On Friday an email I received made me grin like an idiot. This was a little embarrassing as I was in a work meeting and surreptitiously checking my personal emails on my phone. No one in the meeting could have assumed the meeting was making me smile (it was a very dull, bureaucratic meeting of the kind that public servants everywhere get dragged into far too regularly) and no one could have missed the smile either. So now they all know I wasn’t paying attention. But I don’t care because the email alerted me to the existence of a new Rowland Sinclair story from Sulari Gentill. Woot. Squee. And other inappropriate terms for a non teenager to express.
It wasn’t the latest novel in the series which I have been eagerly anticipating since closing the cover on the previous one but I’ll take what I can get. In this instance it’s a novella which acts as a prequel to the current series. And it’s available now. For free. For everyone. Even you. As well as the story it contains some of Sulari Gentill’s paintings inspired by the story and setting. It’s called THE PRODIGAL SON and it takes place in 1928, about three years before A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN which is the first novel of the series. You can go download it now.
Alas I have already downloaded and devoured the 104 page novella – which depicts among other things how Rowland gets together with his trusted friends Edna, Milton and Clyde and involved a rather heart-stopping kidnapping – and will now have to wait until September next year for new news of Rowly and his friends. Sigh. This made me a bit sad so I did what any good fan would do, bought the first book in a different format to read again (and it’s fair enough as someone to whom I have loaned my hard copy of this book never gave it back). The publicity material for the novella alerted me to the fact that A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN is now available as an audio book narrated by Rupert Degas, an English voice over artist who currently lives here in Australia. I started listening while doing some gardening last night and it’s delightful.
If you have for some inexplicable reason not yet embarked upon this series now is the perfect time to start. You can sample what is to come via the free novella and then will have seven wonderful novels ready and waiting for you. The series features Rowland ‘Rowly’ Sinclair, an artist from a wealthy family, his three staunch friends and Rowly’s extended, and sometimes exasperated family. Although on one level the books are at the lighter end of the spectrum and are often dead funny they do explore some difficult social themes, not least of which is the era’s growth of right-wing fanaticism which feels particularly pertinent in these troubled times. I love highlighting this series as an example of crime fiction that tackles hard subjects without resorting to extreme violence and endless despair. If you need to hear a bit more about the books before diving in check out the review links below or read an essay about the series that appeared at Newton Review of Books earlier this year
- A FEW RIGHT THINKING MEN
- A DECLINE IN PROPHETS
- MILES OFF COURSE
- PAVING THE NEW ROAD
- GENTLEMEN FORMERLY DRESSED
- A MURDER UNMENTIONED
- GIVE THE DEVIL HIS DUE (the lack of a review is no reflection on the quality of the book, more the quality of my life around the time I read it)