Good Reading : December January 2016
Deadly Diplomacy Jean Harrod York Authors Coffee Shop $3.12 (e-book) Ellen Chambers, a British national, has been murdered at a Queensland resort. Detective Inspector Tom Sangster is assigned the case and Jessica Turner, the British Consul in Canberra, arrives to liaise. Ellen was 39, fluent in Mandar in and worked for an Australian company. A top delegation from China had been negotiating a billion-dollar contract and has arrived to finalise the deal. The Australian Federal Police has had Ellen under surveillance for some months; Ellen’s sister, Susan Chambers, a journalist, is determined to solve the murder Ellen kept meticulous records. Susan Chambers has her sister’s diary and refuses to give it to the police. Inspector Sangster thinks the entries will lead to the killer. Until Susan hands the diary over, her life is in danger. There’s a second murder and then a third. The killer is closing in; tension is running high. Deadly Diplomacy is a debut novel – the first in a planned series involving the British diplomatic service – that features interesting, three-dimensional characters. The chase is thrilling but the foolish behaviour of the diplomat and the journalist grated. And introducing coincidences is a lazy writer’s way of developing plot. The actions of a hotel housemaid handing lost property found in a guest’s bedroom to Jess, a woman she’s met on the stairs and has never seen before, was completely unbelievable. More vigorous editing next time, please. Brandon Wylde, Kenmore Qld GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING DECEMBER 2015 / JANUARY 2016 72 READERS’ LIFE Shoes for Anthony Emma Kennedy Ebury Press $35.00 Eleven-year-old Anthony doesn’t own a pair of shoes. Instead, he wears oversized wellingtons, acquired when Mrs Morris’s father died and Anthony’s mother traded the boots for a pie. Not that Anthony is any different from his Scott Street friends in the Welsh mining village of Treherbert. That’s just how it is dur ing the war: no new clothes, not enough food. The boys don’t notice their lack of things. There’s plenty to do: sliding down slag heaps on a tea tray, marvelling at Mrs Reece’s banana, laughing at the Welsh Home Guard’s marching practice, keeping away from Gwyn Williams, the class bully. At least in Treherbert the menfolk are at home. Treherbert is in the Rhondda Valley, and the men are Bevan Boys: underground miners producing Welsh coal to keep the British troops in action. Anthony is deter mined to join them when he finishes school, and his father is just as deter mined that he won’t. Everything starts to change when the Americans arrive in Porthcawl and a plane crashes in the nearby hills. Anthony learns to look out for his friends and family, take responsibility for his actions and make big decisions. This is a gripping tale, full of both heartache and joy. I read it without stopping, from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book. Judy Gregory, Alderley Qld Tw o gr readers tell us about the books they’ve been reading lately.