MYSTERY

A Few Right Thinking Men

Poisoned Pen. Jun. 2016. 368p. ISBN 9781464206351. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9781464206375. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9780987068569. M
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OrangeReviewStarIn 1931 Sydney, Australia, unemployment is high and tension is mounting, especially among working people who feel the upper class are handing them a raw deal. Rowland ("Rowly") Sinclair was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but has taken up the mantle of gentleman communist. He is, after all, a bohemian artist. His older brother is embarrassed by Rowly, but when their elderly uncle is murdered at home, Rowly sets out to uncover who might have wanted a sweet old man dead. As Uncle Rowly was a silent partner in a speakeasy, gangsters might have had it out for him, but our sleuth soon learns that fascist politicians make bad bedfellows. While the vintage Down Under settings might make this debut, which was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book, comparable to Kerry Fisher's Melbourne-based Phryne Fisher 1920s mysteries, Gentill works in historical events that add verisimilitude to her story. There are more political machinations going on here than Phryne could ever contemplate.
VERDICT Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for bringing another award-winning Australian crime writer to U.S. shores. Her witty hero will delight traditional mystery buffs.

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