Last Woman Hanged – Was she innocent?

One Woman. Two Husbands. Four Trials.
One Bloody Execution

9780732299729Louisa Collins was one of the only people in the world ever to be tried not once, but four times, for murder. In her day she was one of the most notorious women alive. But her story is unknown. Until now:

On 8 January 1889, Louisa Collins, 39, a mother of ten became the last woman hanged at the Darlinghurst gaol in NSW. Louisa was beautiful. She was promiscuous. She was under suspicion for murdering her first husband and had just been found guilty of murdering her second, Michael Peter Collins. To make matters worse the evidence which condemned her to the gallows came from her own daughter, 11-year-old May.

But was she guilty? Or did the courts send an innocent woman to hang?

For five years writer Caroline Overington has conducted a rigorous investigation into the case, tracking down descendants, searching through archival footage and constructing a portrait of a justice system gone wrong. As she argues Louisa’s case had stunning implications for society at large – most of all it for the women of this country; Louisa’s trial and conviction were central to a proces which saw Australian women gain rights their forebears could only dream of.

Last Woman Hanged is gripping, astonishing – and true.

Buy the book here…

Player Profile: Caroline Overington, author of Sisters of Mercy

IMG_1744Caroline Overington, author of Sisters of Mercy

Tell us about your latest creation…

Sisters of Mercy – two sisters, born years apart, in two different countries; one is raised without the other, and they come together only for the reading of their father’s Will – after which, one of them mysteriously disappears.

Where are you from / where do you call home?

I am a Melbourne girl, but Bondi is now home.

9781742750422When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?

A journalist!

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?

I am still learning – with every book, I learn a little more.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?

I have had an office for years and I have never, ever used it. I get too lonely. I like to write in the lounge room, with my laptop on my knee. Telling everyone to please shush.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?

Cormac McCarthy, The Australian Women’s Weekly (I’m the Associate Editor there!), The Australian newspaper, Twitter

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?

The Secret Garden (and, much much later, Story of O.)

If you were a literary character, who would you be?

Bugs Bunny. I like his chutzpah.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?

I have twins, a husband, a dog, a lizard, family in Queensland and in Melbourne, plus a full-time job. So, you know – busy! But happy.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?

Gin and tonic – with mint (it’s a vegetable! or a herb, anyway.)

Who is your hero? Why?

My children. I know, ugh. But it’s true.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?

There will always be books. There will always be reading. I just wish I could write more of the first and do more of the second.

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