19 September 2013

Review: GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, Maggie Groff

Synopsis (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Intrepid investigative journalist Scout Davis has given herself a holiday, but when Hermione Longfellow accosts her in the supermarket, she stops to listen.

Most people in Byron Bay are aware of the eccentric Anemone sisters. Always dressed in black, they rarely leave their home nestled in the hills - but Scout is sure that the drinking of chicken blood is just idle gossip. When Hermione asks Scout to track down her sister Nemony's AWOL husband, believed to have died at sea thirty years ago but recently popped up again on the Great Barrier Reef, Scout jumps at the opportunity.

Another source of intrigue falls close to home when Scout's sister Harper despairs over her husband's odd behaviour. And as if that wasn't enough, Scout's journalist boyfriend is finally coming home from Afghanistan. Trouble is, Scout thinks she may be falling in love with irresistible local cop Rafe - who coincidentally is also Toby's best friend...

Delightfully witty and addictively fast-paced, this is the second hilarious outing for unforgettable sleuth Scout Davis.

My Take

I wasn't sure whether this title by 2013 Davitt Award winner Maggie Groff (she scooped the Australian Sisters in Crime pool of Best Novel and Best First novel with MAD MEN, BAD GIRLS a few weeks ago) would actually be my cup of tea. It seemed that it would be "lighter" than my usual crime fiction fare. But then I chose it for my face to face reading group to read in the coming month, so in a sense I was committed.

I did have my doubts in the first 50 pages or so, but then things settled down a bit, and I must admit to enjoying both the plot and the plotting skill. The blurb on the front cover calls sleuth Scout Davis " a successor to Evanovich", and I thought I could detect a bit of Phryne Fisher there too.

I also enjoyed the quirky humour - who would call their cat Chairman Meow? - but underneath it all there is some serious, realistic characterisation and some careful plotting. There are a couple of other humour lines such as the guerilla knitting group that I thought were a bit superfluous but I guess they show another dimension of Scout's character.

I think this series has a future.  My rating: 4.6
International readers can find it here on Amazon US for Kindle or audio.

See Bernadette's review


Irene said...

I'm delighted to discover a new humors author, not big on Evanovich, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Oh, this does sounds like a good 'un. Isn't it nice to discover that you like an author's work better than you thought you would?

Anonymous said...

Well, good that you write a positive review. This book was up against a slew of good authors and books for the Davitt Award(s).

Who can resist a writer who names a cat, Chairman Meow? That almost gets me to splurge on buying a book from Oz. Or to adopt a cat.

Anne H said...

Another writer I've discovered thanks to this blog! I did enjoy the first one and I'm well into this. Excellent light relief and very cleverly written, with a good cast of regulars to look forward to meeting again.

Anne H said...

I don't take back a word of this, but by the time I got to the end of this second one I was tearing my hair. How can a former journalist with four (that's right, 4) editors permit the solecism 'help Daisy and I' or similar to get through not once but around eight times? It's ME. ME.


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