23 October 2021

Review: THE NANCYS, R.W.R. McDonald

  • this edition published in 2019 by Allen & Unwin
  • ISBN 978-1-76052-733-4
  • 389 pages

Synopsis (publisher)

A schoolgirl and her uncle and his boyfriend have two weeks to solve a murder in a small town style forgot...
WINNER of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel

Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world - the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum's on a cruise.

Tippy is in love with her uncle's old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher's body is found beside Riverstone's only traffic light, Tippy's moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.

But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the murderer, and an intervention from Tippy's mum all conspire against The Nancys. But regardless of their own safety, and despite the constant distraction of questionable fashion choices in the town that style forgot, The Nancys know only they can stop the killer from striking again.

The Nancys is gripping and glorious, a heart-warming novel for anyone who's ever felt they were on the outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and how we must summon the courage to face the truth, no matter what the cost may be

My Take

Tippy Chan is still trying to come to terms with the recent sudden death of her Chinese father whom she adored. Making things worse, it seems that her mother wants to erase all memory of him by removing his photos from their walls.

When her Mum wins a cruise, Tippy's Uncle Pike volunteers to come to look after her. He brings with him his flamboyant boy friend. Pike and Devon decide to help their neighbor Melanie win the local Queen of the Show. 

In the meantime one of Tippy's friends has a fall from a bridge into the river and ends up in hospital in a coma. Photos arrive on Tippy's phone that seem to indicate that he has been a witness to something he shouldn't have seen.

I had a lot of trouble "getting into" this novel., and I am not totally sure why. There are really 3 or 4 plots progressing together and I had trouble in deciding who to trust. So separating out these plot strands was probably part of my problem. There is a large range of characters and their interaction with each other is at times a bit obscure.

My rating: 4.3 

About the author

R.W.R. McDonald (Rob) is an award-winning author, a Kiwi and Queer dad living in Melbourne with his two daughters and one HarryCat. His debut novel, The Nancys, won Best First Novel in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, as well as being a finalist in the Best Novel category. It was shortlisted for Best First Novel in the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards, and Highly Commended for an Unpublished Manuscript in the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. Nancy Business is his second novel, publishing in June 2021.

Shortlisted Best Debut Crime Fiction, Ned Kelly Awards 2020 AU; Winner Best First Novel, Ngaio Marsh Award 2020 NZ; Shortlisted Best Novel, Ngaio Marsh Award 2020 NZ; Shortlisted Best Designed Commercial Fiction Cover, Australian Book Design Awards 2020 AU; Highly Commended Unpublished Manuscript, Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017 AU

1 comment:

Mystica said...

Sounds such a different kind of read. Especially the bit about being on the outside looking in.


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