tough and realistic. The commercial fiction masterclasses for 2017 are already fully booked, but you can find out about the 2018 ones, and more, at Fiona’s website.

But the biscuit? Well, the beautiful fact is, that if you buy a copy of The Chocolate Tin, you can enter Penguin’s competition to win a trip for two to York. That would be fabulous.

So, that’s my copy in the image above, alongside some vintage chocolate tins, and some not so vintage chocolates that will be accompanying me on my trip into Fiona’s story. And on my trip to York?

Oh, fingers crossed…

Clever, charming, and thoroughly louche


Why, of course, it’s Mr Rowland Sinclair, and his disreputable companions.

And if you love damn fine storytelling – it’s an enthralling series of Australian historical crime – have I got a deal for you. Or, more accurately, the clever, charming, and thoroughly irrepressible, author – Sulari Gentill – has the fabulous deal, and I’m just bringing it to your attention.

The seventh Rowland Sinclair mystery, Give the Devil His Due, was published a year ago, and I’ve just recently binge-read the series (which involved re-reading some of the earlier books, and the first time reading the later). They’re so good. I love the flawed characters, and the relationships between Rowly and his friends, and especially between Rowly and his brother. I love the understated humour. I love the way the books look at the complex politics of the 1930s, with the realities of the Depression, the global rise of Fascism, and the fear of Communism – all seen through the filter of Rowly’s wish to just paint portraits.

Sulari is a fabulous writer, and a delightful person, and the gasps of horror she can elicit at writers’ festivals by confessing she writes, in her pyjamas, in front of the television, is hilarious. Pantera Press publishes her books in Australia, and Poisoned Pen Press is releasing her backlog of Rowly’s adventures in the USA, and even though it is written, readers will have to wait until next September for the release of the 8th novel.

To alleviate disappointment, and because she is magnificent, Sulari has written and released a free novella, The Prodigal Son.

You can download it here:

It’s a prequel to the series, so I’m going to go grab it right now, and settle in to enjoy a little more time in the company of Rowland Sinclair and his Bohemian friends. Why not do the same? And then, if you haven’t already, you can hunt down a copy of A Few Right Thinking Men and read the whole series.

I thoroughly recommend it.