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‘Before You Knew My Name is so many things at once: a classic murder mystery and a genre-defying trailblazer, a lament for the dead and a celebration of life, a book to linger over and a fast-moving page-turner. Beautiful, brilliant and strangely joyous, Jacqueline Bublitz’s debut will have you in its thrall from its powerful first page to its superb conclusion.’

ROSE CARLYLE, author of Girl in the Mirror

‘I loved this addictive and utterly captivating debut, part Whodunnit, part Who was she? It asked all sorts of compelling questions about how society views and judges women, even after death. There is darkness but also a beautiful light that shines through this very special novel. I couldn’t put it down.’

SARAH BAILEY, author of Where the Dead Go

‘This astonishing debut turns the traditional crime story on its head. With a startling voice that compels us to listen, the indomitable victim Alice insists that we remember her life, not her death. Darkly funny, deeply insightful and completely heartbreaking, this novel shows us two very different women, uniquely connected by death, and both searching for hope.’

PETRONELLA McGOVERN, author of Six Minutes

‘With this astonishing novel, Jacqueline Bublitz has accomplished what is so rare in today’s world: she has given voice to those women whose lives have been first ended by men, and then reduced by public narrative to live on through the imagining of only their final moments. This book is brave, brutal and, despite its subject matter, ultimately life-affirming. It speaks to the strength and complexity of women, to female friendships and to the solidarity and bond we share with each other as we all try to survive this world and all the benign evil it threatens us with. This book will ignite dinner tables and Zoom groups all over the country, which is just as it should be.’

CLEMENTINE FORD, author of Fight Like A Girl

‘A wake-up call, beautifully written and a unique feminist exploration of the crime story genre, giving voice and life to those characters who are rarely given that agency, whose names rarely go beyond “dead girl” and “woman who found the body”. Meet Alice Lee and Ruby Jones.’

R.W.R. McDONALD, author of The Nancys

‘Unpredictable, devastating and original, Before You Knew My Name marks the arrival of a compelling new voice. Bublitz certainly knows how to create convincing characters. From the first page, she tossed me onto the emotional rollercoaster and locked me in for the ride. Heartbreak and hope interwoven. Power in friendship. Fighting fear. At the end, I was left deeply moved. Thought-provoking and challenging. Isn’t that what you want from a book?’

KAREN VIGGERS, author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife

‘Beguiling, heartbreaking and tender. Jacqueline Bublitz is a beautiful writer and in Alice Lee, she has created a vivid and sparkling narrator who mesmerised me from the very first page and still won’t let me go.’

SUZANNE LEAL, author of The Teacher’s Secret

‘An unputdownable debut—striking, moving, gripping throughout and so sharp on the things that unite us.’

ELIZABETH KAY, author of Seven Lies

‘A really remarkable book—so fresh and original. I’ve never read anything quite like this.’

LAURA BARNETT, author of The Versions of Us

‘Exquisitely composed, with a muscular feminist sensibility, Before You Knew My Name is both elegiac and rhapsodic in its examination of the deaths—and lives—of women.’

JESSICA MOOR, author of The Keeper

‘I absolutely relished this clever, original and moving novel. Jacqueline Bublitz is a fantastically adept writer, creating a wonderful cast of characters and a hugely engaging portrait of city life.’

NELL FRIZZELL, author of The Panic Years

‘I fell head over heels in love with this heartbreaking, beautiful and hugely important novel. Jacqueline Bublitz’s prose is luminous and the up-all-night, just-one-more-page plot is brilliantly clever and original. Everyone should read this book.’

ROSIE WALSH, author of The Man Who Didn’t Call

Jacqueline ‘Rock’ Bublitz is a writer, feminist, and arachnophobe who lives between Melbourne, Australia and her hometown on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. She wrote her debut novel Before You Knew My Name after spending a summer in New York, where she hung around morgues and the dark corners of city parks (and the human psyche) far too often. She is now working on her second novel, where she continues to explore the grand themes of love, loss and connection.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First published in 2021

Copyright © Jacqueline Bublitz 2021

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to the Copyright Agency (Australia) under the Act.

The extract on p. vii is from Storming the Gates of Paradise (University of California Press; First edition (June 18, 2007)). Copyright Rebecca Solnit 2007. Reproduced by permission of the author.

Lyrics on p. vii, 29 and 326 from ‘Theme From “New York, New York”’. Music by John Kander. Words by Fred Ebb. Copyright © 1977 (Renewed) United Artists Corporation. All rights controlled and administered by EMI UNART CATALOG INC. (Publishing) and ALFRED MUSIC (Print). All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of ALFRED MUSIC.

Allen & Unwin

83 Alexander Street

Crows Nest NSW 2065


Phone:(61 2) 8425 0100

Email:[email protected]

ISBN 978 1 76087 885 6

eISBN 978 1 76106 147 9

Set by Bookhouse, Sydney

Cover design: Lisa White

Cover photography: Alamy and Shutterstock


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