Review: GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, Maggie Groff

Synopsis (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Intrepid investigative journalist Scout Davis has given herself a holiday, but when Hermione Longfellow accosts her in the supermarket, she stops to listen.

Most people in Byron Bay are aware of the
eccentric Anemone sisters. Always dressed in black, they rarely leave their home nestled in the hills – but Scout is sure that the drinking of chicken blood is just idle gossip. When Hermione asks Scout to track down her sister Nemony’s AWOL husband, believed to have died at sea thirty years ago but recently popped up again on the Great Barrier Reef, Scout jumps at the opportunity.

Another source of intrigue falls close to home when Scout’s sister Harper despairs over her husband’s odd behaviour. And as if that wasn’t enough, Scout’s journalist boyfriend
is finally coming home from Afghanistan. Trouble is, Scout thinks she may be falling in love with irresistible local cop Rafe – who coincidentally is also Toby’s best friend…

Delightfully witty and addictively fast-paced, this is the second hilarious outing for unforgettable sleuth Scout Davis.

My Take

I wasn’t sure whether this title by 2013 Davitt Award winner Maggie Groff (she scooped the Australian Sisters in Crime pool of Best Novel and Best First novel with MAD MEN, BAD GIRLS a few weeks ago) would actually be my cup of tea. It seemed that it would be “lighter” than my usual crime fiction fare. But then I chose it for my face to face reading group to read in the coming month, so in a sense I was committed.

I did have my doubts in the first 50 pages or so, but then things settled down a bit, and I must admit to enjoying both the plot and the plotting skill. The blurb on the front cover calls sleuth Scout Davis ” a successor to Evanovich”, and I thought I could detect a bit of Phryne Fisher there too.

I also enjoyed the quirky humour – who would call their cat Chairman Meow? – but underneath it all there is some serious, realistic characterisation and some careful plotting. There are a couple of other humour lines such as the guerilla knitting group that I thought were a bit superfluous but I guess they show another dimension of Scout’s character.

I think this series has a future.  My rating: 4.6

International readers can find it here on Amazon US for Kindle or audio.

See Bernadette’s review