The Ink Stain ( #4 The Monsarrat Series)
|Author:||Meg and Tom Keneally|
Henry Hallward, editor of the Sydney Chronicle,is a thorn in the side of the colonial administration. He has repeatedly agitated for greater rights for convicts, angering local landowners and the new governor. He has also been highly critical of several prominent citizens, and recently published a story accusing Socrates McAllister of rum-running. Hallward has been imprisoned several times for criminal libel, and continues to edit his newspaper while incarcerated. This time, he?s in jail awaiting trial for suggesting that there have been some criminal financial dealings involving the CEO of the Australian Agricultural Company, a consortium of British landowners, some resident in the colony, some not, to whom the British government was giving a million acres of Australian land to develop. He has told friends that he has damaging information on someone close to the new Governor, which will shortly be revealed. First, though, he has to face court. As he is being taken from Sydney jail to the courthouse, a shot is heard from a nearby building, and he falls dead to the ground. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are sent to Sydney, officially to assist in the investigation, unofficially to discover what they can about the story Hallward was working on. Their handler in Sydney is to be Major Duchamp, an aide Governor Darling inherited from his predecessor. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are both unhappy to be leaving Parramatta - Mrs Mulrooney frets she will miss a letter from her son, who has gone silent after regular correspondence. Monsarrat, meanwhile, is trying to find out where Grace O?Leary has been sent. Monsarrat is also worried that his involvement in the case might draw unwanted attention from Socrates McAllister. When Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney arrive in Sydney, Major Duchamp claims he intends to help them, but at the same time tries to limit those they talk to, insisting the investigation should focus on Hallward?s own links to a group of men who are suspected that agitating for an uprising. Monsarrat makes the acquaintance of Gerald Mobbs the editor of the The Sydney Chronicle?smain competitor, the establishment newspaper, Colonial Flyer. Mobbs tells Monsarrat that thanks to Hallward?s journalism, the governor is trying to implement a licensing regime for newspapers, which would effectively bring them under government control. Meanwhile, Major Duchamp has forbidden Monsarrat to examine the building from which Hallward was shot. Monsarrat breaks in one night. Looking out from the window, he concludes the shot would have taken a significant amount of marksman?s ability. The night watch, however, catches him and arrests him. Duchamp has Monsarrat imprisoned. He says he has been in touch with Socrates McAllister, Horace Bulmer and others, all of whom say that Monsarrat should be permanently criminalised, and intend to lend their voices to such an effort.Leaving only Mrs Mulrooney on the outside to sort things out!