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Half Past Dead by Jane Clifton
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Half Past Dead

by Jane Clifton

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Having originally read this when it came out in paperback form in 2002, it was no chore to re-read ... oh good grief ... 11 YEARS LATER. Now I've got an excuse for not remembering the entire story!

It's always interesting to see how something stands up over the years since publication, allowing of course, for changes in technology, fashions, attitudes and social norms. In HALF PAST DEAD, there's not a lot of need for too much allowance though as there's a timelessness to the central themes. Marriages that are suddenly fraying at the seams, cut-throat business shenanigans and people at their best and worst. Ronnie's a strong central character, very real, slightly idiotic and extremely resourceful all at the same time. Whilst the focus is on her, and a lot of the problems or doubts in her life are seen through her eyes, there is a supporting cast some of whom, are equally well done. In particular this is a book with some vivid female characters - from the receptionist at work, through to the ex-girlfriend of Ronnie's husband Boyd. Even the local doctor has a good cameo appearance. It also doesn't hurt that this is often funny - not hysterical laughing sort of funny maybe, but clever and smile inducing more than once.

The mystery is quite an interesting idea - as for much of the book it's all about the supposed death and definite disappearance of a business colleague - or at least Ronnie saw what she thought was a dead body, and he's definitely not at work anymore. This is further complicated by the possibility of business espionage, a lot of inter-office romancing and relationships and a hefty dose of secrecy and over the top personalities.

This version of romance (with the errors and the missteps and the crashing around making mistakes) is my sort of romance I will admit, but it's also nicely balanced with an unusual sort of a murder mystery. HALF PAST DEAD was a really enjoyable read 11 years ago, and it was again now. It was so fantastic to find local stories, written by local writers all that time ago and that feeling just simply doesn't go away.

(Disclaimer: I wrangle web and ebook things for Clan Destine Press but the editorial side remains a slightly confusing mystery that happens "over there").

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/half-past-dead-jane-clifton ( )
  austcrimefiction | Oct 16, 2013 |
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With Half Past Dead actor and singer Jane Clifton makes her brilliant debut, combining a devilish grasp of plot and character with an hilarious comic touch. Ronnie Collins is happily married with a son, to whom she's devoted. She enjoys her job as a designer at Arthouse Fabrics. In fact, Ronnie's life is pretty damn good. Trouble is, she has a massive crush on her workmate Lawrence Konitz. But a bit of harmless office flirtation couldn't hurt anyone…could it? When Ronnie wakes up hungover in Lawrence Konitz's bed, she knows she has made a Big Mistake. When she discovers Lawrence's bloodstained body on the kitchen floor, she knows she's in big trouble. Returning to the scene of the crime an hour later and finding his body gone, things take an unexpected turn for the weird. Set in Melbourne and Sydney, this is a hugely entertaining novel. Full of hilarious one-liners, and with the endearing Ronnie Collins at its heart, Half Past Dead is a great crime fiction...… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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