A remarkable story, and a remarkable piece of writing.

So who is it who cleans up the mess left behind after a suicide or a murder – that mess of human blood and faeces, the vermin and the rubbish?

Turns out it’s Sandra Pankhurst, whose professional cleaning service takes on the most horrific scenes, both in dysfunctional life or after brutal death.

It also turns out she’s even more startling and fascinating than the job she does. It is a circuitous path that connects Sandra to the person she was when young – Peter, tall blond husband and father to two boys.

Between those two points – young man, ageing woman –  is not just her transgender transformation, but the long path from public pariah to respected businesswoman. She’s been a drag queen, a prostitute, married again, run a hardware store, suffered violence and rape, lived large and been left with nothing.

Large parts of her life are a mystery to her – was she present at the birth of her sons? She has no idea.

But she has fought to do her best every step of the way. Sarah Krasnostein’s exploration of her amazing life is sensitive and fascinating.

This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine. The book was published in October 2017