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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Mystery Bay True Crime Author Talks 'Drug Grannies'

Mystery Bay author Sandi Logan will begin his south coast author's tour at the Bega Library in September, followed by Batemans Bay and then Narooma Libraries, 'spilling the beans' on the inside story of the two most unlikely drug-running grannies in Australian history.

Logan's book -- BETRAYED (Hachette) -- was released in June and has attracted widespread acclaim from readers and journalists alike for his extensive research and storytelling, based on the author's exclusive access to the prisoners Vera 'Toddie' Hays and Florice 'Beezie' Bessire whose diaries, letters and photos he features in his first book.

The feedback has included comments such as: "one of the best books I've read", "fantastic", "what an incredible true story", "a could-not-put-down-'till-finished-book", "fabulous", "such a good read", "so well told", "I don't want to put it down", "a riveting but immensely sad tale" and "I can't believe the politics of it all".

Bega Library will host an author's talk on 16 September at 11 .30am and bookings are expected to fill up quickly as the key demographic which was closely attuned to the American women's case which involved the importation of almost two tonnes of hashish secreted in the base of an 8m Mercedes-Benz campervan makes up over 30% of the shire's population.

"About a third of the Bega community of 35,000 residents were either just entering their teens or well into 20s at the time the Drug Grannies, as they were dubbed by the media, were busted and then jailed," said Logan, a 10-year Mystery Bay resident who splits his time writing on the coast and playing ice hockey based in Canberra. "In Eurobodalla, it's almost half of the 40,000 residents who will well remember this story as they're now at that age - 50 to 75-years-old, and older -- when they were teens or well into their 20s and 30s when this story broke.

"Many people will know a little about this story from the extensive news reporting it attracted in the late 70s, and for those people who weren't around then, the enormous size of the drugs shipment, the lengthy jail sentence and the various well-known identities involved tell an incredible historical tale of drugs, crime and corruption," Logan added.

Author talks at Batemans Bay Library on 4 October, and then at Narooma Library on 5 October will complete the tour.

"The NSW south coast has a vibrant and eclectic arts and cultural community, with many live performance spaces and festivals, inspiring mentoring hubs, plenty of experienced performers, artists and writers with whom to share ideas, and really supportive local communities all the way from Eden up north to Batemans Bay," Logan said.

"As a local, I owe it to the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire communities to share an author's perspective with them about how I came across this story in 1977, became heavily invested in the women's lives and their fate, and then fought for the women's freedom in order to see them released and returned to their home in the USA," he added.

The author will share exclusive photos and documents with attendees at his talks, as well as take questions at each session. Candelo Books will be on hand to sell copies of BETRAYED in Bega, and the author will autograph books either purchased at the event or which attendees bring with them to be signed.

Bookings -- the talks are free -- are strongly recommended for all three events.

Bega Library 16 Sept at 11.30am

Batemans Bay Library 4 Oct at 5.30pm

Narooma Library 5 Oct at 5.30pm

The relentlessly fascinating, sometimes hilarious and often jaw-dropping true story of two American women who became unwitting drug mules by driving a hashish-laden campervan from Stuttgart to Bombay, then later to Australia, where they were arrested and jailed.


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