Mr. Scobie’s Riddle
Elizabeth Jolley

A New York Times Notable Book

An accident lands octogenarian Mr. Scobie in a ramshackle nursing home in Australia, run by the domineering Matron Hyacinth Price. At first he spends his time listening to classical music and reciting Wordsworth and the Bible, but gradually a disturbing side of the home reveals itself: nocturnal card sharks, carousing fueled by medicinal brandy, and an ongoing extortion of the residents’ financial assets. Scobie decides he must get out as quickly as possible. To protect himself (and his fragile memories and dreams) he rebels through a unique recourse—his very simple riddle. Can a voice calling for dignity be heard?

“With the publication of Mr. Scobie’s Riddle, Elizabeth Jolley joins the handful of Australian writers... of whom it may be said that their books are able to alter the direction of one’s inner life.”
—Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World

“A satire of great verve and acerbity.”
—Thomas Disch, New York Times Book Review

Elizabeth Jolley was born in 1923 in England and moved to Australia when she was in her thirties. She published her first book when she was fifty-three and went on to become one of Australia’s most celebrated authors. In the United States, her novels were excerpted in The New Yorker and elsewhere, and critically acclaimed. Her works include Foxybaby, Mr. Scobie’s Riddle, The Sugar Mother, and The Vera Wright Trilogy. She died in 2007.

Paperback / $15.95 (Can $17.00) / ISBN 978-0-89255-369-3 / 226 pages / Fiction