24th - 26th August 2018
Power, Politics, Passion

Catherine McCullagh

Book Launch - Saturday 26 August, 12pm

Location: Ferguson Room, National Library of Australia

'Dancing with Deception' is a historical novel set primarily against the backdrop of occupied Paris during World War II. It is a story of deception, love, murder and betrayal that explores the issues of nuetrality, resistance and nobility in a time of war.

Catherine McCullagh completed a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) at the Australian National University in Canberra and taught English, History and languages at secondary and pre-tertiary level. She then embarked on a military career spending 20 years as an officer in the Australian Regular Army as a teacher and linguist. On leaving the Army she established herself as a freelance editor working primarily as a military history editor with the Australian Army History Unit. ‘Dancing with Deception’ is her first novel.


About the author

Catherine McCullagh has two published works to her name, Willingly into the Fray, a collection of narratives and reminiscences published to mark the centenary of Australian Army nursing which she edited and compiled, and War Child, the true story of a woman who grew up in pre-war Germany, which she co-authored with Annette Janic. Dancing with Deception is her first novel.


About the book

Marisa Carnarvon is an enigma to her family. In 1938 she turns her back on her family’s money and status and leaves her comfortable pre-war Sydney lifestyle to become a nurse in a London city hospital. Against the backdrop of looming conflict, she moves to a Red Cross hospital in Paris in July 1939, totally unprepared for the challenge of life in an occupied city.

In June 1940 the Germans invade Paris and the young nurse is soon pressured by the leader of the local resistance cell to work for the fledgling movement. Her life is further enmeshed by the arrival of a new Gestapo chief who sets out to seduce her.

Marisa’s position becomes increasingly precarious as the resistance hunts for a traitor in the organisation. Suspicion falls on one of the hospital’s doctors and he is murdered, throwing Marisa into the resistance firing line.

As the war approaches its climax, Marisa’s Gestapo lover flees and the young nurse follows. In the aftermath of the conflict, the ghosts of his past return and Marisa discovers that he is tortured by a secret which threatens to crush him. It is only then that she confronts the truth behind the man who danced with deception.

Dancing with Deception is published by Big Sky Publishing.

Buy this book from the festival's bookshop partner Dymocks.

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