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Saturday, 24 January 2015

A detective story dilemma

I have a particular problem with marketing and publicising my book God's Triangle. Briefly, the book is a chronological diary of my investigation into why there was such a mystery surrounding the break-up of my missionary Great Aunt Florence "Florrie" Cox's marriage. After a long battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Victoria, Melbourne, I discovered both the cause of the marriage breakdown and why the Baptist Church, the press and the Supreme Court colluded in a cover-up. Put simply, it is a true detective story.

The book reveals the cause of the marriage failure, but should potential readers be told this before they buy it? Before you react with "of course not", let me say that I fear I am missing out on a significant number of buyers with an interest and/or involvement in intersex issues by not explaining that Florrie was born with a very rare intersex condition and had no vagina.

When in Australian recently, I did a talk to a genealogy group and decided that I would reveal Florrie's problem -- the first time I had done so at a book talk. Despite this reveal, I sold all my books.

For various reasons not worth recounting, quite a few readers of God's Triangle did know about Florrie's problem beforehand. I asked a selection of them whether this had spoiled their enjoyment of the story. Most said it didn't because they enjoyed reading about it in more detail and because of the story's several other aspects. These included the explanation of how an intelligent and sensible person had been able to reach womanhood without knowing about menstruation or having any real idea how babies were made, how her husband and his second wife had been able to eradicate seven years from their troubled past while rising to become pillars of society, and how the scandal cover-up was organised.

God's Triangle is currently in development in Australia as a feature film and the producers have already decided that the audience should be told about Florrie's problem at an early stage. I think that is the right decision. It should mean that audiences feel emotionally engaged throughout, watching Florrie and her husband struggling to cope with a situation they don't fully understand. We shall see!

Feel free to offer your views, either on this page, or by contacting me by email at books@richardsonmedia.co.uk

If you wish to buy God's Triangle, here are the links for the paperback and the ebook.

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