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  • australia of the 1940's

    This is a great series, the pace is quick and the characters are easily to identify with. I really love this series of books. A reminder of dark times in Australia. If you like to guess who "done" it you may not like as you know who is the killer is but this offers the mind set of the murderer which makes it really interesting.

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  • Gripping Australian historical crime fiction.

    The Port Fairy Murders is the second book in the Holiday Murders series by Australian author, Robert Gott, and follows on directly from the first book. While several of the perpetrators of crimes over the holiday period of 1943 were killed or apprehended, a particularly nasty acolyte of Ptolemy Jones evaded capture. George Starling has scores to settle, and he plans to start with Detective Sergeant Joe Sable, making this fact clear to Joe in a phone call. Joe is still recovering from his injuries, so DI Titus Lambert takes Constable Helen Lord and, newly recruited to Homicide, DS David Reilly, down to Warrnambool to check out the Starling family farm, and question a number of National Socialist enthusiasts, known attendees of John Starling’s gatherings, about George. George proves to be a slippery character, endowed with both intelligence and luck, managing to arm himself with transport and substantial funds, then engaging in some arson while again avoiding police. Back in Melbourne, thwarted in his mission by what is a close call for Joe Sable, he indulges himself with a bit of luxury, another bout of arson that takes a life, and then amuses himself culling “queers”. The danger and destruction wrought by this cold and calculating felon result in billeted accommodation for several of Melbourne’s Homicide team. They are kept busy with this string of crimes, and Titus has to deal with some homophobic detectives from CIB, setting David Reilly to keep an eye on them when he has to send Joe and Helen to Port Fairy at the request of his old friend, Warrnambool DI Greg Halloran. Port Fairy fish broker, Matthew Todd and his sister, Rose Abbot have been murdered at the home of their aunt, Agnes Todd, and she claims they met this fate at the hands of her mentally deficient brother, Selwyn. After careful examination of the scene and enquiries made of involved parties, neither Halloran nor Helen and Joe are convinced of that version of events. What occurs next teaches them that not every case can be neatly resolved. In this second instalment, the reader becomes more familiar with Lambert’s team, as they are becoming more accustomed to each other. While some on the team lie to cover for their own errors and inadequacies, Titus is much more perceptive than they realise, and his wife, Maude, privy to every detail of his cases, is even moreso. She maintains that “the solving of cases depended as much on the carelessness and stupidity of the perpetrators as on the deductive powers of the detectives.” Gott easily evokes the era, with a community mindset pervaded by homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance, fear and derision of mental deficiency, and a culture of corruption within the police force. Availability of only the most basic crime scene investigation meaning that detectives need to rely heavily on their powers of observation. A kidnapping provides a dramatic climax, and the activities of certain corrupt police and the uncertainty of Helen’s place on the team provide plenty of scope for the next instalment, The Autumn Murders. Gripping Australian historical crime fiction.

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