Sydney in the 1950s. On the second floor of the famous F. G. Goode department store, in Ladies' Cocktail Frocks, the women in black are girding themselves for the Christmas rush. Among the staff—Patty Williams with her wayward husband Frank, the sweet but unlucky Fay, faithful Mrs Jacob of the measuring tape—is Lisa, the new Sales Assistant (Temporary), who is waiting for the results of her Leaving Certificate. Across the floor and beyond the arch, Lisa will meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns.
With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence. The Women in Black is a great novel, a lost Australian classic.