Come In Spinner

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Come in Spinner
First edition (publ. Heinemann)
Author Dymphna Cusack and Florence James
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Heinemann
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 416pp
Preceded by Pioneers on Parade
Followed by Say No to Death

Come In Spinner is an Australian novel by Dymphna Cusack and Florence James, originally published in 1951, and set in Sydney, Australia at the end of the second World War.[1]


The title refers to a phrase used in the Australian gambling game of two-up. "Come in spinner" is the call given by the game manager when all bets are placed and the coins are ready to be tossed.


The book tells the story of three women, Claire, Guinea, and Deb, who are co-workers in the beauty salon of an exclusive Sydney hotel. The story weaves together these characters with their familial and romantic relationships, as they struggle to manage the realities of working for the privileged upper classes, to whom no rules apply, while their own families cope with wartime deaths and losses, rationing, government manpower recruitment, and stiflingly conservative attitudes surrounding the role and perception of the "acceptable" behaviour of women.


The original novel was so controversial that it could only be published in abridged form. The characters' journeys cover such topics as abortion, adultery, prostitution and rape, as well as promiscuity and the black market. The book was restored to its original form by Florence James and republished in 1987, partly due to the interest caused by the development of a television adaptation of the book. Unfortunately Dymphna Cusack was not able to take part in this restoration or witness the renewed popularity of the novel, as she died in 1981.

Film and television[edit]

Come in Spinner
Based on novel by Dymphna Cusack and Florence James
Written by Lissa Benyon
Nick Enright
Directed by Robert Marchand
Starring Lisa Harrow
Kerry Armstrong
Rebecca Gibney
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
Original network ABC
Original release 28 March 1990

In the 1950s, film director Jack Lee expressed interest in making a movie out of the novel.[2]

In 1989-90, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation made a television mini-series based on the novel, starring Lisa Harrow, Kerry Armstrong and Rebecca Gibney. It was well received by critics and audiences, and was released on DVD in 2005.[3]


  1. ^ Austlit - Come in Spinner by Dymphna Cusack and Florence James
  2. ^ "LONDON.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 31 October 1952. p. 2. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p183

External links[edit]