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Edition details


Publication date
1st August 2019


Aardvark Bureau



BIC category


This Mortal Boy

Author Fiona Kidman


A novel based on real events and real people and the events that led to one of the last executions in New Zealand.

This title is not yet published, but can be pre-ordered


Albert ‘Paddy’ Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.

But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?

Black’s final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, ‘I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.’ This is his story.

‘Her portrayal of Black as a youth who makes an awful mistake is a heartbreaking one….This very human novel is as good an argument as you’ll ever find for the abolition of capital punishment.’ The Spinoff (NZ)
‘This is an important book which reminds us of the fragility of youth and how devastatingly lives can be altered by a moment’s action.’ The Australian Women’s Weekly
‘Where does justice lie? This is an exquisitely written novel from a master storyteller; an important and fascinating read.’ Crime Watch NZ
Bonus Material
The Spinoff review of This Mortal Boy
Fiona Kidman

Meet the author

Dame Fiona Kidman is a leading contemporary novelist, short story writer and poet. Kidman has won numerous awards, and she has been the recipient of fellowships, grants and other significant honours, as well as being a consistent advocate for New Zealand writers and literature. She is the President…

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