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Showing posts with the label New Zealand

Reading journal: Death by Water by Kerry Greenwood

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Genre: Crime Published: 2005 Series: Phryne Fisher Read: December 2017 It’s the 1920s, and amateur sleuth, Phryne Fisher, embarks on a voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand aboard the cruise ship SS Hinemoa. Her task is to find out who is stealing valuable jewellery from the first class passengers. Much drama, with interesting descriptions of the ship and of Milford Sound in New Zealand. Phryne is assisted in her job by Māori crew. But jewel thieves are not the most deadly criminals aboard, and tantalising snippets reveal a connection with the tragic sinking of the Titanic. I wish this lovely ship was real. Recommended.

Reading journal: The Māori Detective by D A Crossman

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Genre: Crime Published: 2017 Series: The Red Zone Mysteries Read: February 2018 This is a wild ride! Carlos Wallace, part-Māori, returns to Christchurch to work as a private investigator after his career in the New South Wales police force goes bad. There are plenty of plot strands, including in no particular order a lost dog, an unfaithful wife being blackmailed, a missing financier, an inheritance or two, a clairvoyant cousin, evil spies, looters who come to a sticky end, creepy old grannies with family history to share, Māori legends, a missing French girl, an international assassin, assorted gangsters, and a business partner, Ginny, in hiding from her abusive husband. Overshadowing everything is the city of Christchurch itself, ruined by earthquakes and in the throes of mourning and renewal. The Red Zone refers to areas restricted after the earthquakes, especially the CBD, which was cordoned off for safety reasons for years, and residential areas which were no longer s

Book review: A long journey: from steam to cyber by Gracie Stathers

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Gracie Stathers explores her family heritage and links it to New Zealand history in this interesting book. The story begins with a fictionalised history of her European ancestors. The time frame runs roughly from 1840 to 1945. As the author says in her prologue, “never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” The families left behind hardship in hope of a better future. They gambled their lives on dangerous sea voyages to unknown destinations, just like the reviled “economic refugees” of today. These were tough people. They endured convict life on Norfolk Island, near-shipwrecks, accidents, and personal loss. The relaxed structure of loosely connected vignettes is an easy read. The author weaves together domestic activities, historical facts and dialogue with a practiced hand. The historical section is followed by a personal biography. Many experiences in the author’s life will be familiar to baby boomers from Australia as well as New Zealand. I was touched by her

Book review: Presumed Guilty by Mark McGinn

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Presumed Guilty is the third book in the Sasha Stace series. Sasha is a lawyer in New Zealand’s South Island. After many years at the bar, she is weary of criminal law. She’s tired of “living in a world where two showers a day is not enough.” Promotion to the High Court bench offers a brighter future, but when her ex-partner faces murder charges, Sasha agrees to defend him, and puts that future at risk. Sasha is an intriguing and sympathetic character. The dramatic courtroom scenes are well drawn, and shadowy political plotters add to the suspense. The author builds a realistic backdrop with detailed descriptions of the murder scene and beautiful coastal Akaroa. The criminals are convincingly creepy and ruthless, and some of them meet suitably nasty fates. The author keeps some shocking and unexpected twists for the very end. They’re worth waiting for. The large supporting cast and weight of back history distract from the flow of events on occasion. I didn’t want to know quite

Book review: Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave

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I read this in one sitting. You have to do that, because it's impossible to put it down. It's dark, it's gripping, and it's very, very addictive. Theodore Tate is an ex-detective, a man falling towards the dark side after tragedy struck his family. He is already drowning in regret over his sins of omission and commission when he becomes obsessed with a series of murders and determined to stop the killer. The cemetery, a wet, muddy place of death and sorrow, is the centre of Tate's life. His daughter is buried there, much of the action of the book takes place there, and murder victims and suspects alike appear there in rapid succession. The story is dark, sad, and frightening, and the suspense doesn't let up. I don't usually like gory psychological thrillers but once I started down the path Cleave has laid out there was no turning back. Christchurch in New Zealand's South Island, the setting for this book, is a place we associate with grief and trag