Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

For people passionate about words

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Recent books

The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis (April 2016)

Somehow she'd always known that she would end up like this.  In a small square room, in a small square flat.  In a small square box, perhaps.  Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside.  And a name...

In a freezing Edinburgh flat an old woman takes her last breath surrounded by the few objects she has accrued over a lifetime: a photograph, an emerald dress - and a Brazil nut with the Ten Commandments etched in its shell.

Meanwhile, guided by the flip of a coin, Margaret Penny escapes the disaster of her life in London and returns reluctantly to her childhood home.  Faced with relying on a resentful mother she has never really known, Margaret finds herself a job tracking down the families of those who have died neglected and alone.

Her instructions are to uncover the necessary paperwork, yet the only thing her client, Mrs Walker, left behind is a collection of peculiar objects that reveal a story of children abandoned and lost, of beguiling sisters and misplaced mothers, of thievery and the very deepest of betrayals.  A story that moves from the 1930s to the present day, in which the extraordinary circular nature of life glitters from the page.

And in attempting to uncover the astonishing tale of an old woman who died alone, Margaret might even discover her own story too...
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