Skinny Louie, daughter of Shanghai Lil, has a baby in the Begonia House on the day of the royal visit. Maura finds the baby and takes it home. Tia grows up with magical powers into the brave new world of the twenty-first century. Fiona Farrell's The Skinny Louie Book - always moving, often hilarious - is a breathtakingly accomplished debut. It presents a head-on confrontation with a New Zealand psyche rarely found in history books.
The Skinny Louie Book (1992), which was Fiona Farrell's first novel, won the 1993 New Zealand Book Award for Fiction. Her novels The Hopeful Traveller (2002) and Book Book (2004) were runners-up at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2003 and 2005 respectively. Her most recent novel was 2009's Limestone.