Adaminaby, NSW.  22/2/2017

From mist just after sunrise to beautiful clear blue sky: it’s going to be hot today, but it was a beautiful morning for walking.

The kangaroos this morning were either quick, or dead. Two dead kangaroos since yesterday’s walk. More people are travelling around sunset and sunrise as the days are definitely getting shorter.

Adaminaby, 21/2/2017

If you look carefully into the distance, you’ll see a kangaroo hopping across the road.

I was surprised to see the kangaroo: it was just after 8am, and it wasn’t the kind of overcast cloudy day that often sees them hanging around the road after sunrise.  This kangaroo was lucky: it almost leapt in front of a ute (the dust is from the ute passing).  The kangaroo changed direction and waited a few seconds before trying again.

It was a beautiful morning for walking.  The temperature was just over 2 degrees when I set out.  There was a dusting of snow further up the ranges yesterday, but we are back to summer today.

Adaminaby, NSW. 20/2/2017

Mostly clear blue sky for this morning’s walk, but it was very windy.  Wind from the WSW at 30 kilometres an hour, with gusts over 40.  

I wondered about the wisdom of walking in shorts and a short-sleeved T shirt, but did it anyway.  I’m usually fairly warm by the time I make it to the Little River Road intersection.  The wind picked up on the way back, and I was pleased to get home.

 I love walking along this road. Much of the time, I could be the only person in the world.

A welcome cool summer day.  Today, it’s forecast to reach 21 degrees.  Tomorrow,  1 to 25 degrees.  Perfect for walking.

Adaminaby, NSW.  19/2/2017

It’s a cool windy day here in Adaminaby.  It will be about 4 degrees overnight, with a possibility (apparently) of snow down to 1500 metres.  It’s still summer.

It’s hard to think of even the possibility of snow when earlier in the week the temperature was in the high 30s.

I’m looking forward to a good long walk in the morning.  It’s so much more pleasant walking when it’s cooler.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

If you like your crime fiction gory, then this may be for you.  I enjoyed it.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

‘One dead body, six victims’

Meet William Oliver Layton-Fawkes, an English detective nicknamed ‘Wolf’.  He’s just been reinstated to the Metropolitan Police Force four years after his attempt to kill a man.  A man he was convinced was a serial killer –twenty-seven victims in twenty-seven days – even though a jury had returned a not guilty verdict.

Wolf receives a ‘phone call early one Saturday morning, summoning him to a crime scene.  The body, the ‘ragdoll’, is composed of the body parts of six different victims stitched together, suspended in a room close to where Wolf lives.  He can see his own flat from the window.

Wolf recognises the head of the victim as the man he tried to kill four years earlier.  Who are the other victims, and why were they killed? And then a list of names and dates, together with photographs of the ragdoll is sent to Wolf’s journalist ex-wife, Andrea.  The first name has today’s date, and it is clearly a hit-list.  Now the police are in a race against time: both to try to identify the owners of the body parts, and to try to prevent the people on the hit-list from being murdered.  There are a number of puzzles to be solved in the search for the murderer, and at times Wolf is his own worst enemy.

In addition to Wolf, there are a number of other interesting characters.  There’s a young policeman who becomes obsessed with the case, whose research is essential.  There are personal histories to be understood and aspects of various pasts to be negotiated.  And, it would really ruin the read if I write much more about the story.

If you like fast moving crime stories, if you can handle dark novels with flashes of black humour, then you may want to pick this one up.  The main characters are interesting, and mostly well developed, the story is detailed and has a number of different layers.  There’s plenty of tension as the time ticks down.

I picked this novel up, and found it very difficult to put down.

Note: My thanks to Hachette Australia and NetGalley for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


To The Sea by Christine Dibley

To The Sea by Christine Dibley

‘On this planet, there are two worlds.  The world of the land and the world of the sea.’

Detective Inspector Tony Vincent is called to a beach house in an idyllic location in the south of Tasmania.  It’s summer, and seventeen-year-old Zöe Kennett has vanished.  She went snorkelling, family members tell DI Vincent and his team, and she’s disappeared.  A search is initiated: perhaps Zöe is alive, somewhere.  Family members tell the police she’s a very strong swimmer.

The more questions DI Vincent asks, the stranger the situation appears.  No one seems to have a clear recollection of when they last saw Zöe, and no one really seems to have a clear idea of who she was.  It’s a large family: surely someone knows something? DI Vincent finds that while most members of the family expect the worst, Zöe’s mother seems to think that one day she might return.

There’s a story here, with many fabulous elements, spanning continents and centuries.  It’s a story told through the novel by different storytellers each sharing the information they have, their understanding of the past.  It’s a story I like, but just can’t accept.  I try to keep fables separate from fact.  But while the fabulous elements of the story make me uncomfortable, it’s not my beliefs that matter.  In this novel, Ms Dibley provides a present day mystery underpinned by a fable which passes from one generation to the next but to only one person in each generation.

What concerns me most, in this story, isn’t the fable and its impact.  It’s fiction: I can suspend disbelief.  What concerns me is that non-one in the family seems to know Zöe very well.  DI Vincent finds that there was much more to Zöe’s life than any family member seemed to know.

And the ending?  I’m not entirely sure what I wanted, but I know I wanted something else, something more.  I liked this novel, but it’s left me vaguely dissatisfied.  I mostly enjoyed the fabulous elements, but have some difficulty with their connection to the present.  I loved the setting, found DI Vincent an interesting character, and was concerned by the family’s reaction to Zöe’s disappearance.

This is Ms Dibley’s debut novel.  I’ve added her name to my list of authors to watch.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith