It packs a bit of mystery into its 150 or so pages, a fair piece of suspense into a climactic confrontation, and a nice twist that brings the reader back to a mystery he or she might have forgotten.
There are brief, loving descriptions of Tasmania's natural life, a longtime interest of the author, who also writes about natural history. And there is the Pufferfish prickliness, both from the man himself and from his blunt assistant, Detective Rafe Treadway:
"Jay Ho's Sandy Beach Road property ... hides behind a thick and leaning three-metre high sandstone wall, probably built by convicts in the dwindling years of transportation. But the electronic gate gives a hint of something other than wealth. Down here at forty-two degrees south very few individuals feel the need to lock themselves away from the great unwashed."Though the settings are vastly different — one contemporary urban and rural Tasmania, the other 1960s and early '70s suburban England — readers of Colin Watson's Flaxborough Chronicles series might enjoy Owen's gently and sometimes not so gently mocking humor.
"`What a knob,' Rafe says, buttoning down his driverside window and pushing the buzzer on the intercom."
(Read about the 1990s Pufferfish novels here.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2010