Esteemed Aotearoa playwright and author Renée (Ngāti Kahungunu) wrote and published her first crime novel when she was 90. Blood Matters is the riveting sequel to the 2020 Ngaio Marsh finalist The Wild Card, and is another tale of Porohiwi, a small town that doesn’t yield its secrets without a fight. Chaired by Renée’s publisher, Mary McCallum.
Regrettably, due to personal circumstances, Becky Manawatu is no longer available. Mary McCallum from The Cuba Press will chair the session.
The Wild Card was published by Cuba Press in 2019 and, after being shortlisted for the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, was snapped up by Joffe Books UK in an international two-book deal for the worldwide English language rights (exclusive of Aotearoa).
Blood Matters is the second crime novel to be written by Renée, who is now 93 and lives in Ōtaki, which gives her a special insight into small town Aotearoa.
In this riveting sequel, Renée’s protagonist Puti Derrell likes running at midnight. During lockdown it was safe but now lockdown is over and Porohiwi doesn’t feel safe anymore – especially when she discovers her estranged grandfather has been murdered.
Puti’s already got a lot on her mind. She’s just lost her sister Ana and as a result she’s the guardian of her ten-year-old niece, Bella Rose, who wants to be a private investigator when she grows up, and the new owner of Ana’s secondhand bookshop Mainly Crime. On top of that her grandfather’s murder has a strange twist – his body was left wearing a Judas mask. Blood matters takes on a whole new meaning as Puti and Bella Rose are pulled into the hunt for the murderer and for another mask that vanished some years before and might hold a clue. Once again, this is a tale of Porohiwi, a small town that doesn’t yield its secrets without a fight.
Catch up on the kōrero with Renée with our Pukapuka Talks Podcast here:
Renée (Ngāti Kahungunu) is an award-winning novelist and playwright, who published her first crime novel when she was 90 and her second at 93, and has written poetry and memoir. Her work puts women, Māori and takatāpui centre stage and champions the lives of the working class. Renée has been awarded the ONZM, the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement, the Playmarket Award and Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka. She blogs at Wednesday Busk and lives in Ōtaki.
Becky Manawatu (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha) was born in Whakatū Nelson, raised in Waimangaroa, and she lived in Germany and Italy before returning to the West Coast with her family. Auē, her first novel, won the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction and the MitoQ Best First Book of Fiction at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. It also won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel 2020. Becky is currently writing her second book, which is due out in 2023.