A Tribute to Bernadette in Oz

You knew her as Bernadette in Oz. She created this blog to cater for Australian crime fiction in July 2009, to complement her more genre-wide blog Reactions to Reading. Like me she was a crime fiction addict. Reading anything else felt a bit like a waste of time.

The news of her passing a few days ago came as a monumental shock.

I first met Bernadette soon after she created Fair Dinkum Crime. She lurked on my blog MYSTERIES in PARADISE, left almost frightening comments particularly where she thought I had got it wrong or had been far too generous and then she asked if we could meet. I was surprised to learn that she lived only a matter of suburbs away. She had a proposition for me. She asked over coffee if she could copy some of my reviews of Australian crime fiction to her new blog which was to review Australian crime fiction only. That arrangement began in July 2009. Then in June 2011 she made me an editing contributor.

Bernadette joined our local monthly crime fiction reading group sometime in that period and has been an active member ever since. She was always a champion of Australian crime fiction, particularly women writers, and she extended her interest more widely to some British and some translated crime fiction, particularly by female writers. We relied on her to tell us what was new, and what was worth hunting down. She was also a champion of local libraries. Our group members used to have an “in-joke” when talking about a book we had just been reading – we knew which ones Bernadette would have hated.

For Bernadette pulled no punches in her reviews. She was very thorough in identifying where she thought the author had got it wrong, and fulsome in her praise of those she thought had written a great book.

Tributes have begun to flow on other blogs and you might like to read some:

I am not sure at this stage what the future of Fair Dinkum Crime is. I’m not even sure that I know all I need to know about maintaining it. In many ways it was Bernadette’s baby.


15 thoughts on “A Tribute to Bernadette in Oz

  1. Kerrie, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend and crime reading co-conspirator, Bernadette. Her death has shocked and saddened so many. I will miss her support, her reviews, and her comments. Take care.

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  2. She did such a wonderful job rounding up the crime fiction and true crime reviews for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I learnt much from her straightforward style. Even though she stepped down at the end of 2017, it was nice knowing she was still in the wings. She’s going to be missed by many from a lot of different corners. Thanks for the tribute.

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  3. Losing Bernadette was a real blow to us all, Kerrie. She really was a champion of crime fiction, and of libraries. More than that, she was a friend. Such a sad loss for us…

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  4. And she was so young! I will miss stopping by at Bernadette’s blog every day and finding out what I should definitely read and what books I should avoid. And, in my view, she always got it right.
    Her reviews were so enjoyable to read, whether the good was good or not. But you are right: She took no prisoners when she disliked a book.
    And we emailed each other, too, so I’ll miss that.
    And I am grateful to her for sending me books by Australian writers, especially women. She wouldn’t let me reciprocate by sending her U.S. books. She was a generous soul in addition to her terrific reviewing, blogging strengths.
    Many of us will miss her. I’m already looking at past reviews on her blog. I hope it will stay up.

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  5. Kerrie: Thanks for your thoughts on Bernadette. My sympathy on your loss. From far away I feel her absence. She was a talented blogger. A woman of strong opinions with a big heart. All the best.

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  6. Thanks so much for this lovely tribute, Kerrie. I never had the chance to meet Bernadette, so it’s good to hear about her from someone who knew her well. I’m going to miss her reviews and incisive comments more than I can say. Sending love to you and to Bernadette’s family.


  7. I am very sorry to hear of Bernadette passing. I have been reading your reviews for some time and would miss them greatly if they were to disappear. So please continue if you can. There have been quite a number of books I would have not even heard of if not for you. Thank you and my sincere condolences.


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