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Short of a good murder, sin, sensation and sex in salacious detail were always standard fare for Perth’s Mirror newspaper. With the departure of American troops in 1946, new sources of scandal were needed.
Straight from school Alf McGuinness lands a job with The Mirror as a copyboy and immediately finds himself in a fix. He and his rebellious friend Jenny Anderson are small players in the thriving post-war black market but The Mirror reporters are digging for sensation in the contraband economy.
The more Alf and Jenny try to reconcile their conflicting pursuits the deeper their predicament becomes. Their lives threaten to unravel.
Copyboy is a gripping story that cleverly interweaves scandal, crime, racketeering and corruption in a fictional portrayal of Perth in the post-war years.
- Robyn Quin, author and book reviewer.
I loved the book. I'm a WA boy and my visualization via the text was something I don't often get the opportunity to experience. … Mum enjoyed it immensely. She was from that era and remembers the Mirror and the scandals of the time. As a feisty young girl making her way after the war, she really enjoyed the Jenny character.
- Chris Greenwood, Film reviewer and educator
A book is only worth reading if it takes you into a new world and Copyboy certainly did that. It was great to get a feeling for what Perth would have been like around that time and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
- Adam Worthington, New York resident
Just finished your very readable novel, it's the first time I have ever barracked for some of the criminals in a novel. Some wonderful characters, but I'm a little worried about poor Alf though, once married to Jenny and under the thumb !!
- Ray Pike avid crime book reader
Barrie McMahon loves a good story particularly one that reflects his lifelong interest in Australian history, communication and folklore. It is a fascination with how people’s lifestyles reflect and reshape their cultures.
The same focus on culture and communication is evident in his work as a professional educator. As co-author with Robyn Quin he has written many media text books for teachers and students and with Jan McMahon captured the folklore of the Darwin racing culture in Fannie Bay to Flemington: Living Bush Legends (Vivid Publishing 2011).
His novel Copyboy satisfies his passion for spinning a good yarn while at the same time examines how the immediate post World War II Perth community interacted with the dominant medium of the time, the newspaper, to engage with and reshape the traditional Australian ethos.
Barrie is an old bloke, old enough to have faint childhood memories of that era. He has lived in Perth, Western Australia most of his life. He and Jan have two married sons, four grandchildren and through long term friendships are part of various extended families whose cultures they celebrate.