Gerard Hardy’s Misfortune
According to local legend, the historic Royal hotel in the Victorian coastal town of Queenscliff is haunted. Having served as both a mental asylum and a morgue in the early days it could hardly fail to be, but a bizarre murder in the hotel’s basement puts a decidedly eerie spin on things.
The victim is an academic, obsessed with spiritualism, the tarot and the town’s most famous literary resident, Henry Handel Richardson. From the outset, the local knowledge and unorthodox methods of Queenscliff’s police officers, Chris Blackie and Anthea Merritt, are ridiculed by the bull-necked Detective Inspector Masterson from Geelong’s CIU. And yet, hard-nosed police investigation practices seem ill-equipped to counter the otherworldly influences at play.
What DI Masterson believes is an open and shut case turns out to be anything but.
The author has a slightly eccentric prose stye but its light humour humour and sense of place make this Aussie crime caper worth a look.
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Dorothy Johnston is the author of 12 novels mostly in the crime fiction genre. Two of her literary novels have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award.