BOOK CLUB

CRIME AND PAS­SION/POL­ISHED MYS­TERY FROM A CHAT SHOW HOST/IL­LUS­TRATED TOUR OF AUS­TRALIA’S PAST/ WHY FA­THER DOESN’T AL­WAYS KNOW BEST

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - READ EYE -

HEAVEN SENT

FRE­MAN­TLE PRESS, RRP $30

Philip “Cato” Kwong, an in­tel­li­gent and thick-skinned Fre­man­tle de­tec­tive, is a happy chappy. He has a new wife and a beau­ti­ful baby girl. Sleep is a thing of the past but the love for his fam­ily has him leap­ing out of bed ev­ery day. Work pulls him from that bliss when some of Fre­man­tle’s home­less pop­u­la­tion start turn­ing up dead. Cato jumps into solv­ing the mur­ders, his de­ter­mi­na­tion win­ning over some on the force but alien­at­ing oth­ers. Each step he takes brings the killer closer to Cato and those clos­est to him. Throw in a hip­ster jour­nal­ist on a mis­sion to con­tact the killer and play a fame game on­line. The fourth in the Cato Kwong se­ries is a crack­ing po­lice pro­ce­dural as Carter bril­liantly ex­plores the im­pact of the crimes on those with a badge as well as his won­der­ful cast of char­ac­ters, whether it’s his feisty wife Sharon or Cato’s lov­able old cur­mud­geon in­spec­tor. Don’t worry if, like me, you haven’t read ear­lier chap­ters in Cato’s story, Carter is a master of his craft and Heaven Sent is com­pletely ac­ces­si­ble to new read­ers. PAUL HUNTER

Bril­liant, case closed

VER­DICT:

A KEEPER

HOD­DER & STOUGHTON, RRP $33

Gra­ham Nor­ton doesn’t seem able to put a foot wrong. The pop­u­lar Ir­ish talk show and ra­dio host firmly es­tab­lishes him­self as a no­table writer of pop­u­lar fic­tion with his se­cond book. El­iz­a­beth Keane re­turns home to sort things out after her mother Pa­tri­cia’s death, and comes across some court­ing let­ters her fa­ther wrote to her mother decades be­fore.

Her fa­ther’s iden­tity has al­ways been a mys­tery — all her mother ever said was that he died when El­iz­a­beth was a baby. A par­al­lel story — so dark at times it de­serves to be called Ir­ish Gothic — tracks young Pa­tri­cia as she in­no­cently meets farmer Ed­ward and vis­its the beau­ti­ful, re­mote sea­side vil­lage he lives in, with­out any idea of what she is get­ting into. Once El­iz­a­beth digs into the past, there seems to be no end to the lay­ers of se­crets she must work through to find the truth. There are mo­ments of tragedy, but Nor­ton keeps it fast­paced and full of warmth, never al­low­ing it to be­come grim. CORINNA HENTE

Thor­oughly en­joy­able

VER­DICT:

WHERE HIS­TORY HAP­PENED

NLA PUB­LISH­ING, RRP $40

This is a com­bi­na­tion of travel guide and his­tory les­son. Spear­ritt roams Aus­tralia seek­ing out the lo­ca­tions of fa­mous and notso-fa­mous events to dis­cover what re­mains of those sites. We search for indige­nous rock art in Carnar­von Gorge, Queens­land, visit the mil­i­tary bar­racks on Nor­folk Is­land and tour New Nor­cia, a Bene­dic­tine monastery es­tab­lished 130km north of Perth in 1846. Many places, like Tas­ma­nia’s Port Arthur con­vict set­tle­ment and the Old Mel­bourne Gaol, are pre­served as his­toric sites. But many are not. Spear­ritt takes us to where Ja­panese pris­on­ers of war es­caped from the Cowra camp in 1944, an Afghan mosque in Bro­ken Hill and the Barossa Val­ley, where Prus­sian mi­grants built our first win­ery. Any­one want­ing de­tails about a his­toric event would need to ex­plore more deeply, but this is an en­joy­able vis­ual in­tro­duc­tion to Aus­tralia’s past. JEFF MAY­NARD

Colour­ful

VER­DICT:

MAD, BAD, DAN­GER­OUS TO KNOW

PI­CADOR AUS­TRALIA, RRP $30

Two of the three fa­thers de­picted here fail to make a de­cent liv­ing or even present as de­cent, car­ing fa­thers. Some of it can be blamed on the times, but the fa­thers of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce had plenty, whether it was money or tal­ent, and squan­dered it, bring­ing not just them­selves down but also their wives and chil­dren. Os­car Wilde’s fa­ther was the only one who pur­sued his work and his pas­sions with­out bring­ing im­me­di­ate harm to his fam­ily. He was a statis­ti­cian, doc­tor and ar­chae­ol­o­gist, who wrote books on a range of sub­jects, from a study on the cen­sus to eye and ear surgery. Yeats’ fa­ther was a failed artist who looked to his son for an in­come and Joyce’s fa­ther lost all his money while al­ways find­ing just enough to be a con­tin­ual drunk. This book fol­lows a few re­cent bi­ogra­phies that have tried to show that tal­ent — ge­nius, even — does not ap­pear out of a vac­uum. BARRY REYNOLDS

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

VER­DICT:

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