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Book DetailsISBN: 9781921997792
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Book Review: Miles off Course by Sulari Gentill - Reviewed by CloggieA (12 Jan 2020)
5 stars Miles Off Course is the third book in the Rowland Sinclair series by award-winning Australian author, Sulari Gentill. Already a sojourn for creative pursuits has been interrupted by an attempt to kidnap gentleman artist, Rowland Sinclair; now, it will be aborted when his older brother, Wilfred turns up at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath requiring Rowly to urgently find a missing family employee. Of course, his ever-loyal artistic friends (Edna the sculptress, Milton the poet and Clyde the artist) insist on participating.
Wilfred Sinclair’s aboriginal stock manager, Harry Simpson was sent to oversee the autumn stock muster on their snow lease in the high country, but has disappeared. For this trusted employee, such behaviour is completely out of character, and while virtually every person they speak to maintains that Harry has just walked off, as their type do, neither Wilfred nor Rowly is convinced. Something else is going on, but what?
Head stockman Ned Moran and his men are wary, and do all they can to discourage Rowly from riding to the snow lease, especially with his friends, including Edna and a very insistent incognito female writer with some Sinclair family history. They are not to be deterred, although Rowly is again frustrated by his ineffectual dissuasive powers over these fiercely independent women. In another riveting instalment of twists, red herrings and drama, Gentill includes plenty in interesting historical detail, gives several well-known figures cameos, and manages to include buck jumping, four kidnap attempts, limestone caves, grave looters, a rooftop scramble, a burning hut, a fevered kiss (or two), cattle stealing, and a very big hint about certain Sinclair blood relations. And has Rowly, late in the story, finally hit upon an effective way to dissuade Edna from tagging along in dangerous situations?
Quotes from press articles of the time that preface the chapters cleverly serve the purpose of providing information pertinent to the text that follows. As always, Gentill flawlessly captures the era. This is a superlative dose of Australian historical crime fiction, and readers who enjoy it will be pleased to know they can look forward to a further seven (at least) instalments of this award-winning series, beginning with Paving The New Road.
Award-wining author Sulari Gentill set out to study astrophysics, graduated in law, and then abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts. Born in Sri Lanka, Sulari learned to speak English in Zambia, grew up in Brisbane and now lives in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW where, with her historian husband, she grows French black truffles, cares for a variety of animals and raises two wild colonial boys. Sulari also paints, but only well enough to know she should write, preferably in her pyjamas.
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