The Girls (1997) 3rd edition, with illustrations (2005). 264pp, $24.95

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About Robin Levett
After mixed fortune at school (expelled from one, The Hermitage, Geelong, for setting fire to it, and Head Girl of the next, Toorak College, Mt Eliza) she went to the National Gallery School, winning the coveted Travelling Scholarship. She then had a brief sojourn in the navy, working with the fledgling Signals Intelligence organisation in Albert Park, before service with WAS(B) in Burma at the end of WW2. All this and a lot more is the subject of her first book, The Girls. This book appeared twice in the Age bestseller lists.
    An event while she was in Burma inspired her last book, a novella entitled The Rangoon Incident. Its opening words are engaging: "I sat beside a murder once..."

The Rangoon Incident (October 2007) O/P

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Bloodstock (1999) 218pp $21.95

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The greater part of her adult life was spent in the thoroughbred industry, her contribution being to run two studs, Lyndhurst Lodge and Willowmavin, and to own some very successful racehorses, which won many of the top prizes in Australian racing. (Exception: the Melbourne Cup, where her best was a third.) Her racing career culminated in five years as President of the Kilmore Turf Club, and then being voted First Lady of Australian Racing.
    These experiences gave her the material for two books, one of fact (Bloodstock) and one of fiction (Alice and Sin). The Sydney Morning Herald described the former as ‘one of the best [books about the industry] … it benefits from her being an accomplished writer of both fiction and non-fiction.’

Alice and Sin (1998) 216pp $19.95

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The Shikari (1997) 225 pp, $19.95

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If there were two great loves in Robin Levett's life, they were fly-fishing and Kashmir. The two came together in The Shikari, which opens with an account of fly fishing in the paradise that was Kashmir in the 1970s and 80s. The second part covers the early 1990s, when paradise turned to hell on earth as Kashmuir was torn apart by civil strife. Robin Levett went back there every year, at considerable personal risk, to give help and support to the guides and houseboat staff who had served her so well in happier times.

Fishing also occupies a chapter in Flying and other experiences, but the core of the book is three brilliant essays on learning to fly and learning how to jump out of aeroplanes on a parachute.  

Flying and other experiences (2006) O/P

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Jirrahlinga (2002). 216pp, hardback with jacket, $39.95

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Robin also wrote two unusual biographies. The first was Jirrahlinga, the story of Tehree Gordon, the onrtime Senior Citizen of the Year, and the wildlife refuge at Barwon Heads of which she was the extraordinary creator.

The second was of her lifelong friend Claudia Creswick, a woman who broke almost as many rules as she did. The book is a literary tour de force: Robin used the unusual device of telling the story as the recollections of a person with Alzheimer's, very vague about what was happening around her but with the clear recollection of the past. The outcome is a very vivid warts-and-all account of a person who, like Robin, has a very special place in many people's memories.

I Claudia (2005), 152 pp, illustrated, $19.95.

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