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Manly Murders A Mother without a Child by…
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Manly Murders A Mother without a Child

by Gunilla Haglundh

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A local author whose work I admire very much has a bit of a mantra I've heard her recite on many occasions. Show, don't tell. Show don't tell. On one level you know, immediately, what she means, but it's not often I've seen a book that demonstrates the opposite of that mantra quite as strongly as A MOTHER WITHOUT A CHILD.

Set in Manly, Haglundh has a great eye for the place. Perhaps that comes about as an incomer to the society. She sees and writes about the places in this book with an eye for detail that's illuminating.

There's also an interesting plot as the basis of this book - the idea that a man could suddenly die, on a Manly ferry, shot from a long distance for no apparent reason was quite intriguing. Each of her main characters also have a back story, although some of that was just a tad melodramatic for my particular taste.

Unfortunately what worked considerably less well for this reader is the way that the story was drawn out. There was something that just didn't scan about the dialogue, the pacing of the book and the way that every single element was constantly explained and spelt out. Whilst sometimes I got the distinct feeling I was being shown a place, I was so bogged down in being told what was happening, what everyone was thinking, what everyone was doing there were times when I got the sneaking feeling there was going to be an exam at the end. The major problem I had, however, was with the dialogue which was so stilted, so unnatural, so odd that it just didn't work for me.

Whilst claims of Australia's Midsomer Murders seem a little ... let's say opportunistic, I understand Haglundh is planning a series for these characters, set in Manly and surrounds, and as is often the way with debut novels that haven't quite worked for me, follow-on books hit their paces and get moving. Perhaps a look at the dialogue, and a touch of show don't tell, and the ongoing series will continue to improve.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/manly-murders-mother-without-child-gunill... ( )
  austcrimefiction | Jun 5, 2013 |
This is an ambitious novel from an experienced Australian female writer, but her first fiction title. It is a police procedural with a penetrating sense of place, partly because of the author's strategy of giving descriptive background whenever the main characters visit a new location. The setting is reinforced by an authenticity of language that particularly shows in the construction of dialogue. She also has a strong sense of just how tedious and meticulous detective work can be, but at the same time how the solution can be found quite accidentally.

Apart from the main plot of the two murders there are a couple of strong sub-plots centred around the detective inspectors investigating the murders. I liked the two main detectives, both of whom I found very plausible. Georgia Show in particular reminded me of Helene Tursten's Detective Inspector Irene Huss. The author successfully brings all plots together by the end of the novel, but didn't quite seem to know when to stop writing. The final chapter gives us an update on each of the main characters in the book which I didn't really think we needed.

The blurb on the novel calls it Australia's answer to Midsomer Murders, but I don't think it is quite that yet. Certainly Gunilla Haglundh has a fertile imagination, has created some strong investigative characters who presumably we will see in future novels, and so with her help there is every possibility Manly will become Australia's Midsomer. Definitely an author to follow. ( )
  smik | Apr 24, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0987320602, Paperback)

Australia's answer to Midsomer Murders BUSINESS ICON MURDERED ON MANLY FERRY When Martin Stream, successful Australian business icon is murdered one morning on a Manly ferry on his way to work, local detective inspectors Georgia Show and Stephen French step in to solve the case. Martin, married with three children has a business empire spanning the globe. The police think they are close to a solution and probable suspects - when there is a second murder at the ghostly Quarantine Station in Manly, This time it's a well-dressed European woman - is there a connection? A Mother Without A Child, the first in the Manly Murder series by Gunilla Haglundh has been compared to the English series - Midsomer Murders. You will be taken on a wild ride from the Italian mafia to unsavoury business deal to the Manly Quarantine's history through to the final solution for the murders. All is definitely not what it seems. This novel set in Sydney's northern beaches is guaranteed to keep you guessing, while at the same time revealing much of beach side Manly's history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:05 -0400)

CRIME & MYSTERY. AUSTRALIAN. Australia's answer to Midsomer Murders BUSINESS ICON MURDERED ON MANLY FERRY When Martin Stream, successful Australian business icon is murdered one morning on a Manly ferry on his way to work, local detective inspectors Georgia Show and Stephen French step in to solve the case. Martin, married with three children has a business empire spanning the globe. The police think they are close to a solution and probable suspects - when there is a second murder at the ghostly Quarantine Station in Manly, This time it's a well-dressed European woman - is there a connection? A Mother Without A Child, the first in the Manly Murder series by Gunilla Haglundh has been compared to the English series - Midsomer Murders. You will be taken on a wild ride from the Italian mafia to unsavoury business deal to the Manly Quarantine's history through to the final solution for the murders. All is definitely not what it seems.… (more)

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