An avid reader of good Australian authors, I’m pleased to add my friend and fellow Ten Penner Julie Baythorpe to my must read list.
Last Sunday I was delighted to be able to attend her book launch of ‘Under the Fig Tree’ another in her Reid Devron murder mystery series.
The first was ‘The Lavender Principal’, which I’ve read and reviewed already but am now reposting as I’ve now purchased the second in this series called ‘Silo Deadfall’, which I am also looking forward to reading and reviewing.
Book Review by Jill Smith ©April 2011
Title: The Lavender Principal…an outback murder mystery
I found this book wonderfully written, highlighting the uniqueness of Australia. The rugged outback and its equally stoic communities and people spread out in a vast landscape make this murder mystery all the more tantalizing. With the school activities the social focus of the community, the school principal is an important, if transient, community member. The relationships between families and the local school Principal are unbalanced, when Reid Devron, starts asking questions. The dialogue in the local vernacular really draws the reader into the drama. Who did murder Neil Addison, and why?
At Somerset Literary Festival this year, I was disappointed to hear one prominent international author say she despaired for those who wrote from an Australian view point. I disagree with this and say that Australia is a setting, a character in itself, so why should we not write about this country and its people, as they are what we know?
I loved this unique Australian story and feel that it has a place on any bookshelf. Like Lillian Beckwith, her stories are based in small communities in the isolated New Hebrides, people around the world may not live in the climate or community described, but, they can read and enjoy the human experience there.
Julie Baythorpe was born in Sydney and grew up in Brisbane, she moved to the Gold Coast in 1985. She has been writing all her life. She has taught creative writing both as a teacher and a principal in classrooms across Queensland. Clearly, she draws from her experience in outlining the daily running of a small rural school.