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Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  42 reviews
'Crime's not a woman's business, Joanie. It's not some bloody game.'

In the murky world of Kings Cross in 1932, aspiring crime writer Joan Linderman and her friend and flatmate Bernice Becker live the wild bohemian life, a carnival of parties and fancy-dress artists' balls.

One Saturday night, Joan is thrown headfirst into a real crime when she finds Ellie, her neighbour, mu
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
'But tomorrow night a door would open that not even the talented Lillian Armfield had managed to peek behind; a door into a world of intrigue and mystery, power and desire: the entrance to the secret world of the Ladies’ Goddess Club.’

Death in the Ladies’ Goddess Club is an opulent historical odyssey into our nation’s past. Encompassing murder, ambition, blackmail, double crossings, love, lust, trauma and family relations, Julian Leatherdale’s latest is a tr
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club by Julian Leatherdale. (2020).

Kings Cross, 1932. Joan is an aspiring crime writer living a wild bohemian life with her friend and flatmate Bernice. On a Saturday night Joan is thrown headfirst into a real crime when they find Ellie, her neighbour, murdered. To prove her worth as a crime writer and bring Ellie's killer to justice, Joan secretly investigates in the footsteps of Sergeant Lillian. But as
Veronica ⭐️
After reading the blurb I really thought I would love this story of 1930’s Kings Cross. The Cross had such an eclectic mix of people in its community in the 30’s. Living as neighbours were showgirls, prostitutes, the well to do, those down on their luck, artists, gays, transvestites and the bohemian set. This mix gives for some great story telling.

Julian Leatherdale centres his story on the ideals and philosophies of the bohemian artist groups of the time
M - The long hot spell
Death in the Ladies Goddess Club is a complex murder mystery set in Kings Cross in the 1930s. Leatherdale’s novel offers a cast of characters who are bohemian, on the dangerous side and despite their flaws, often very likeable. Though I didn't always agree with their antics.
The main protagonist, Joan, is a journalist by day and novel writer by night and she gets caught up in the mystery, amateur detective style, as the story gets played out in her novel. Leatherdale does a lovely job of bringin
Deborah Ideiosepius
This was a beautifully written, thoroughly engrossing novel. Set in Sydney, mostly in Kings Cross, in 1932 this is one of the most rounded and convincing historical settings that I have ever encountered for the time period in Sydney.

The Cross and it's bohemian lifestyle in the 1930's flourished beside a very conservative middle class and this becomes the perfect setting for Joan finding her neighbour murdered. Joan starts investigating the case and incorporating it into her novel, trying to prov
Jeanette Lewis
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reveals the wild and colourful times of the 1930's in Kings Cross Sydney, a reputation that it still shares today. The read is as colourful as it's setting with side stories of the times in the depression and the after effects of the war on families, the narrow mindness of society while criminals ran amok with prostitution, illegal grog, drugs and murder.

Joan Linderman has tossed in the suburbs with mum and dad to share a flat in an old house now a boarding house with Bernice (Bernie),
It has to be said, the covers of Julian Leatherdale's books are always exquisite. Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club is the second of his books I've read (Palace of Tears, his debut was published in 2015) and their covers reflect the opulent lives and stories dwelling in them.

Read my review here:
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
“...she had sat at her typewriter, happily composing a murder scene for her novel. And now here she was thrust without warning into the middle of a real one, the unspeakably gruesome death of someone she knew.”

By day, Joan Linderman is a subeditor for a leading womens magazine, while at night she works on a crime novel she hopes to one day have published. But when her downstairs neighbour is discovered with her throat slashed, the line between fiction and fact becomes blurred, and Joan finds her
Donna McEachran
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bit of a slow burn... almost gave up at one stage but decided to battle on. Ended better than I expected.
Review to come
Kali Napier
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction done really well. This was pure escapism into the razor gang world of Depression-era Kings Cross, when not everyone was suffering deprivation or on the track. The rich lived very well indeed, and often off the profits of crime. The research is impeccable, and while at times I felt that tangents, such as scenes with Zora Cross, were there to showcase what was happening in this bohemian world at the time and show the sacrifices a 'woman writer' had to make, they were always inte ...more
Camila - Books Through My Veins
- thanks to @allenandunwin for sending the book my way!

