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Whispering Death by Garry Disher
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Whispering Death

by Garry Disher

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Reviewed at Reviewing the Evidence. Another excellent entry in a solid series.
  bfister | Dec 26, 2012 |
WHISPERING DEATH affirms that Garry Disher is a master storyteller, a tight and consummate plotter, a writer who could sit on any international podium along with richer and more famous crime fiction writers - and thank goodness he is going to be at Adelaide Writers' Week in March 2012.

There are some interesting pictures of Australian lifestyles

... this morning Grace was in Hobart, strolling through a well-heeled corner of Sandy Bay... a land of two-car households, two adults working nine to five in well paid jobs. No shift workers here.

and then later

Today she had a clear run on the toll road between Melbourne airport and the city, and again when she headed over the West Gate Bridge, high winds buffeting the little car, and down into Williamstown, where the mean grind of old Melbourne co-existed with bright young mortgages. Factories and workshops sat next to pastelly little townhouses with cute, candy-coloured cars in the driveways. Grace wound down her window. The air, dense and still, was faintly salted from the Bay. The trees, branches barely moving, seemed dazed from years-long drought.

Several elements of Hal Challis' life seem to come to an end in WHISPERING DEATH. He decides to sell his restored 1930s Dragon Rapide that he has worked on for the last 10 years. He sees this as representing a phase of his life that has come to an end. He decides also to sell his elderly Triumph TR4, this time because it needs a lot of work done on it, and he no longer has the time or motivation.

And then he voices criticisms of the resourcing problems Peninsula policing is experiencing, to local reporter, and it seems that his time on the Peninsula may be coming to an end too. He seals his fate when he rushes out of an interview with his boss and a couple of other big-wigs to answer his mobile phone.

His mobile phone sounded in his pocket. He checked the screen, saw McQarrie's name on the screen and knew he couldn't keep avoiding the man.

He answered and McQarrie said, 'What possessed you, Inspector, walking out on - '

Challis overrode him. 'A home invasion and then a murder, that's what possessed me.'

Silence, and he found himself adding, 'Doing my job, in fact,' guessing he was driving another nail into the lid of his coffin.'

So, if you are looking for some quality Australian crime fiction, here is another title, another author to add to your list. You won't be disappointed.
All the titles in the series are available on Amazon for your Kindle too. ( )
  smik | Nov 3, 2011 |
In his sixth Peninsula murder mystery, Garry Disher keeps the tension and intrigue ramped up exquisitely on multiple fronts, while he takes his regular characters in compelling new directions.
Hal Challis is in trouble at home and abroad: carpeted by the boss for speaking out about police budget cuts; missing his lover, Ellen Destry, who is overseas on a study tour. But there's plenty to keep his mind off his problems. A rapist in a police uniform stalks Challis's Peninsula beat; there is a serial armed robber headed in his direction; and a home invasion that's a little too close to home. Not to mention a very clever, very mysterious female cat burglar who may or may not be planning something on Challis's patch.
Meanwhile, at the Waterloo Police Station, Challis finds his offsiders have their own issues. Scobie Sutton, still struggling with his wife's depression, seems to be headed for a career crisis; and something very interesting is going on between Constable Pam Murphy and Jeanne Schiff, the feisty young sergeant on secondment from the Sex Crimes Unit.
Disher is a grand master of the police procedural, operating at the peak of his craft. ( )
  Jawin | Aug 15, 2011 |
Put a book with Garry Disher's name on the cover down on the table at our place and there's bound to be a bit of sighing from certain quarters. Fair enough, it normally means that all forms of communication will cease until the book is finished. Whilst I will admit a slight preference for the Wyatt series, the Challis and Destry books are getting better and better with each outing. I particularly like the way that the focus is switching between the two main characters, and their romance is developing but not taking over from what is, after all, an excellent police procedural. I've even forgiven Disher from moving Waterloo from Central West Victoria to way down on the Peninsula!

In WHISPERING DEATH there's a lot happening on the Peninsula. A rapist in a police uniform, a serial armed robber and a very talented cat burglar. There's also Ellen Destry's trip overseas, the problems of a classic sports car finally starting to fall apart, disposing of a now restored airplane, the bikie's living next door to Destry's new house, and how her daughter is handling her mother's growing relationship with Hal Challis. There's also the little matter of his major spray to a journalist about Government funding of the police service in an area where the population is rapidly expanding. Which does not go down well with his bosses.

Whilst the main investigation - into the rapist wearing a police uniform proceeds, there's a cat burglar working her way around Australia. Normally she does not work in her own state - keeping her backyard clean. It's particularly important on the Peninsula as she keeps a safety deposit box down there. Cautious, she's also one step ahead of her old mentor who is very very keen to even some scores. The fact that an armed robber seems to be heading in their direction just adds to the increasing workload that Challis is already less than happy about - especially as the station is desperately short of resources. So short of resources even investigating the rather creative graffiti showing up on large gateposts is a bit of stretch.

WHISPERING DEATH is written in that beautifully dry, laconic style that Disher has bought to these police procedurals. He also does such a great line in caustic social commentary - be it in Challis having a go about politicians or to the nature of the graffiti showing up on those enormous (perfectly ridiculous really) property entrances that seem to have become the scourge of the tree / sea change areas. Graffiti with a social conscience and a particularly fine sense of the humour.

WHISPERING DEATH, as in earlier books, also gives the supporting cast of characters a bit of time in the limelight. The idea that the book's have central characters that have lives alongside the jobs, that the supporting cast are people in their own right and stuff happens to them, and that there's never just one thing at a time going on in any district really works. Without giving too much away, there's even a series of coincidences in the resolutions which are just delicious - there's nothing contrived about the way that everything eventually sorts itself out.

The one thing that really stands out after reading WHISPERING DEATH is just how deftly the complicated storylines were interwoven with the character's own stories (police and crooks), with no loss of pace, and no chance that the reader would be bamboozled. I was particularly struck by just how cleverly this plot was put together, the way that each particular divergence was timed nicely.

There is simply no better way to spend some time ignoring everything and everybody around you, than reading the latest offering from one of the best writers of Australian Crime Fiction around. ( )
  austcrimefiction | Jun 26, 2011 |
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"The long-awaited sixth installment in the Inspector Hal Challis series set in Australia, available in the United States at last! Hal Challis is in trouble at home and abroad: dressed down by the boss for speaking out about police budget cuts; missing his lover, Ellen Destry, who is overseas on a study tour. But there's plenty to keep his mind off his problems. A rapist in a police uniform stalks Challis's Peninsula beat, there is a serial armed robber headed in his direction and a home invasion that's a little too close to home. Not to mention a very clever, very mysterious female cat burglar who may or may not be planning something on Challis's patch. Meanwhile, at the Waterloo Police Station, Challis finds his officers have their own issues. Scobie Sutton, still struggling with his wife's depression, seems to be headed for a career crisis; and something very interesting is going on between Constable Pam Murphy and Jeanne Schiff, the feisty young sergeant on assignment from the Sex Crimes Unit"--… (more)

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Penguin Australia

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