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Melina Marchetta's gripping new novel Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a cracking fusion of suspense and heart-rending drama.

Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established she disappears.

Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.

With its cast of unforgettable characters, social insight and wry wit, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is an irresistible novel about human identity, lost children and the nature of real love.


Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a stunning marriage of global anguish and personal pain. It's often heartbreaking, sometimes heart-stopping, and definitely unforgettable

Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

Heart-pounding (and heartbreaking) . . . Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go until I'd read the last word - and shed the last tear

Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay and Leave Me

The complex, fast-moving plot, Marchetta’s vivid evocation of her characters, and her perfect ear for dialogue are seductive . . . An immersive reading experience

Australian Book Review

Marchetta . . . seems to have inside knowledge of the mysterious processes of the teenage brain. A busload of quarrelsome, immature adolescents doesn’t daunt her in the least . . . all stand out as individuals

Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

A novel of great scope, of past and present, and above all, the Marchetta trademark of a fierce and loving heart

Marcus Zusak

This is a cracking read that’s also timely and intelligent . . . Everything works together in this book . . . It’s a big, juicy story filled with many characters and Marchetta is a master storyteller. On occasion, even cynical reviewers stay up long past bedtime, nodding and turning pages. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil deserves to be on the bedside table of every crime fan

The Saturday Paper

[A] slick combination of crime thriller and family drama . . . The vibrant characters leap from the pages as Marchetta builds up the suspense to a superb crescendo

Women’s Weekly

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 17, 2017


    416 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Trade Paperback


    August 29, 2016

    Viking Australia

    416 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    August 29, 2016

    Penguin eBooks

    432 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory


Bish dreamt of his son again. It was what woke him. Not that he needed to pinpoint the reason these days. Three am had become his witching hour, and the fears that revealed themselves made him shud­der at the thought of all his future three am’s – of what they might produce. Shaking him awake and reminding him of loss and longing and mortality. He woke again hours later, dragging himself out of bed to the sameness that he’d become used to this past week. A blinding head­ache. A flat that looked like a university dorm: laundry piled high and a week’s worth of glasses fighting for space on his bedside table. A dead goldfish. That was becoming a ritual now. Another day, another dead fish.

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Book Clubs
Truth/Devil Reading Notes

Melina Marchetta’s Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil – a memorable book club choice.

Book List
Books of Melina Marchetta

A rough guide to some of the much-loved Australian author’s titles.

Awards and Recognition

  • Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards
    Highly commended
    Christina Stead Fiction Award
  • Indie Book Awards
    Indie Book Awards
  • Sisters in Crime Davitt Award
    Best crime

Also by Melina Marchetta

The Complete Lumatere Chronicles
Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children's Classics
Quintana of Charyn
Froi of the Exiles
Gorgon in the Gully: Pocket Money Puffin
The Piper's Son
Finnikin of the Rock
On the Jellicoe Road
Saving Francesca
Looking for Alibrandi


The Thirst
Make Me
The Black Book
The Girl on the Train
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Don't Let Go
The Couple Next Door
The Girl Who Was Taken
Never Never
I Am Pilgrim
If I Die Before I Wake
I Know a Secret
Look For Me
The Nowhere Man
The Chalk Man
Everything is Lies
Palace Of Treason
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