A Tribute to Bernadette in Oz

You knew her as Bernadette in Oz. She created this blog to cater for Australian crime fiction in July 2009, to complement her more genre-wide blog Reactions to Reading. Like me she was a crime fiction addict. Reading anything else felt a bit like a waste of time.

The news of her passing a few days ago came as a monumental shock.

I first met Bernadette soon after she created Fair Dinkum Crime. She lurked on my blog MYSTERIES in PARADISE, left almost frightening comments particularly where she thought I had got it wrong or had been far too generous and then she asked if we could meet. I was surprised to learn that she lived only a matter of suburbs away. She had a proposition for me. She asked over coffee if she could copy some of my reviews of Australian crime fiction to her new blog which was to review Australian crime fiction only. That arrangement began in July 2009. Then in June 2011 she made me an editing contributor.

Bernadette joined our local monthly crime fiction reading group sometime in that period and has been an active member ever since. She was always a champion of Australian crime fiction, particularly women writers, and she extended her interest more widely to some British and some translated crime fiction, particularly by female writers. We relied on her to tell us what was new, and what was worth hunting down. She was also a champion of local libraries. Our group members used to have an “in-joke” when talking about a book we had just been reading – we knew which ones Bernadette would have hated.

For Bernadette pulled no punches in her reviews. She was very thorough in identifying where she thought the author had got it wrong, and fulsome in her praise of those she thought had written a great book.

Tributes have begun to flow on other blogs and you might like to read some:

I am not sure at this stage what the future of Fair Dinkum Crime is. I’m not even sure that I know all I need to know about maintaining it. In many ways it was Bernadette’s baby.