Australian Mysteries



By Louise Ure


By the time you read this, I will have been in Australia for over a week already. Hopefully, I will have finally settled into Australia’s summer season and time zone and all the nausea inducing jet lag will be behind me. Picture me sipping a good Shiraz in the Hunter Valley.

As I readied myself for the trip, I was trying to decide between getting a Kindle or getting an iPad to take along. You know what an Apple slut I am, so I was leaning toward the iPad in the hopes that it would not only be a reader for me, but give me the chance to write if the inspiration hit and it would make internet and email activities easier than the iPhone’s tiny keyboard.

I ultimately chose “none of the above” because I’m not ready for a dedicated reader and couldn’t justify the extra money for an iPad. (Write while I’m on the road? Who am I kidding? I’ve never written when I traveled before and have no reason to think I will now. But if inspiration strikes I can always pick up a pad of paper.)

So the book thing remains a question.

Twenty years ago when I lived in Sydney, I fell in love with Australian mysteries. The early works of Arthur Upfield with police officer Inspector “Bony” Bonaparte. Jon Cleary’s Inspector Scobie Malone series. Garry Disher’s Inspector Hal Challis outside of Melbourne.  Any of Peter Corris’ multiple ongoing series. I even read quite a few of Robert G. Barrett’s Les Norton series about a nightclub bouncer, mysogynist and all around ne’er-do-well until Barrett’s repeated description of Les as “the big red-headed Queenslander” drove me to distraction.

I had lots of favorite female authors, as well. Shamus Award-winner Marele Day, who writes about private investigator, Claudia Valentine. Claire McNab, who has several continuing characters but my favorite is lesbian Detective Inspector Carol Ashton. And Jennifer Row who created Verity “Birdie” Birdwood, a TV researcher who winds up embroiled in mystery and murder.

I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read any Kerry Greenwood yet and I intend to correct that on this trip.

But who else should I be reading? Come on all you Aussies out there … you booksellers … all you lovers of international mysteries. Give me some names. I am woefully behind on what’s good in Australian mysteries right now and I intend to buy all of them.

When I traveled back home after my years in Australia, I had to go buy a coffin-sized metal footlocker for all the books and send it back by ship. I’ll probably have to do the same this time. Hmmm … that might have made the iPad a bargain by comparison.

Stay well you all and have a lovely Christmas.


21 thoughts on “Australian Mysteries

  1. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Louise

    Hope you're having a wonderful time. Think of us shivering in the cold while you bask.

    Try Peter Temple, who won the CWA Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger for THE BROKEN SHORE. I also thoroughly enjoyed his IN THE EVIL DAY.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Karen in Ohio

    Darn, yet more authors to find and read!

    Louise, enjoy Oz. I've only been there once, for two weeks, and we did not leave NSW. We vowed next time to spend months, instead of weeks.

    Just finished reading "The Fault Tree". Blew me away, it did.

  3. Sylvia

    Louise – wishing you merriment on your travels across Australia. I lived there for a year in 1986 and do miss it hoping to return someday.

    Australian mysteries… now what a gift! I simply hadn't thought of mysteries set in Oz (banging head on desk as it was so obvious) so I'm going through your list and will read along over the holidays.

    Thank you, thank you!

  4. Catherine

    Hi Louise I hope you get to enjoy some sunshine down here…it's been a bit dodgy weather wise for our supposed summer. I think it snowed somewhere down south the other day.

    I've recently discovered Marianne Delacourt, Sharp Shooter. Set in Perth. Well paced, laconic

    I enjoyed it as a break from the gritty.

    Which would be how I would describe Kathryn Fox. Well written, gritty..

    Michael Robotham Australian author. He has a series set in England…so both the English and Aussies claim him. Which is sort of good really to be clambered for. Lots of layering, good paced story…still surprises me.

    Yes to Kerry Greenwood. Please do lug home all her books if at all possible. Her Phryne Fisher series set around about the 1920s is just lovely.

    Crime solving with lashings of style.

    I also like her Corinne Chapman series…a baker out getting things done.

    I hope you have a wonderful time here Louise.

  5. pari noskin taichert

    I'm very happy to have this post, Louise, and hope to get yet more names to add to the list of people to read.

    And I'm even happier that you're sipping that Shiraz and taking time . . . blessed time . . .

  6. Debbie

    Why is it that I only know you through the net and yet, I feel like you're further away? 🙂 Hope your holidays are filled with warmth: body, soul, and spirit.

  7. Laura

    Have a wonderful time in Australia! You'll love it. 🙂
    I'd recommend both Peter Temple "Truth" which won the 2010 Miles Franklin and also Leah Giarratano – she's really good.
    Have a safe and wonderful Christmas – hopefully we'll get some warm weather!
    Laura 🙂

  8. Fran

    Kathryn Fox. Absolutely love her, and I suspect you will too. "Malicious Intent" is the place to start.

    Happy Christmas Down Under, my friend! Know you're very much in our hearts.

  9. KDJames

    Hi Louise! No book recs for you, just wanted to wish you Merry Christmas! So good to hear you arrived safely and are planning to read (well, buy) voraciously and are not completely dismissing the idea of writing should inspiration strike. Hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends!

  10. lil Gluckstern

    Wishing you a Happy Christmas, and enjoy your time away from the Bay Area where it is raining…and raining…you get the picture. We're not as cold as Zoe is, though. I now have to search out a whole bunch of new authors, although I have read Garry Disher, and Peter Temple. I'm so glad i have books and blogs to travel with you all.

  11. Louise Ure

    Foir some reason, none of my replies back to you guys has posted. It must be an international conspiracy. Thank you all for the suggestions and the best wishes. Happy Christmas to us all!

  12. Allison Davis

    Crazy end of year for me so didn't get on this morning…Louise, wishing you the best for Christmas and especially the new year. Put your feet up…

  13. Susan Shea

    Arthur Upfield! I loved the one detective novel of his I read. Charming character and his description of the environment was mind-blowing at times (thousands of bunnies driven up against a fence during the time of wild over-population – strange and chilling). Wishing you a peaceful Christmas with good friends, warm memories, and a vision of 2011 that gives you happy anticipation.

  14. Katherine Howell

    I second that mention of Leigh Redhead! Her fourth book 'Thrill City' came out in 2010, and is a fantastic read. Funny, pacy, thrilling. Wonderful.

    And if I may be so bold, may I suggest my own work too?? I write thrillers featuring a Sydney police detective Ella Marconi alongside paramedics, a job I did for 15 years. You can read the first chapters of each of my four books on my site here

    Hope you're having a great time here in Oz, Louise!


Comments are closed.