An Emily Tempest Investigation, No 1
February 1, 2009 / ISBN: 978156474839
Amatuer Sleuth / Australia / Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: I parked my little white ute on the outskirts
of the camp and sat there, looking out at the scatter of corrugated
Emily Tempest has traveled Australia and the world, only to return
to return to the community where she grew up; Moonlight Downs. Shortly
after her return, the beloved leader of the community is brutally
murdered. The obvious suspect is the half-crazed aboriginal, Blackie.
But is the obvious suspect too obvious.
It is not easy for an author to write cross-gender; Hyland does
Emily is a fascinating character; strong, independent and trying
to find her way home. With her being bi-cultural, aboriginal and
white, she is the conduit through which we see a culture completely
different from our own and the conflicts which exist between them.
However, you are given a sense of the culture without bludgeoning
you with it. It’s not a diatribe, but shows how the present
draws reference from the past in a very good story of the here and
Hyland has wonderful voice and use of language…”She
was wearing a white cotton dress, beneath which the contours of
her body flowed as smoothly as the country songs they sometimes
sing out here”. I loved the reference to Emily and her friend,
Hazel, coming across a trove of classic literature…”the
collection in front of us was something else. … They were
the planet itself.” The use of wry humor provides a lightening
tone to the subject of the book…”I took another look
at their transport,… It looked like something the Haps had
dropped on Darwin.” Happily, he provided a glossary of terms,
however it is fairly easy to glean the meaning of unfamiliar words
just from their context.
Not only does Hyland establish a strong sense of place, but he very
effectively conveys a feeling of threat and danger.
Sometimes it’s obvious to see why award-winning books are
just that. Such is the case here. There was a 3-year gap, but I’m
anxious to read the next book in the Emily Tempest series.