A friend recommended this volume. It’s an interesting story about an escaped convict William Buckley who eluded the authorities for a long time. The author Adam Courtenay who is the son of Bryce Courtenay. The book encompasses British social history, early colonial history as well as Aboriginal history in and around Melbourne between 1800 and early 1830s.There is some insights into the troubled time in Tasmania with land grabs, relations with aboriginal people. William Buckley was a convict who was sentenced to transportation landing in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He wound up in what was an early attempt to colonise the area around Port Phillip Bay. He managed with others to escape custody and elude the authorities for many years. Living amongst the local Aboriginal people, he did overtime gain an understanding their language and customs. William Buckley’s story has been reconstructed from two accounts. One is form a minister of religion and the other a journalist. According to the author the journalist account is somewhat sensationalised probably to appeal to popular audiences at the time. There are holes in Buckley’s story in part due to him being illiterate and not very articulate. He does come across as being sympathetic to the plight of aboriginal people. He was caught between the colonisers and the aboriginal people with whom he had lived. It an easy book to read and provides some insight into the early colonial days form both sides. What is most interesting is the aboriginal side of the story that is often miss-told or not told at all.
This is the seventh in the Logan McCrae series. This time the crime is an abduction and involves a reality TV show. One of the contestants and her child are abducted. As is the case with this genre our hero Logan, “Laz” McRae is always in some sort of bother with his superiors. Stuart McBride’s writing is fast paced and laced with humour much of it dark. The main cast does change much form book to book but this shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent to picking up any in the series. There is enough reference within the book to get a sense of the characters and their relationships. The longsuffering Logan is rewarded for his hard work in this tale. McBride manages a not so subtle dig at external experts that come in to solve. This is a feature of modern organizations. They turn up unannounced and tell you the bleeding obvious. It does end up with some amusing results. There is quite a good surprise twist at the end that I won’t attempt to spoil here. Thankfully, there are more books to come in this series
Cannot believe that I have made it to the end of the sixth instalment. This story has more threads than a Persian rug. It starts with a high profile sex offender who gets parole and lands in Aberdeen. Logan or Laz to his friends ends up as part of the squad that has to keep him safe. There are some of the usual suspects notably DI Steele Logan’s boss. I do find Stuart McBride’s descriptions of DI Steele endlessly amusing, as are his descriptions of other ne’er-do-wells. The crimes are often grim and require some humour along the way. An honourable mention must go to DS Biohazard Bob. The tangle of intersecting and weaving story lines makes for an enjoyable read. McRae’s ageing Fiat is also quite a character in the story. I imagine a red car held together with duct tape. Professional standards are never far away in Logan McRae’s world and this story does not disappoint in that regard. It is good to see the slow but inevitable passing of peripheral but regular characters as you would find in any workplace with lots of staff. Dark Blood keeps giving up its twisted secrets right to the end. Must be time for number 7.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars The fifth instalment in the series. Our hero Logan McRae or Laz to those who try to taunt him is up to his neck in trouble again. This is a particularly gruesome series of murders and attacks. Indeed some of the victims actually survive the attacks. The clue is in the title. Our fearless detective sergeant finds himself in Poland of all places.
As in previous instalments Logan is at the beck and call of more than one detective inspector none more so than DI Steel. MacBride’s descriptions of her makes you wonder if he had anyone in mind when he created the character. Anyone would be horrified if they thought it was them. Logan gets drawn into DI Steel’s personal issues with quite a twist. This is of course a subplot as is Logan’s love life which has its own peculiarities.
The main theme or crime is quite good. Indeed, it is a good yarn and this one was longer than its predecessors. I have tried to avoid going into the main plot for fear of spoiling it. These novels are not an advertisement for Aberdeen. This is the fifth that I have read in order and you could be forgiven for thinking Aberdeen is the serial killer capital of the world.
Ratchatcher is is the first in a series of novels featuring Matthew Hawkwood as the main character written by James McGee. Based on the Bow Street runners before the advent of more formalised police investigations. Certainly, an atmospheric novel and quite the page turner. Our hero Matthew Hawkwood is part detective and part action hero. Lots of murders and shadowy deals.
I did think that the book was getting into fantasy land but the notes at the end of the book put some context to the goings. I like historical fiction so long as it doesn’t stray too far from what’s plausible. The early 19th century isn’t a period of history that I’m overly familiar with so I was thankful for the notes at the end.
