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Iris is a work of historical fiction, combining the story of notorious Sydney crime figure Iris Webber with the author's insights into an intelligent woman driven to desperate measures.

Deemed the most violent woman in Sydney, Iris Webber was a notorious criminal active in Sydney from the 1930s to the 1950s. Archival newspapers, police records and court records from the time weave together the factual accounts of Webber’s life in Sydney, her associations and the numerous crimes she committed. From these reports, she was a petty thief and murderer, sold bootleg alcohol during Prohibition, and was also arrested several times for the crime of busking. Her infamy reached new heights when she was arrested for the shooting of rival Bill Smillie and the murder of Slim Maley.

In this work of historical fiction, McGregor draws upon these accounts of Webber’s life and explores the motives behind her actions and the string of crimes she committed. Though she was recorded in history as a violent criminal, McGregor paints an alternative portrait of an independent and resourceful woman who escapes a loveless and cruel marriage to seek financial independence in the big city – only to arrive in Sydney at the outset of the depression. Faced with unemployment, she turned to prostitution to make a living and from there was swept up into the criminal underworld of Sydney.

Webber’s friends and the people who played an influential role in her life in Sydney were often women and people living on the fringes of society, ostracised for their race, gender or sexual orientation. McGregor vividly depicts the criminal underbelly of Sydney during the 1930s whilst exploring how these criminals, often from marginalised groups, were disproportionately targeted by the police and forced to band together to overcome the brutalities they faced.

This book is a deliberate portrayal of someone who is not just a violent criminal, but also an intelligent woman desperate to be the driving force of her own destiny in a world where men dominated and controlled women.