Author(s): Morrieson Ronald Hugh
"The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut." Fourteen-year-old Neddy Poindexter and his mate Les take swift revenge on the chook-rustling Lynch Gang, but things turn sinister when vulture-like Hubert Salter stalks into Klynham. There's a sex killer on the loose, and Neddy is in deep fear for the safety of his sister. In this lost masterpiece, first published in 1963, forgotten New Zealand writer Morrieson combines Boys' Own adventure, psychological thriller, small-town saga and family farce to produce a brilliant, hallucinatory mixture distinctively his own.
'One of the most unusual and original novels published in this country for many a long day.' Sydney Morning Herald
Born in 1922, Ronald Hugh Morrieson lived his entire life in the house his grandfather built in Hawera, a small town on New Zealand's north island. Morrieson's father died when he was six, leaving his mother to raise him. A sickly child, Morrieson nonetheless developed a passion for gangster movies, jazz, and touring cars. He left Hawera to study law in Auckland in 1940 but lasted only a few days before he caught the train home. He soon joined a local dance band, playing double bass. An eternal bachelor, he supplemented his income by teaching music and with a range a different jobs, including barman, billiard maker, borer-eradicator salesman, brush hand, truck driver and hotel cook. The Scarecrow was published in 1963, and was followed a year later by Came a Hot Friday. After a subsequent novel was rejected Morrieson's health declined, compounded by depression and grief at his mother's death in 1968. Plagued by heart problems and cirrhosis of the liver, he became a recluse and died on Boxing Day in 1972.