Broken Bay

Margaret Hickey

Broken Bay
Random House Australia
13 June 2023

Broken Bay

Margaret Hickey

From the author of the bestselling Cutters End and Stone Town, a captivating new crime novel featuring Detective Mark Ariti.

Old loyalties and decades-long feuds rise to the surface in this stunning crime novel, set in a spectacular Australian landscape known for its jagged cliffs and hidden caves.

Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti has taken a few days' holiday in Broken Bay at precisely the wrong time. The small fishing town on South Australia's Limestone Coast is now the scene of a terrible tragedy.

Renowned cave diver Mya Rennik has drowned while exploring a sinkhole on the land of wealthy farmer Frank Doyle. As the press descends, Mark's boss orders him to stay put and assist the police operation.

But when they retrieve Mya's body, a whole new mystery is opened up, around the disappearance of a young local woman twenty years before . . .

Suddenly Mark is diving deep into the town's history - and in particular the simmering rivalry between its two most prominent families, the Doyles and Sinclairs.

Then a murder takes place at the Sinclairs' old home - and Mark is left wondering which is more dangerous- Broken Bay's hidden subterranean world or the secretive town above it . . .


South Australia’s Limestone Coast is covered in natural wonders, from dormant volcanoes to ancient caves, stunning lakes and, most remarkably, sinkholes. These are not your average sinkholes, either. (Google them, they really are something else.) Many of them open into enormous caverns and underground caves, and are the favourite haunts of cave divers. Margaret Hickey’s latest crime novel featuring Detective Mark Ariti begins below the surface, in one such hole.

An expert diver has gone down into a sinkhole to explore a newly discovered subterranean cave, but she hasn’t resurfaced. When a rescue team attempts to find her, they discover not one, but two women, one of whom has been missing for decades. Detective Ariti was only supposed to be in Broken Bay for a couple of days on holiday. An ocean expedition with a local family means he already has a connection of sorts to the brother of the missing woman, and a passing police commissioner suggests he might like to stay and keep an eye on things until the investigators from Adelaide take over in a few days. Somewhat reluctantly, Ariti agrees, and suddenly his peaceful weekend becomes anything but when a well-known local is murdered. This leads him to investigate two of the most prominent families in the area, and he discovers that nothing is as it seems in this small coastal town, not even the ground they walk on.

Although this is the third novel following the affable Ariti and his modern-day policing adventures, you don’t have to have read the first two. Hickey does an excellent job of including characters and backstory from the previous books without making it obvious that you could have prior knowledge of them. Her detective is flawed but likeable, the people he meets are recognisable, and their actions understandable, even when they lead to a sticky end. With a clever plot and a delightfully Aussie flavour, this rural crime noir is anything but dry.

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