Murder on the Apricot Coast, by Marion Halligan

A raspberry ute came up very fast behind us. I heard its deep revving roar, saw it flash past, on a tight left-hand bend. There was a logging truck coming down the other lane and the ute pulled in abruptly so that Al had to steer off the road to avoid hitting it. We veered on to as soft and leaf-slippery verge. I looked out my window and hastily looked away. It was a long and vertical way down.

Life in Australia’s capital, Canberra, is not as ordered and calm as it might be for Cassandra and the Colonel. When a friend’s teenage daughter is found dead from a drug overdose, it soon becomes apparent that this is not an accident. Fern has written a manuscript which exposes some of the more seedy aspects of Canberra’s prostitution scene, including child slavery and politicians’ private lives. Cassandra is determined, with her colonel, to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Murder on the Apricot Coast is a fantastic blend of humour, romance, tension and, of course, mystery. A sequel to The Apricot Colonel this story stands alone, but will delight fans of the earlier work.

The use of a first person narrative which at times feels that the narrator is speaking directly to the reader (the opening line quotes from Jane Eyre: Reader, I married him.) lends an interesting voice to this page-turning read.

Murder on the Apricot Coast, by Marion Halligan
Allen & Unwin, 2008

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