About the Book

Shortlisted for the National Year of Reading 2012 Award.

January 1900, and Australia’s tropical north just got a little hotter. An outbreak of plague is suspected and the Queensland Government sends Dr Alfred Jefferis Turner, small, refined and immaculately dressed, to assess the situation. Turner, armed with a microscope, a butterfly net and his lovelorn colleague, Dr Linford Row, is met with incredulity, not least by local councillors who insist it’s only typhoid. Fifty-two possible plague-carriers, including two prominent MPs, are isolated in a dilapidated quarantine station on Magnetic Island. Meanwhile, in town, the sewers overflow, the streets choke with rubbish; and still no-one wants to listen. When Dr Row delivers a letter from one of the quarantined men to his hauntingly beautiful wife, he ensnares both himself and the eccentric Dr Turner in a hotbed of small-town scandal and fear. Affection uncovers a unique period in Australian history. It’s a novel based on a true story of shonky politics, courageous medicos, and humidity.
Author and actor William McInnes, in the Adelaide Advertiser: “I love cricket biographies. I love Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, American realists like John Steinbeck, Faulkner, not that he was a realist really. I like Hemingway. And I tell you what, I read Ian Townsend’s book. Now that was fantastic. I really liked that book. Really graceful writing. Really interesting, too. A cracker.”

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780732286279
  • ISBN 10: 0732286271
  • Imprint: 4th Estate – AU
  • On Sale: 01/05/2007
  • Pages: 432
  • BISAC1: Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)