'A boy is growing up happily with his young widowed mother and younger brother in 1870s Mt Gambier, a town of solid types and few secrets; or so it may have seemed. But beneath its respectable colonial facade lay hazards and mysteries every bit as dangerous as the beautiful yet deceptive Blue Lake.
In 1875 scarlet fever struck the community, as did a murder so savage it tilted the small world perilously on it axis. For the boy and his friends it is a time of questions, disillusion and unwelcome reality. The author has based her story on an actual murder of the time and place, and uses contemporary documents, including the still extant Border Mail newspaper, to effectively colour the landscape of her fiction and flesh out its drama and characters.' (Publisher's abstract)