First published by The Big Issue in March 2015
In the sequel to his 2013 thriller The Holiday Murders, Robert Gott takes us right back where he left us – into the complex and troubled world of Detective Joe Sable.
It’s 1944 and Sable is back at his desk too soon, following his recent attempted murder by violent anti-Semite George Starling. Starling, aligned with Nationalist Socialists more due to a penchant for mindless violent extremism than any kind of informed political leaning, is at large and means to finish the job.
Among the team determined to find Starling before he gets to Sable, are fast-talking Constable Helen Lord and new kid on the block, Sergeant David Reilly – prone to sexism, motion sickness and professional insecurity.
First and foremost, The Port Fairy Murders is a well-paced thriller, although to label it straight-up crime or police procedural is to sell it short.
The narrative zig-zags deftly between huge numbers of characters.
Characters are well drawn, always believably, often humorously and at times with chilling evil (most notably, the brutal misogyny and xenophobia of Stanley Halloran and the downright malevolent creepiness of Matthew Todd).
Fans of crime – or simply fans of a solid plot – will likely devour this novel in an afternoon.