5 Apr 2024

'Novel' debut from academic turned murder mystery writer

From Nine To Noon, 10:15 am on 5 April 2024

'Novel' debut from academic turned murder mystery writer

The new director of the Mt John observatory is found dead on the eve of its 50th anniversary celebrations, with academics from around the world attending. That is the scene and the setting of retired academic Marie Connolly's debut novel Dark Sky.

Criminal psychologist Nellie Prayle takes it upon herself to help police discover who has killed the observatory's new young director. Nellie and Detective Jack Simmons find themselves in a plot of academic rivalries, infidelities and emotional turmoil as they try to solve this murder in the heart of Mackenzie Country.

It's Marie Connolly's first shot at a murder mystery story - after a career as a leading expert in child protection systems. It's a career that took her from Canterbury University to becoming the Government's chief social worker before a professorial chair role at the University of Melbourne. She retired in 2019 and moved back to New Zealand where she's been writing from her Akaroa home.

Marie Connolly's novel Dark Sky is a murder mystery that happens at the Mt John Observatory in Mackenzie Country.

Photo: Supplied / Lighthouse PR