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Remittance Man

by Nara Lake

      Back in the gold rush of the 1850s there was a bank robbery in a small township called Hurtleís Creek.† That was the only thing that ever happened there of any note, but out-of-favor journalist Adam Bailey, aka RM, has been sent there to report what it is like now.† Meanwhile, taking full advantage of the land boom, is entrepreneur Walker J Hanford.† Walkerís wife is the meek Maude, beaten by her husband and desperate to find a way out of her sham marriage.† Adam finds his dull sojourn enlivened by a murder, and Maudeís life seems about to change in a dramatic manner.

There is a lot of reading in this book, which conjures up from the first page a tangible picture of fashionable Melbourne, then back-of-beyond Hurtleís Creek.† Expect one of the most complex and involved plots possible in a book of fairly modest length, some romance (fairly lukewarm but this is not primarily that sort of book) and some surprises.† Ms Lake manages to sidestep rather neatly some potential cliche situations which seem to be visible from a mile away (there isnít even a remittance man in the story), and has a formidable grasp of 19th century Australian history.† I havenít read anything like this for a long time, and found this to be the sort of book that rather defies categorization.† I hope that Robert Hale is going to publish more of this authorís works, as I was impressed by this for many good reasons.

The Book

Robert Hale
August 2008
0709085834 / 9780709085836
Historical Mystery / 1885 Melbourne and Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
More at UK
NOTE: Not yet up on Amazon US site

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008