MYSTERY

Give the Devil His Due

Poisoned Pen: Sourcebooks. (Rowland Sinclair, Bk. 7). Jan. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781464207013. $26.99. M
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It’s 1934, and Rowland Sinclair is the delight of the scandal pages. His sprawling mansion in Sydney is known for its eclectic resident artists, German motors, and paintings of nudes. Clyde and Milton, the other artists in residence, are communists, while Rowland is coming to terms with his own political leanings after a dangerous trip to Germany, where he witnessed a Nazi book burning. He’s entered a charity race as an amateur driver with his cherished Mercedes, when the reporter covering the story and painting him as “the villain” of the race dies in a macabre waxworks house of horrors. This tragedy is followed by a death on the cursed speedway. Unfortunately, Milton has a history with one of the victims, and as an open communist, becomes the perfect suspect for the police. The only way to clear Milton’s name is for Rowland and crew to try to track down the killer.
VERDICT Australian author Gentill’s seventh installment featuring Rowland Sinclair (after A Murder Unmentioned) is as fun and consuming as her previous novels. The writing is superb, providing fascinating historical context as well as depth in her characters. Highly recommended for fans of the series and historical crime mysteries.
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