12 April 2013

Review: MURDER WITH THE LOT, Sue Williams

  • Published by Text Publishing Melbourne 2013
  • ISBN 9-781922-07987
  • 294 pages
  • source: review copy
Synopsis (Publisher)

A smart, sassy self-appointed private investigator, Cass Tuplin is unforgettable and the town of Rusty Bore will never be the same…

Cass Tuplin’s takeaway isn’t the last shop left in Rusty Bore. There’s also Vern’s General Store. But it’s true the town’s not exactly overflowing with residents, and a stranger in Cass’s shop is quite an event. Especially one like Clarence: suspicious, bleeding, looking for a burger with the lot and somewhere quiet to stay. Cass knows just the place. Then she finds out more about Clarence and wants him out of town, but it turns out that’s not as easy as it sounds.

And then she finds the body.

It sounds like a job for the local police. Except that the local police is Cass’s son Dean, who has his doubts about Cass. And there’s no way he’s expending police resources on his mother’s fantasy crimes, not anymore.So it looks like Cass is going to have to find the killer on her own.

My Take
    Vern's general store and my place constitute the CBD of Rusty Bore, along with a row of three galvanised-steel silos. It's a town endowed with a royal flush of used-to-haves since the school, the pub and even the op shop closed down.
Sue Williams' writing displays a quirky sardonic tone that she manages to sustain throughout the novel. It shows in the town names - Rusty Bore, Hustle, and Muddy Soak - and in the characters who populate her novel, particularly in her central character Cass Tuplin.

Leading Senior Constable Dean Tuplin is the sole policeman of Hustle and he is convinced that his mother is on the verge of dementia. She has a history of reporting deaths, well she's raised a false alarm once before, and so when she reports a body that then disappears he is not particularly surprised. He blames his brother Brad who lives with his mother for not keeping her under better control. After that Dean doesn't take anything that Cass says seriously, even when her car is stolen, and her takeaway fish and chippery is burnt down. But something very serious is happening in the background and Cass can see that no-one is going to help her get to the bottom of it - she'll have to get proof herself.

MURDER WITH THE LOT is a farcical romp around the edges of living in Australia's Mallee country, a rural setting with drought and heat and a declining population, with a murder or two thrown in, and a hefty dose of corruption among those who should know better.

In style the book reminds me of Lisa Lutz and Kathy Lette, so if they are on the list of authors you like you might like to give this Aussie author a try.

My rating: 4.0

See Bernadette's review


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - This does sound like a fun, light read. It's one of those kinds of books I like when I've just finished something really dark and bleak.

Mama Zen said...

This sounds like something I would enjoy!


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