The idea of seeing Syndey back in the 1930s was quite appealing, so I went into this book with enthusiasm. The author does an outstanding job setting the atmosphere of the era, capturing several exciting historical moments which I enjoyed, including the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I was unsure about how a male author would depict a female main character from back then, and although Joan does not have any majors flaws as a character,
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With a big shout out I would like to thank Julian Leatherdale and Allen and Unwin for the ARC of Death in the Ladies Goddess Club.

This excellent Australian crime thriller is set in Kings Cross, Sydney’s infamous entertainment area, in post war 1932. The protagonist Joan is a crime writer who finds her neighbour murdered. There is complexity to this story with great character development; I was intrigued until the end. This is the first book I've read by Julian Leatherdale, I've added her earlier
Aug 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The audio book narration was good but the novel was too long, lingering on unimportant detail and padding out the chapters with a lot of overthinking. The history is interesting and I love a story set in Sydney.
DEATH IN THE LADIES' GODDESS CLUB is set in post World War I Sydney, in the 1930's at a time of great social and political upheaval in Australia's past. Women are just starting to fight back against the constraints society has placed on their lives and behaviour, and the bohemian lifestyle is growing in popularity. Of course it's also the time of the notorious Razor Gangs, and the extreme violence that plagued the Kings Cross Area and inner Sydney in general. Taking full advantage of unrest and ...more
Jane Randell
After reading the blurb for this I was very excited to immerse myself in the dark side of Kings Cross in the early 1900s. Sadly this book just didn’t work for me - it felt like the author found lots of interesting facts about the history of the area and had to just keep dropping them into the plot to make sure and use them all. Being reasonably familiar with the history of the area I found this to be a distraction from the plot. The ending also left me feeling a bit cheated.
Tony Nielsen
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The setiing of Death in the Ladies Goddess Club is early 1930's Sydney, and specifically in the notorious King's Cross streets. Joan is a writer for a local paper and of a crime based novel she is pecking away with. Her friends are mostly street girls scrapping for a living in an environment still overshadowed by the Great War. Many of their men either didn't come home or are too damaged to resume a normal life.

The counter-point of the financially challenged women and the well-to-do Society dame
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, borrowed
Joan escaped her lower middle class existence and moved to Kings Cross to be a journalist with dreams of being a crime writer. It’s 1932, the hard decades after the great war, and before the Harbour Bridge was finished and opened. She shares a room with a true Bohemian, Bernice, who has introduced her to all the glitteratti of the Sydney scene, from Norman Lindsay to feminist writers, to artists, sculptors and members of the various clubs Bernie always seems to be a member of.
Joan adores her red
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I haven't read any other books by Julian Leatherdale, but from Death in the Ladies' Goddess Club I can only imagine they would be chock full of historical accuracy - as this was. Joan Linderman, aspiring crime writer, lives with Bernice Becker, a wild party girl if ever there was one, in the middle of Kings Cross, 1932. Her block of flats houses many colourful characters indeed, including a very bad tempered landlady. Joan's parents are suburban, 'ordinary', nice people, unlike her aunt and uncl ...more
Bree T
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Julian Leatherdale is an author I’ve always wanted to try but the thing of ‘too many books, not enough time’ has always gotten me. He is the author of three adult books and this is his most recent. Unfortunately, shortly after the publication of this novel, he passed away after a battle with an inoperable liver cancer. I have all three of his books but decided to start with this one and work my way backwards.

