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Launchpad: The War Widow, by Tara Moss

"Retro noir with a gutsy heroine and atmospheric setting...vivid, page-turning historical crime."

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching The War Widow, by Tara Moss, described as "Retro noir with a gutsy heroine and atmospheric setting...vivid, page-turning historical crime."


Book Cover The War Widow

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

The war may be officially over, but stylish private investigator and former war reporter Billie Walker is plunged right back into the danger she thought she’d left behind in Europe, in this thrilling tale set in glamorous 1940s Sydney.

Describe your ideal reader.

Anyone who loves a good story, and it helps if they have a penchant for history and social justice, and can’t get enough of ass kicking, fast talking, fast-driving female protagonists who wear Fighting Red lipstick and can take on thugs in back alleys.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with:

Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, Kerry Greenwood’s The Green Mill Murder (in her Miss Fisher series), Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, and any novels and non-fiction about courageous women of the Second World War and postwar period.

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book?

This is my fourth genre in 21 years of writing—crime fiction, paranormal fiction, non-fiction and now historical—and while this novel combines a lot of my previous areas of interest and writing, including a focus on research, on women’s stories and on crime, I learned that I should have been writing historical novels long ago. The genre suits me.

Tell us about your novel research…

That’s a long conversation involving stories of being choked unconscious and set on fire for research, and more.

An important part of any book launch is the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project.

I’d like to thank my Oma and Opa, to whom this novel is dedicated. As an able-bodied Dutchman my Opa was taken by the Nazis and forced into a work camp in Berlin during WW2, and my Oma—with whom he had young children at the time—used to cycle across Holland to Berlin to visit him, smuggling flour and sugar in the hollows of her bicycle. It was so brave. He’d use those ingredients to bake bread in the munitions ovens to bribe the foreman, who eventually gave him a day pass, which he used to escape. They taught me about the terrible impacts of war on average citizens, and also taught me about the strength of the human spirit.

What are you reading right now or next?

I just finished Janie Chang’s excellent The Library of Legends, set in 1937 China during the Japanese invasion and I’m starting Danielle Graham’s All We Left Behind, a moving historical novel set in Vancouver in 1941 and inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.






Book Cover The War Widow

About The War Widow:

The war may be officially over, but journalist Billie Walker’s search for a missing young German immigrant plunges her right back into the danger and drama she thought she’d left behind in Europe. A thrilling tale of courage and secrets set in glamorous post-war Sydney.

Sydney, Australia, 1946. Though war correspondent Billie Walker is happy to finally be home, the heady post-war days are tarnished by the death of her father and the disappearance in Europe of her husband, Jack. To make matters worse, now that the war is over, the newspapers are sidelining her reporting talents to prioritize jobs for returning soldiers. But Billie is a survivor and she’s determined to take control of her own future. She reopens her late father’s business, a private investigation agency, and slowly, the women of Sydney come knocking.

At first, Billie’s bread and butter is tailing cheating husbands. Then a young man, the son of European immigrants, goes missing, and Billie finds herself on a dangerous new trail that will lead to the highest levels of Sydney society as well as the city’s underworld. What is the young man’s connection to an exclusive dance club and a high-class auction house? When the people she questions start to turn up dead, Billie is thrown into the path of Detective Inspector Hank Cooper. Will he take her seriously or just get in her way?

As the danger mounts and Billie realizes how much is at stake, it becomes clear that although the war was won, it is far from over.

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