A Murder Unmentioned

Sulari Gentill

A Murder Unmentioned
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A Murder Unmentioned

Sulari Gentill

The black sheep of a wealthy 1930s grazier dynasty, gentleman artist Rowland Sinclair often takes matters into his own hands. When the matter is murder, there are consequences. For nearly fourteen years, Rowland has tried to forget, but now the past has returned. A newly-discovered gun casts light on a family secret long kept. a murder the Sinclairs would prefer stayed unsolved. As old wounds tear open, the dogged loyalty of Rowland’s inappropriate companions is all that stands between him and the consequences of a brutal murder. one he simply failed to mention…

Review

There is something so completely delicious about Rowland Sinclair and his louche band of comrades, the rapscallion Australian heroes of Sulari Gentill’s 1930s-set series. I could eat them all up with a silver spoon: flamboyant poet Milton Isaacs, loyal landscape painter Clyde Watson Jones, frequently nude sculptress Edna Higgins, and Rowland Sinclair himself, rich, connected, tough, determined, and honourable in a political sense, if not always within the confines of early twentieth century upper-class society as it was. They are as merry to join as your most entertaining group of friends, though (I assume) get imprisoned and accused of murder at a higher rate. In this, Rowland’s sixth mystery, a secretive family subject is brought to light after the gun used in his father’s death some thirteen years earlier was found in a drained dam at the family’s country homestead in Yass. His friends had all been led to believe that the late Henry Sinclair had died in a much quieter way, and Rowland’s own family has been disinclined to discuss the issue until now, when it seems apparent that the finger of blame is now pointing squarely at our hero himself. So Rowland and all his friends avail themselves of now-classic cars and now-frightening airplanes to arrive in New South Wales’ Southern Tablelands, clear Rowly’s name, and do their darnedest to offend everyone’s sensibilities, make Rowly’s stuffed-shirt brother Wilfred shout about respectability and save the day.

With cameo appearances from historical figures even I recognised – Bob Menzies in the Sinclair kitchen, Edna Walling in the garden, and Kate Leigh grinning lasciviously at Rowly in a jailhouse crowd – and a real sense of fun alongside some quite genuine tension, this is historical crime for those in the know and those – like me – who can barely remember what happened last weekend, let alone what the proper etiquette and outfit would be for a spot of post-murder supper.


Fiona Hardy blogs about Crime Fiction at readingkills.com and puts together the Dead Write column for the Readings Monthly newsletter.

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