Colours of Death – Robert New

Suzie Eisfelder

One of those books I picked up, without the song, at Continuum last year. I also used it for the Dymocks Reading Challenge 2020 for the Book with a colour in the title category. ‘Continuum is Melbourne’s annual fan run speculative fiction and pop culture convention’, I reckon it’s aimed at writers but their website is more inclusive than me and includes readers as well. If you’re interested you should definitely go, it’s great fun…except not this year. As you’re all aware (and I will stop mentioning it in every post) many things have been cancelled or postponed. Continuum has been postponed until next year, it will still be worth attending next year. I’ve actually got the con book from last year on my TBR pile, you can see the video here if you’re that way inclined, it has a lot of fiction from some top notch authors, but more about that when I get to it.

Onto the book I’m meant to be writing about. It’s an anthology of detective stories, following the same detective and following the theme of colours. Each story has a different colour as the title and that colour is plays a role in the mystery. It was great. I love the ingenuity of the author in figuring out some of the deaths. I’d never thought of any of those methods before so each one was a real eye-opener.

I’m going to look at just one story. This will be spoilers, but I can’t figure out how to write it without.

It’s about the murder of many people. The murder itself was rather clever and the way the detective figured it out was good thinking with a bit of inspiration from his fiancee talking about nothing in particular. And this is one of those things. I’ve had great inspiration for something I was writing because my brain is distracted and thinking about something entirely different. But the part I can’t decide if it’s absolutely brilliant writing or just a typo is a little piece of dialogue. Bearing in mind that the entire emergency services are responding to a call out at a very prestigious school which would rattle even the most hardy person I’m going to assume this is brilliant writing. I’m bearing in mind that at that point in the story they were talking about two hundred dead.

The thing I don’t like is that this is a short story, I would have much preferred to have had this specific story take more time and be much longer, much more like a novel. Some of the stories I felt worked as short stories, others I felt would be better with a much longer format.

So, do I recommend it? Oh, definitely. And you can buy your copy here, they will be very happy to post it to you. And you’ll be happy that you’ve supported an Australian author.

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