John Lang was Australia’s first locally born novelist, publishing early work in Sydney in the 1840s and going on to write several bestsellers. The Forger’s Wife (1856) is a lively adventure novel, set in an unruly colonial Sydney where everyone is on the make. The forger’s wife is a young woman who follows her rakish husband out to Australia and struggles to survive as her marriage falls apart. She soon meets Detective George Flower, a powerful man with a cavalier sense of justice and retribution. Flower literally controls the fortunes of the colony: taking on the local bushrangers, inspecting colonial authorities, and helping himself to the spoils along the way.
First serialised in Fraser’s Magazine in 1852, The Forger’s Wife was popular in its time and was reprinted many times over. It is Australia’s first detective novel – and most likely, the first detective novel in the Anglophone world.
This edition includes an introduction by Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver.