Tag Archives: Whispering Death

Ned Kelly Awards for Australian crime writing: the shortlist is out

The shortlist for Australia’s annual crime writing gongs, The Ned Kelly Awards, was released this week.

While the big publishers usually dominate the Neddies, although this year it’s a clean sweep. Allen and Unwin, Pan Macmillan, Harper Collins and Random House share the prizes. Make of that what you will in terms of the state of local crime writing.

The Neddies have three categories: Best First Fiction, Best Fiction and True Crime.Reflecting a wider trend in publishing, this year’s shortlist for best first crime novel has a distinct dystopian/fantasy feel to it. When We Have Wings by Claire Corbett is a PI story set in a world where people have the ability to fly and genetic engineering is rampant. Kim Westward’s The Courier’s New Bicycle is the story of a bike courier who transports contraband through the alleyways of a Melbourne set in the future. Word is it’s good and at the risk of being proven wrong I suspect it may be the one to watch.

The exception is The Cartographer by Peter Twohig, set in Melbourne in 1951 and dealing with a young boy who flees into the city’s sewers after witnessing a violent crime.

Best fiction is a three-way contest between Malcolm Knox’s The Life, J.C Burke’s Pig Boy and Barry Maitland’s Chelsea Mansions.… Read more

Book review: Whispering Death

Why is the police procedural sub genre of crime fiction so popular? Is it something to do with our roots as a nation of convicts? Do we have a voyeuristic fascination with the inner workings of the police force?

Or maybe it’s just because for the most part – and many will disagree with me here – they provide a relatively straightforward, escapist read? Nothing wrong with that. Someone commits a crime and the cops need to solve it. There’s a bit of violence, usually a bit of sex, we get a few insights into modern day police methods and everything is pretty much neatly wrapped up by the end.

Whispering Death is the sixth of Garry Disher’s Peninsular murder mysteries, so named because they take place on the Mornington Peninsular, a rapidly growing area south east of Melbourne.

If you like police procedurals, chances are this book is already on your to read list, so enough said. If you’re not, then this is a good place to start because as usual journeyman Australian crime author Disher delivers a superior product.

Whispering Death opens with sergeant Ellen Destry on her way to Europe to study how the police tackle sex crimes, leaving her lover and veteran cop, Inspector Hal Challis, to deal with a rapist who wears a police uniform and has a sophisticated knowledge of forensics.… Read more