Title: Babylon South (Scobie Malone #6)
Author: Jon Cleary
Reader: Shaun Grindell
Audio published: June 1, 2013 by AudioGo (First published 1990)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve been on a Scobie Malone kick lately. I like him – he’s a good detective, honest, loyal, and a family man. And Shawn Grindell just captures his voice and attitude perfectly. This time around though, his loyalties are a little conflicted. His job is to figure out who killed Sir Walter’s sister, Emma, in addition to who killed Sir Walter 20 years ago. Problem is one of the suspects is possibly the illegitimate daughter of the police commissioner who would like Scobie to leave her alone if at all possible.
I liked this one because it threw me a couple of curveballs I didn’t see coming. I wasn’t sure who the killer in either murder was, although I had suspects all of which were of course wrong.
One of the better characters was a just-released ex-con, Chilla Dural, who had threatened Sir Walter twenty-years earlier when he had him put away. Chilla is a full of contradictions, a freed convict who wants to be back home in prison, but won’t shoot anyone or kill anyone and even fails at a bank robbery when someone else gets to it first. He’s a warm man, one you can like despite his flaws. I was wondering how he’d fit into the plot through the first half off the book though. His parts were disconnected until it all came together.
I tend to like strong women character, especially in male-dominated mysteries, and this one has a couple of great women. Venetia is honest and ruthless, but caring too, at least when it comes to her daughter and her dead husband. Her daughter is not quite as tough as she is, but can stand up for herself. Emma, the woman who was killed, was a little nutty, but strong and determined nonetheless.
It also provides an interesting picture of Australia in the 80s during a market crash. We get to see how the rich are viewed by ordinary cops and how everyone has their own prejudices.
I like this series in general, but this is one of the better installments.
Scobie Malone Series