Crime Scene Cessnock


This is my fifth book in the A-Z Book Challenge.

All it took was a summer’s day, a flat tyre on his pushbike, and Les is out on bail and on the run from a gun-happy street gang intent on a drive-by. So, with Warren’s help, Les Norton, defendant, becomes Len Gordon, film director, safely ensconced at the ultra-swish Opal Springs Health Resort till Eddie can sort things out back in Sydney.

Unfortunately, the first thing Les finds on arrival is motivational guru Alexander Holden dead at the front gate. Then, before you can say soya beans with tahini and lime dressing, the cops arrive and Les is up to his neck in the land of a thousand acronyms, fighting off steroid-happy body builders, sex-crazed socialites, violent greyhound owners and, worst of all, caffeine withdrawals – while at the same time matching wits with the four ‘acronymonious’ writers-in-residence. Was Alexander Holden murdered? Or was it an accident? Find out in the gripping climax and food fight when all is revealed – in the library.

I had not read the blurb before reading this book, if I had, I doubt whether I would have read it.  I had only read the fact that it was set on a health farm in the beautiful Pokolbin Valley in New South Wales and that it was a whodunit with a difference. Well that was certainly true.  I have never come across a crime fiction novel where so much time was taken up in description of what a character was going to be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. I also lost count of the number of bottles of spring water that he drank, but it seemed to happen on every second page. It was tedious and I kept skipping the food references in the hope that something exciting was going to happen.

The book takes too much time listing the mundane aspects of everyday life and little time in the actual story line and where it all became too much for me was when he said that all would be revealed in the library. . I’m not sure if the library revelation was a spoof on Poirot, but it didn’t work.

I have not read any Robert G. Barrett books before.  He is an Australian author and he has written twenty books in the Les Norton series. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the publication of his first book and it has been republished as Still Riding on the Storm. Perhaps I should read that one to see if the first was better than the last.

This book was certainly not my favourite cup of lemon-scented, herb-soaked tea served with . . . . . . . . you get the idea.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Northern Narratives says:

    I like the bullet holes on the cover.

    1. suth2 says:

      There was no shooting in the story but I guess it makes an interesting cover. They certainly look realistic.

  2. Seems like a bit of a bait and switch. Looking at the cover I was expecting an exciting chase followed by a shoot out. Maybe the author is trying to invent a new genre of culinary intrigue?

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