In London's South Kensington, in the austere years immediately
following the end of the war, Mrs Harriet Wallis is convicted of the
murder of her husband, Cecil, and is sentenced to death by hanging.
Leading a pampered if conventional existence, the Wallises appear to have a contented life. However, when the police turn up at the front door on the day the new nanny arrives, the first of a chain of events that will culminate in Cecil's murder is begun.
Set in a post-War period when a well-to-do British family's existence - both outside and inside the house - is ruled by a strict set of conventions, The Second-last Woman in England explores the depth of emotions that are always there in every family but rarely surface. And what happens when they do.
About the Author
Maggie Joel is a British-born writer now living in Sydney. She has been writing fiction and non-fiction for over ten years and has had short stories published in Southerly, Overland, Canberra Arts Review and Westerly.
This is Maggie Joel's second book, following on the heels of her stunningly successful debut novel The Past and Other Lives.
It is the story of Mrs Harriet Wallis, who on the day of the Queen's crowning, shot her husband, Cecil, dead. In November of 1953 she became the second last woman in England to be hanged. The story then goes back a year and starts at the beginning, on a day when a new nanny, who has secrets of her own, appears just in time to see the police arrive on the Wallis' doorstep investigating Cecil's business.
From there the story is told in Joel's fabulous way, dropping hints and leaving pieces of the puzzle along the way for the reader to put together. Joel really enjoys her own characters, and it shines through in the writing.
Joel’s first title was brilliantly reviewed, and her second title is sure to receive a lot of attention. Bookseller & Publisher Magazine has given it a five star review.
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st April 2010
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Dimensions (cm): 23.400 x 15.300
Weight (kg): 0.545