White Throat (Clementine Jones #2) by Sarah Thornton

‘Looking out over an ebb tide from the back verandah was like watching God paint stripes.’

The house-sitting gig in Piama on the Queensland coast does not pay much, but it gave Clementine (Clem) Jones a convenient excuse to leave Katinga once certain facts about her past became known.  It is supposed to be a temporary move.  The local Australian Rules Football club want her back after her success in coaching them to their first premiership win.  But Clem does not think she will return to Katinga.  And, while she considers her future (including a lucrative job in Melbourne), she is helping her friend Helen with a campaign to save the endangered white throat turtle.  The turtle’s habitat will disappear if a planned new port development goes ahead.

After Helen is found dead at the foot of a cliff, the police consider her death suicide.  Clem does not agree and sets out to find out what happened to Helen.  And there are plenty of suspects: many of the people in Piama want the port to go ahead.  The mayor and some businessmen see profits, while others would welcome the money they would receive for their properties.

Clem’s life and her investigation are both enhanced and complicated when one of her Katinga football stars (an ex-convict, himself in a spot of bother) joins her.

Clem takes quite a few risks (nothing new here) as she tries to find out what happened to Helen.  Who would benefit from her death?  And why did Helen include some puzzling conditions into her will?

I like Clem: she’s a flawed, focussed hero trying to work through some personal challenges while trying to ensure that Helen’s death is properly investigated. She’s feisty and brave and occasionally foolhardy.  Can she uncover the truth?  And will she accept what looks like a very attractive job back in corporate law? What about Katinga?

A terrific second instalment in Ms Thornton’s Clementine Jones mystery/thriller series.  What will happen next?

Highly recommended.

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

Jennifer Cameron-Smith