Death In The Ladies’ Goddess Club brings the life of Bohemian Sydney in the 1930s to lif
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death in the Ladies Goddess Club

This exciting Australian crime thriller ‘Death in the Ladies Goddess Club’ is set in post war 1930's in the notorious King's Cross in Sydney. Joan Linderman the protagonist of the story is the subeditor of the leading womens magazine ‘The Australian Woman’s Mirror’, compiling the gossip and womanly wisdom of ‘Between Ourselves’ while in her spare time she is writing a crime novel she hopes to one day have published. Her friends are mostly bohemians and street girl
Cel Jel
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young lady is working by day as a journalist for a ladies magazine and by night as a crime fiction novelist. She lives in a building of cheap rentals in Kings Cross giving her a chance to mix with all sorts. A murder happens in the building and she becomes involved in investigating the murder by choice in parallel to the Police investigation. She is also questioned by the Police.
Her rich relatives have not assisted her family, but may be connected to the murder so when she gets the chance to
Mar 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Well researched, this story is set in Kings Cross, Sydney in 1932, just as the new Harbour Bridge is about to be opened.
The are many characters living in this vibrant part of Sydney - The Cross is a village in itself.
Accommodation is cheap and people live with little privacy due to the thin walls in converted mansions. How could a murder occur without everyone knowing until it is too late?
The residents of the Cross are prostitutes, bohemians, gangsters and our protagonist, Joan, who fancies her
Tracy Mackay
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for my copy.
Sadly, a day before I started this wonderful novel, Julian Leatherdale passed away.

This is my first Julian Leatherdale book and I really enjoyed it.
It does take a little while to get going, but it wasn't boring at all. Once the story picked up it was pretty fast paced and never a dull moment. The author has certainly done his research of Kings Cross, Sydney, the Harbour bridge, architecture and all the seedy details of life in "the Cross" in 1932.
It cov
Apr 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A historical mystery novel, very closely based on the characters and urban geography of inner Sydney in the early 1930s. A grim era, with a lot of inequality, but also a spirit of bohemianism and creativity among writers and artists.

The story line was good, but I found the women characters a bit too obvious - more as they are seen by others, than how a woman really thinks and feels. However, the plot was excellent, and the rivalries of left and right, so strong at the time, are effectively conv
Joselle Griffin
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! The characters were lively and interesting and I spent the whole time rethinking 'who dunnit' with all the twists. I like that it's a process of exploitation for the main character into her own self as well as the mystery. The post war setting seeps through and impacts the atmosphere of the characters world. Very enjoyable, and I am definitely going to read more books by Leatherdale. ...more
Ann Tonks
I loved the history that was embedded in this book - not just the events and the politics of post-WW1 Australia but also the real characters that were touched on as the story progressed.

But what I didn't like was the irritating language (a middle class girl of the period would say "arsehole") and the random sex that the female lead has. Every time I started to get engrossed in the story, I'd be bumped out by these unbelievable elements.

I won't give the end away but really?!
Pip Snort
A little clunky, this historical crime romp through the Cross in the post Great War period is a twisty ride. With one challenge after another, the deaths of two prostitutes are entangled with the war, drug deals, feminism, communism, and somewhat anachronistically, the sexual revolution. This lack of historical fidelity in the attitudes of the characters makes for a more modern outlook, but somewhat dims the vivacity of the portrait of life in 1930s inner Sydney.
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot to like about this book. The setting and historical background was wonderful. The backstory of WW1 and the Depression and the impacts on ordinary people were heartfelt. I enjoyed the different layers of society. The murders and the riddles behind them were great stories. I particularly enjoyed the main character, Joan, and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing novel. Interesting mix of 1930's historical and cultural references together with romance, mystery and intrigue. I liked the commentary on the treatment of women in the 19030's from different perspectives i.e. there was young single women, female artists and bereaved mothers. If you like Miss Fisher, you'll love this! ...more
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Julian Leatherdale’s first love was the theatre. On graduation from a theatre studies degree at the University of NSW, he wrote lyrics for four satirical cabarets and a two-act musical. He discovered a passion for popular history as a staff writer, researcher and photo editor for Time-Life’s Australians At War series. He later researched and co-wrote two Film Australia-ABC documentaries Return to ...more

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