Sunday, December 29, 2013

A few right thinking men

Sulari Gentill has created an interesting collection of characters in this addition to Australian crime fiction. The first book in the Rowland Sinclair series was published in 2010. The plot for A few right thinking men is set in Sydney between December 1931 and April 1932. Rowland Sinclair, an artist, lives in a large house in Woollahra with three fellow artists - Ed (Edwina) a sculptor, Clyde a painter and Milton a poet. The political tensions of the early 1930s fuelled to some extent by the economic depression form a major part of the book. Fear of the possible growth of Communism in Australia sees the development of right wing movements including the Old Gard and the New Guard formed to 'protect democracy' in New South Wales. Rowland discovers that his brother is a member of the Old Guard but Rowland's friends have views tending to the left of politics. Rowland manages to continue living in his comfortable lifestyle until his uncle, also named Rowland Sinclair, is murdered. When the police investigation appears to be making little progress Rowland and his friends make their own investigations.

This was a traumatic time in New South Wales politics and Gentill portays a sense of this as Rowland investigates the identity of the people who attacked his uncle. Using the time frame of the story I found it interestingto investigate articles about New South Wales politics in Trove, including the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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