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Dungog shire locations featured in historical crime thriller

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Dungog Chronicle article on the Diabolus Legacy - Michelle Mexon

Cormag MacLeod is an alcoholic police inspector who has hallucinations of dead people.

He's the (ultimately) lovable lead character in an historical crime thriller set in 1875 Dungog and Allynbrook to be launched at The Beatty Hotel in Gresford next month.

Paul Bird's book, The Diabolus Legacy, includes notable historic landmarks including St Mary on Allyn in Allynbrook, the Settler's Arms Hotel as well as Redman's cottage.

"My father had been particularly interested in our family history in the region and he had done a lot of research and we had done a few trips researching where are forebears had lived," said Paul.

"I said 'how about I write a crime novel and we weave some of the characters from our family in the region into it' and that was the genesis of it.

"We went up one weekend and stayed at the Beatty Hotel and local historian Allan Hancock met us and we did a bit of research."

A specialist rheumatologist, Paul grew up in Newcastle but now lives in Sydney with his wife and four children, aged between 9 and 18.

The book took a year to write with Paul snatching what precious free time he has between his practice, at an airport or at weekend cricket matches when his children weren't batting.

"My great grandmother, Nell Bird, ran the wine bar at Reynella for many years, and this book is a tribute to the people of the region and a recognition of their contribution to the area," he said.

Although the novel is fictional, Dungog noted historic figures including Dr McKinlay, Charles Lean, and Hannah and Samuel Redman are part of the story.

"In Allynbrook, William Boydell, Thomas Collinson, George Hancock, and Thomas Forrest are well recorded in historical documents and I have been able to incorporate these and other real-life characters into the storyline," he said.

The launch will be held on Saturday, September 7 from 2pm-6pm at the Beatty Hotel, 52 Park Street, East Gresford.

Afternoon tea will be provided, and Paul has 100 free books to give away. His son's rock band Aeon will perform at the hotel later that evening.

His pen name is Saul Falconer and you can catch up with all his other books on his author website.


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