AustLit logo
David Owen David Owen i(A18087 works by) (a.k.a. David Donald Owen)
Born: Established: 1956
Southern Africa, Africa,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1986
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


David Owen was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in Malawi and Swaziland before completing his high school and university education in South Africa at the University of Capetown. In 1981 he moved with his wife to London where he worked for several years with the British Council. In 1986 he moved to Melbourne, staying there until he settled in Tasmania in 1990.

Owen has written several novels. The first two, Eden and Venter and Son, were published together in 1988 and drew on his experience in South Africa. He has since written several novels in the 'Pufferfish' crime series and Thylacine: The Tragic Tale of the Tasmanian Tiger (2003), which was republished as Tasmanian Tiger: The Tragic Tale of How the World Lost its Most Mysterious Predator (2004), and Shark: In Peril in the Sea (2009). He also co-authored Tasmanian Devil: a Unique and Threatened Animal (2005) with David Pemberton. Owen has been editor of the literary magazine, Island, a role he began in 1999.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Big Red Rock Hobart : Fuller's Bookshop , 2017 12813240 2017 single work novel mystery

'Say it's not so, but detective squads still put their faith in the whiteboard and texta, brainstorming difficult cases. Like this:

1. Hildvi dies. Accident, suicide, murder?
2. Wayne, distraught.
3. Josh, Ange, impeccable alibis.
4. Mrs Ellicott swears she heard a scream.
5. Kurt Cowboy - mysterious, dangerous, no known ID.
6. Operation Centipede - Brisbane, "colourful identity" Marko Kaljurand.
7. Fishscale, Charlie, Blow, Wogan = best quality cocaine.
8. Uluru... Sorry, wrong whiteboard? No. Correct whiteboard. Add Alice Springs.

'Seeking answers to myriad tricky questions, Detective Inspector Franz Heineken, aka Pufferfish, aka long-time Aussie blow-in, knows where he must go - to the two Australian places he never wanted to investigate, let alone re-visit: the fabled Red Centre, and his ethically questionable past.' (Publication Summary)

2018 longlisted Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing Best Novel
y separately published work icon How the Dead See Hobart : Forty South Publishing , 2011 Z1777662 2011 single work novel crime 'The theft of a valuable diamond necklace, and the death by apparent suicide of a notorious film star, have nothing in common. Nothing except Detective Franz Heineken, aka Pufferfish, scourge of an island's villains and a deadly match for it unpredictable, unsettling crimes.

'At the tail end of an oppressively hot Tasmanian summer, Pufferfish is called upon to investigate a death that looks like a suicide and [smells] like suicide. But Rory Stillrock, once a big screen Hollywood bad boy - popular celluloid CIA agent real life party animal and sex addict - had good reason to live. His hidden southern Tasmanian mansion, and those who were closest to him and his wealth, slowly, reluctantly, begin to offer up clues. Not that Pufferfish is in a hurry...

'Meanwhile he knows very well who nicked the diamond necklace valued at over two hundred thousand dollars, from a stately Hobart home. Just a small matter of proving same. Not easy when you're up against Fink Mountgarrett, master thief with a very soft footprint. But the patient task becomes incendiary when Fink falls foul of the island's controversial new mandatory sentencing laws. Was he set up? Surely Pufferfish wouldn't stoop so low...

'There's only one way to find out.' (From the publisher's website.)
2011 nominated Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing Best Novel
y separately published work icon No Weather for a Burial Hobart : Forty Degrees South , 2010 Z1695165 2010 single work novel crime 'Pufferfish, aka Detective Inspector Franz Heineken, scourge of Tasmania’s villains is back. And back with a refreshed vengence. Pufferfish, prickly, curmudgeonly and irony-charged as everm has to neutralise a new stench in his island paradise.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 nominated Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing Best Novel
Last amended 27 Jan 2010 16:54:00
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: