One Title One Townsville

Join the One Title One Townsville book club. A book club the whole community is invited to.

The Cane is now available at your local CityLibraries branch or download the free e-book. View all our online resources at eLibrary.

One Title One Townsville Event

Come together, meet, listen, and participate in a book club style Q&A with Maryrose Cuskelly, author of The Cane. This will be part of the Festival of Stories in June. More information to come.

The Cane - Maryrose Cuskelly
Maryrose Cuskelly 

Maryrose Cuskelly is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. She has lived in Melbourne for many years, but she was born in Queensland, where, in the early 1970s, there were several high-profile child abductions and murders. The disappearance of Mackay schoolgirl Marilyn Wallman, in particular, made a lasting impression on her.

In 2016, Maryrose was awarded the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing (non-fiction) for her essay 'Well Before Dark' about Marilyn's disappearance and the way it percolated through her own childhood and later life. The Cane returns to some of the themes and preoccupations of that essay.

In 2019, Maryrose's book Wedderburn: A true tale of blood and dust (Allen & Unwin, 2018) was longlisted for Best Debut and Best True Crime in the 2019 Davitt Awards. She is also the author of Original Skin: Exploring the marvels of the human hide (Scribe, 2010) and The End of Charity: Time for social enterprise (with Nic Frances, Allen & Unwin, 2008), which was the winner of the Iremonger Award.

The Cane by Maryrose Cuskelly 


Quala, a North Queensland sugar town, the 1970s.

Barbara McClymont walks the cane fields searching for Janet, her sixteen-year-old daughter, who has been missing for weeks. The police have no leads. The people of Quala are divided by dread and distrust. But the sugar crush is underway and the cane must be burned.

Meanwhile, children dream of a malevolent presence, a schoolteacher yearns to escape, and history keeps returning to remind Quala that the past is always present.

As the smoke rises and tensions come to a head, the dark heart of Quala will be revealed, affecting the lives of all those who dwell beyond the cane.

The Cane is an evocative and atmospheric thriller, and announces an exciting new voice in Australian crime writing.

'A fine, brave, perceptive writer.' - Mark Dapin, journalist and author of Public Enemies

'A stunning piece of Australian rural noir.' - Mark Brandi, bestselling author of Wimmera and The Rip

Reserve your copy