Monday, December 04, 2006

David Owen's thorough but unobtrusive research

"What would also have been easy enough to take, but not to find, were the O-BP eggs."

"The what?"

"Sorry. Orange-bellied parrot. You'd know that it's one of the rarest birds in the world. There might be one-hundred and fifty, two hundred at most."

A passage like that won't knock your socks off. But it does convey important and interesting information with concision and even a bit of humor. It’s from The Devil Taker, the fourth and last novel in David Owen's sadly missed series about Tasmania's prickliest police inspector, Franz "Pufferfish" Heineken.

Owen proved himself a master of straight-faced and acerbic humor in X and Y. In The Devil Taker, he shows he is good at conveying information about oceanography, boating and wildlife without slowing the narrative or flaunting his research. No information dumps here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2006

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