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A Darker Music
A Darker Music

A Darker Music

A Novel


320 Pages, 6 x 9

Trade Paper, $27.95 (US $27.95) (CA $30.95)

Publication Date: February 2011

ISBN 9781921640650

Rights: US & CA

Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. (Feb 2011)

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When Mary Lanyon takes the job of temporary housekeeper to the wealthy Hazlitt family at Downe—a famous Merino sheep ranch—she realizes something is amiss: Mrs. Clio Hazlitt is ill and rarely ventures from her room, and the house itself is shabby and redolent of dust and secrets. As the housekeeper prepares the house for the wedding of the Hazlitt’s only son and heir, Martin, a friendship develops between Mary and Clio and the family’s troubled past is revealed. What is the nature of Clio’s illness? What has caused the grim estrangement between Clio and her husband? And why did Clio give up playing music when it meant so much to her? Vivid and captivating, this gripping mystery exposes the heart of rural Western Australia.


"An evocative story layered with mystery, longing and regret . . . . The rural landscape is a background for a narrative that succinctly shows what the human heart can endure."   —Nicole Alexander, author, The Bark Cutters

"The novel is a heritage rose . . . . the dark and the domestic mix to powerful effect."  —Sunday Age

"This debut work is simple but impressive. Refreshingly clear of ambiguity and post-modernism, the narrative draws you into the lives of the characters and the beauty of the landscape."  —Courier Mail

"Twelve years in the writing, this is a carefully crafted novel that weaves the theme of music into its storyline, as the reasons for the characters’ estranged relationships are gradually revealed. A Darker Music touches on the complexities of human nature and the decisions that can change the course of one’s life forever."  —Australian Bookseller & Publisher

Author Biography

Maris Morton has worked in various jobs around Australia, including as an English teacher, shearers’ cook, shed hand, artist, art restorer, and art gallery director. She is the recipient of the CAL Scribe Fiction Prize for writers 35 and older.