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Murder Unmentioned by Sulari Gentill
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Most of the action in this sixth novel of a fabulous series takes place at the Sinclair family’s rural estate Oaklea where ambitious landscaping plans lead to the discovery of the gun used in the killing of Rowland and Wilfred Sinclair’s father over a decade earlier. At the time the death was assumed by the authorities to have occurred during the commission of a burglary but when they receive some insider information on top of the gun’s discovery, police start looking closer to home for possible culprits of the unsolved crime.

Fans of the series will be pleased that all their favourite characters are back and in top form. Rowly’s three friends, who have been with him through all his adventures once again combine their talents to help Rowly and his family in a myriad of ways, though I think it’s Milt the plagiarising poet who goes above and beyond the call of duty on this occasion. One of the particular strengths of this novel is its depiction of the complex relationship between Rowly and Wil. The brothers have struggled to see eye to eye due to their different approaches to life, but when both come under suspicion at different points each does his utmost to protect the other. This unwavering loyalty and they way they learn to see how the other has experienced life differently even though they are part of the same family strikes a very realistic chord. It is rare that adult sibling relationships are depicted so completely.

Although A MURDER UNMENTIONED is, overall, a light-hearted novel it is not without troubling themes. We learn a sad secret from the Sinclair family’s closet in a demonstration that even families which appear to ‘have it all’ often hide terrible traumas. And Rowly is still struggling to get people in authority to accept how dangerous the Nazis in Germany are; something he knows first hand due to the experiences depicted in PAVING THE NEW ROAD (the fourth book of this series).

In short then there is nothing not to like about A MURDER UNMENTIONED. There’s family drama, unrequited love, a suspenseful mystery, a blazing fire which must be escaped and the ever-popular cameo appearances from some of our history’s famous faces (including a yet-to-be prime minister and one of our pioneering landscape gardeners). This is all wrapped up in a thoughtful, intelligent and amusing story that rips along at a cracking pace. Released here this month A MURDER UNMENTIONED is highly recommended reading.
  bsquaredinoz | Jan 2, 2015 |
Sulari Gentill has never pulled her punches when it comes to putting Rowly Sinclair in a spot of peril, and it turns out that she's even prepared to do that retrospectively. In the process she makes the idea of being a scion of this particular landed gentry family a rather sobering prospect. In the first book Sinclair's uncle (he of the same name) was murdered, and now, in A MURDER UNMENTIONED, it turns out that Sinclair's father had suffered the same fate.

A family secret long kept is not just that Sinclair senior was murdered, the possible involvement of the teenage Rowly and his older brother's intervention has been under the radar as well.

In all of these books, Rowland Sinclair has been a reluctant hero. With hindsight, his reluctance to also follow the family script makes perfect sense now, so much so that you have to wonder if Gentill's been planning this personal arc all along.

A MURDER UNMENTIONED follows the discovery of a gun, that triggers a reinvestigation, that ultimately casts light into some dark corners of the Sinclair family. It's not just Rowly's reluctance that starts to make sense. Wilfred's protectiveness, and their mother's mental decline also clearly have some basis in past events. These revelations come to light for the reader, as they do for Rowly's band of supporters – they of the “leap in and defend, help, protect regardless of the circumstances, and regardless of the threat”.

Part of the outcome of all of these revelations is a strengthening of relationships. The friendship between Rowly, Edna, Milton and Clyde; the affection and regard between brothers Wilfred and Rowly (which has always been there despite the rather stiff and stilted manner of expression). Finally there is acceptance of their mother's situation and a sharing of the load. There's also some fracturing of relationships, as desired romances aren't, and others turn out to be utterly disastrous.

Told, as always, with a light hand, great sympathy and a sense of humour, A MURDER UNMENTIONED sits in its timeframe as snug as a hand in a finely crafted suede glove. Somehow Gentill is able to take the reader into the timeframe in which the books are set, and in this case, back into the past further, and make you feel like it was written then. The joy of new flight, the fascination of elaborate sports cars, the isolation of the squatter lifestyle combined with the frisson of recognition that comes with real characters being incorporated seamlessly into the fictional all contribute to the enjoyment.

What holds the reader to this series is that sense of an entire world, and the bringing to life of history, combined with strong plots, and wonderful characters that you're given full permission to like. The humour is perfect, the situations believable, and the clues to solving the mystery are there for anyone who wants to play along. The only warning is that you probably shouldn't start with this novel – you need to meet Rowly long before you find out about the past. You'll see so much more in this book if you do, and besides there is so much wonderful reading in the entire series.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-murder-unmentioned-sulari-gentill ( )
  austcrimefiction | Oct 28, 2014 |
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Book description
The black sheep of a wealthy 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
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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.

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