Review: MILES OFF COURSE, Sulari Gentill

  • Published Pantera Press 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-9870685-2-1
  • Book 3 in the Rowland Sinclair series
  • 352 pages
  • source: my local library

Synopsis (Pantera Press)

In early 1933, Rowland Sinclair and his companions are ensconced in
the superlative luxury of The Hydro Majestic – Medlow Bath, where
trouble seems distant indeed.

And then Harry Simpson vanishes.

Croquet and pre-dinner cocktails are abandoned for the High Country
where Rowland hunts for Simpson with a determination that is as
mysterious as the disappearance itself. Stockmen, gangsters and a
belligerent writer all gather to the fray, as the investigation becomes
embroiled with a much darker conspiracy.

Murder, Treason, Trespass, Kidnapping, Betrayal… Again, Rowland Sinclair finds himself in the middle of it all.

My Take

MILES OFF COURSE, set in New South Wales in 1933, follows a similar pattern to the earlier books in this series. Rowly is asked by his older brother Wilf to go to the high country, where Sinclairs have cattle runs, to investigate the disappearance of an aboriginal head man Harry Simpson.

Newspaper extracts of the time keep up a running commentary about contemporary events and politics. At the same time it seems that someone may be targetting Rowly himself amid a wave of suspected abductions in Sydney.

The novel is an interesting exploration not only of New South Wales politics but also of current attitudes to women and aborigines. The landed gentry like Rowly’s brother Wilf are still very apprehensive about the rise of Communism and overseas Hitler is gaining strength in Germany. Wilf himself moves in social circles who focus on a way of life that has been lost.

Amid this historical detail Sulari Gentill weaves a mystery and gives us more of the background of the Sinclair family.

Most enjoyable reading. The setting feels authentic and the mystery is engaging.

My rating: 4.8

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Looking forward to reading the next (already published) PAVING THE NEW ROAD, also set in 1933.

Author’s website.

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