Another of the books recommended to me by Helena’s Curiosity Shop. Probably my favourite pre-loved book shop. Not just another recommendation, but another good book. I’ll be hoping to find more by this author.
Set in 1942 in Maryborough, Queensland. This novel is a detective story with an incompetent actor and incompetent detective. They are the same person, but he thinks he’s the bees knees and can do everything better than anyone else. He’s got an eye for the ladies, but only wants those who are young and good looking. The entire book is seen through William Power’s eyes and the writing is good enough for us to see how much William thinks of himself and how little everyone else thinks of him.
Things I found interesting.
While our good friend, William, is investigating the first murder he stumbles across the second murder. The man he comes across in the house tells him to wipe all the surfaces he’s touched. ‘Aha!’ my brain goes. ‘This is to get rid of fingerprints’. Many years ago I had the chance to become a fingerprint analyst, a part of me wonders how my life would have gone if I’d accepted that job. If I had taken that job I would have known that fingerprinting was first used in 1892 in Argentina to solve murders. As it is I had to google that information, I wanted to check that this technique had been used as early as 1942, but I needn’t have worried as identifying people by their fingerprints predated that decade considerably.
To illustrate my previous point I’ll include a paragraph from the book.
‘That’s because you always put your ego before your common sense. Most people would be happy to not to be called a psychopath. You feel slighted, as if a skill of yours is being impugned.’
I loved this paragraph. The speaker is a policeman who’s taken a dislike to William Power. He figures William is not the murderer because he’s made a character assessment. As the clues pile in the policeman gets to continue to make his assessment of William. And the word ‘impugned’ is such a good word.
In a chance discussion about the war we discover that William knows next to nothing about his fellow actors. He’s meant to be leading the troupe, getting the gigs and arranging the plays, but he has no idea if any of them have family overseas in the war or anywhere else. This just adds to the summation that William loves himself above all else.
I loved seeing Maryborough during the war. It was fun to see how it worked, how much distance there was between places, and to get some idea of the jobs that were needed for the war effort. And I enjoyed seeing it in 1942.
One thing I need to do is finish up writing about this book. In checking up on one or two things in more detail so I can write about them I find myself sinking back into the book. I’m glad this is book one and was published in 2004, it gives me hope that there will be more books by this author. There’s a long time between 2004 and today, plenty for most authors to write a book or two. I say ‘most’ as George R. R. Martin is notorious for taking his time with his writing.
In case you want to look at this book and consider buying it here is a link. Thanks to those people clicking through my links. I really appreciate this.