Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

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Recent books

The Claimant by Janette Turner Hospital (February 2015)

Manhattan, 1996: the trial of the Vanderbilt claimant is finally coming to an end.  The case - long, complex, riven with unknowns, attracting huge media and social interest - has been seeking to establish whether or not a certain man is the son of the fabulously wealthy and well-connected Vanderbilt family.  The son was reported missing in action, presumed killed, while serving in the Vietnam War.  There is huge fortune, prestige and status at stake.  But is the man - a handsome cattle farmer from Queensland - really the Vanderbilt heir?  And if so, why does he seem so reluctant to be found?

From one of our foremost and acclaimed writers, The Claimant is a brilliant contemporary reworking of the Tichborne case, a legal cause celebre in both the Australian and the British press in the late nineteenth century.  Intriguing, compelling and ravishingly readable, it explores the fluid, shifting and ultimately elusive nature of identity, and the reasons people seek to change their names, their identities and even their very histories.
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