Susan Curry’s carefully crafted first novel is a complicated mystery set in a small Australian town. Curry’s writing reminds me of Louise Penny’s French-Canadian mysteries—literate and restrained. The sub-title suggests that this is the first in a series of Merran Scofield mysteries. I hope that Curry revisits the town of Wirrim and follows the familiar village characters. She must let her readers know how Merran settles her romantic quandary.
This fast-paced novel illustrates how family dysfunction and trauma impact our current relationships, our memory, and finally our ability to solve mysteries.
There is much in Susan Curry's exploration of two unsolved crimes to capture the interest of readers and to engage book groups in lively discussion. Drought-affected rural Australia and San Francisco academia are the primary settings. The 1930s Great Depression, Australia's World War II experience in Asia, and modern-day school exchanges with Japan all feature. The main character is an Australian expatriate historian in San Francisco. We observe her maturation and development as she comes to terms with the breakdown of her marriage, and the search for new relationships, both within academia and among her old mates at a school reunion.
And the page-turner: exactly what did happen in the two mysterious crimes in this small Australian community?
This book weaves together different plot lines in a really unique and interesting way. Definitely going to recommend it to my friends.
This is a well-written story that kept me reading and thinking throughout. I found the characters and situations believable and realistically complex, and although the principal setting is an Australian country town and there are many local references, I think the themes are relevant in most societies. Just as in real life, we are left with questions and ideas to debate - and this is a sign of a good book.