Nowhere to Hide by Mavis Thorpe Clark

Melbourne: Lansdowne, 1969.
188 pages; hard-cover; 23cm; b/w illus by Genevieve Melrose.

About the story

"The winter months of 1942 are a critical time for Australia when invasion by the Japanese is considered imminent. Australians have become the custodians of thousands of prisoners-of-war with camps set up in Victoria and other States.

The South Gippsland farm of Bracken is a long way from the fighting, and here Emily Brewster and her five children carry on the normal activities of the dairy farm within the limits of rationing of essential commodities, lack of man-power, and the absence of the father fighting in the Middle East.

Their cousin Roger has been dispatched from Sydney by his mother after the Japanese submarine raids there, to the safety, as she thinks, of isolated Bracken.

But when two German prisoners-of-war escape from Murchison P.O.W. camp and hide in a cave on an island in Backwater Creek at Bracken, Roger is propelled into far greater danger than his mother could possibly have imagined."

- Nowhere to Hide (1969) blurb.

Background

"At the end of 1943, my full-length book writing began again with a novel for young people entitled The Mystery of the Island. It was a 60,000 word story of the escape of a German prisoner of war in the region of Gippsland. It was accepted by my original publishers, Whitcombe and Tombs, and was again bought outright. The war finished, however, before they managed to publish and their decision was that the public wanted to turn its back on all things of war, including war books. Years later, I bought back the manuscript from Whitcombe and Tombs for the original price paid to me. Rewritten it was published by Lansdowne Press in 1969 under the title of Nowhere to Hide."

- Trust the Dream (1999) page 67

Excerpt

"(Roger watched) the sand-dune. Anyone hiding there couldn't move without revealing himself. Roger turned towards the hill, hands in his pocket. He'd have to climb that hillock. If he went round it, the man would go round it, too, and they'd play hide-and-seek with each other.

Suddenly he took a running leap at the sandy slope, and smiled as he looked down at the other side. The man was there all right, crouched in a scoop between the tall clumps of spiky grass.

"Hi!" he called. "What're you doing there?"…

"I was hiding from you," the man said evenly."

- Nowhere to Hide (1969) page 63.

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Cover: image of soldiers and families parting at the docks.

Cover of 1969 edition of Nowhere to Hide.

illustration of the two teenagers looking in the kitchen door.

"Jim stepped forward and quietly turned the door knob. It was not locked. The clear tiny flame of the candle burning in the middle of the kitchen table was the first thing they saw, and then old Thomas. He was tied to one of his wooden chairs, arms lashed behind him and his mouth gagged."
Nowhere to Hide (1969) pages 174-175.