This was holiday read that I picked up quite cheaply and was an enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading another one in the future.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars I heard the author being interviewed on radio. I am trying to write this in a way not to give too much away. The story of Oleg Gordievsky is fascinating and, in many ways, mirrors a Le Carre spy novel. The big difference is that it actually happened. It’s just fascinating with so many twists and turns and turns. Oleg Gordievsky is from KGB aristocracy his father and brother both were in the service. This makes his eventual defection to MI6 really intriguing. Much of what happens follows a maxim if you have to choose between “a stuff up and a conspiracy always go for a stuff up”.
Ben Macintyre has put together an easy to read and entertaining book straight form the annals of the cold war. It provides and insight into how some of the KGB operations worked and the machinations of its bureaucracy. I thoroughly enjoyed the spy and the Traitor.
Angel Of Death: Dulcie Markham, Australia’s most beautiful bad woman
I heard about Angel of Death from a podcast Conversations which airs on ABC in Australia. The author was discussing the book and its subject. You can listen to the author Leigh Straw on Conversations. It’s often the case that my interest in books is piqued by an interview with the author. This is apparently the third in a series of books on women in the Australian underworld during the 1920’s and !930’s. The other title s focus on Lillian Armfield Australia’s first woman detective and another notorious woman called Kate Leigh. This is a world I am not familiar with at all the prevailing narrative is one of male dominated crime.
Dulcie Markham’s life is astounding starting off as a runaway at age 15 and gradually moving into a world of prostitution. This is at a time when Sydney was a dangerous place. There were gangs on the streets that used razors as weapons. Dulcie Markham progressed through this underworld arguable reaching her peak in the 1940s. What makes her notorious is the number of men in her life that met a grizzly end. This is how she attracted the moniker of the Angel of Death. They did not die at her hands.
Angel of death is an interesting social history that throws some light in the underworlds of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth during the period. Dulcie Markham was quite the survivor.
The second instalment in the Gereon Rath Series by Volker Kutscher. I have read the previous volume Babylon Berlin. Rath presents himself as a man who does not play well with teams. He also has a capacity to annoy his superiors. Running off at tangents disobeying direct orders in the pursuit of clues or hunches. Then just keep to keep things complicated girlfriend troubles. The investigations in the Silent Death are set in an around the world of movies. It’s a time in the Weimar Republic when movies are making the transition to “talkies” from silent films. Rath finds himself caught between the egos of rival film makers and entitled actors. In this the feverish Weimar Berlin may be in the grasp of a serial killer. I was troubled by the term serial killer being used in this book set in 1930s. A quick check on google indicates the term is generally credited to an FBI agent Robert Ressler around 1974. That small grumble aside it was a good read with enough plot twists to me engaged.
A Murder to Die For by Stevyn Colgan is outside my usual Nordic Noir type of reading. It is an a very funny tale set in an idyllic English village. Think Agatha Christie or Midsummers Murders and you get the idea. The whole premise is set against a festival celebrating a fictional celebrating a famous but dead crime writer Agnes Crabbe. The festival is crowded Milly Cutter looks a likes Agnes Crabbe’s famous detective. There a clashes between rival Agnes Crabbe appreciation societies. Then comes the obligatory murder and gruesome it is.
A murder to Die is a delight easy to read and quite funny in parts. Lots of confusing characters and red herrings. The village is awash with wannabe amateur sleuths getting in the way of the police. It all comes to a head in the space of a weekend. The other notable feature of the book is that it was published by Unbound which is essentially a crowd funding company that helps unpublished authors.
Thoroughly enjoyed A Murder to Die For.
I heard the authors speaking on the radio about this volume both work at Adelaide Un9versity . I have never actually read a history of South Australia. This is despite living in south Australia most of my life. Its a chronological history which centres on european settlement and is not unsympathetic to aboriginal people. I found the earlier history up until about 1900 more interesting. According to the authors there were about 700 Kaurna people living on the Adelaide plains when the english settlers arrived in 1836. What is remarkable is that by 1840 there were nearly 15000 european settlers in South Australia and they had already settled across the colony. Money and farming seem to have been the drivers for settlement. South Australia did not have a penal colony. The authors paint South Australia as a contradictory place of innovation and conservative social values which fluctuate over time. I think it’s well written and worth reading if you in South Australia or are just curious.