Creative Arts

“The Luminaries” Victorian Murder Mystery with an Astrological Twist: Eco Chick Reads

I can’t wait to read The Luminaries; it sounds like a delicious autumn/winter novel! The author is the youngest winner of the Man Booker prize (which is given out to authors from the UK or Commonwealth countries), at just 28. The video above is of Eleanor reading from the first chapter of the book that’s a Victorian murder mystery with an astrological twist.

The 2013 prize-winning book follows Walter Moody during the gold rush in New Zealand, where Catton grew up. On a recent visit to PBS NewsHour, the author describes “The Luminaries” as having two hemispheres. The first is an “straightforward murder mystery.” The second she describes as more “hidden.” It houses the books “astrological dance,” the structure that Catton created to construct each character who is based on a certain zodiac sign. In their emotional lives, “they reflect what is happening in the skies at that time.”

The Luminaries

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.