books and writing

A fan of mystery and detective stories

since her childhood, Laraine embraced the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and has been a Sherlock Holmes tragic ever since. In 2009, she visited the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland where the Great Detective met his (supposed) death at the hands of arch-villain, Moriarty.

She has combined her love of mystery stories with her love of history to create historical crime fiction.

The first to go to the presses is ‘The Death Mask Murders’, set in Melbourne in 1918. It is her debut novel, featuring The Argus‘s senior crime reporter, Reggie da Costa***.

‘A razor must be straight. A razor must be polished. A razor must be sharp.’

As a wild storm batters Brighton, Emma Hart, an aspiring artist, and Max Rushforth, a shell-shocked ex-soldier, take refuge in the cellar of a derelict mansion, the Death Mask Murderer’s lair and home to his sinister collection of plaster casts of murdered women. With Max in the spotlight of the police investigation, Emma gathers together an unlikely cast of amateur sleuths to solve the case. There is her feisty great aunt, Mrs Florence Darrow, a wealthy Brighton matron and philanthropist, as well as Reggie da Costa, The Argus‘s premier crime reporter, bon vivant and sometime Socialist. Lastly, there is Dr Silas Bacon, an expert in death masks. Together, they combine their respective talents to track down a murderer.

***Now featured on Dru’s Book Musing

Here’s a bit of fun for Bayside residents: THE DEATH MASK MURDERS WALKING TRAIL

‘A Dose of Death’ will be published in May 2022, the second in the ‘Reggie da Costa Mysteries’. Vain and ambitious Reggie da Costa discovers the body of Cornelius Stout, a wealthy widower, who has been missing for over two years. Lured on by the attentions of Stout’s beautiful daughter Lily, Reggie investigates the case, only to discover that the killer has left behind a trail of dead, older men.

‘A Deadly Game’ is set in 1925. Ruby Rhodes inherits the estate of her estranged identical twin sister, who has died in mysterious circumstances. She discovers that Katherine led a double life, holding down a respectable job in the daytime, while at night she lived on the edge, frequenting the illegal gambling dens and risque social clubs of 1920s Melbourne. With the assistance of the inimitable Reggie da Costa, she takes on her sister’s identity, intending to expose Katherine’s killer.

‘The Reggie da Costa Mysteries’ is being published by Level Best Books, Maryland, USA.