The Turnkey by Allison Rushby has won Best Children’s Crime Novel at the Sisters in Crime 18th Davitt Awards. The ceremony was held on Saturday 11th August at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.
Published by Walker Books Australia in March 2017, The Turnkey is about the adventures of Flossie Birdwhistle. She is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery, meaning she must ensure all the souls in the cemetery stay at rest. This is a difficult job at the best of times for a twelve-year-old ghost, but it is World War II and each night enemy bombers hammer London. Even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object, she becomes suspicious. What is he up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could result in the destruction of not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie stop him before it is too late?
“It’s always a strange feeling to see a book that you’ve worked on for so many years and finally sent out into the world is being enjoyed by other people. This is especially the case for The Turnkey, as when I first began writing it, I had no idea whether it would be read at all,” says Allison Rushby of her win.
The Turnkey started out as nothing more than a very bizarre little list of the things she loved, including London, World War II, Tea, Victorian cemeteries, Ivy and a talking fox.
“With such strange beginnings, I had no idea if this book would end up being read by anyone else except my immediate family and so to see it win an award, to know that other people understand it – enjoy it even! – is an amazing feeling indeed,” Rushby said.
Sisters in Crime Australia launched the Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women at its 10th anniversary convention, SheKilda 2001, to provide some much needed – and overdue – recognition for Australian women crime writers. Since 2001, the Davitt Awards have played a pivotal role in getting women’s crime writing published and better recognised.
“The Turnkey is one of the most imaginative books ever. So thrilled it’s been recognised as such by the Davitt judges. We are most proud of this win and of Allison Rushby,” says Linsay Knight, Head of Australian Publishing at Walker Books.
The Turnkey is available through Walker Books for the RRP $18.99.