BOOK CLUB: Death Leaves the Station

Death Leaves the Station is the first novel by Alexander Thorpe, although reading his “About the author” section he seems to have lived a most interesting life and should have plenty of experiences to incorporate into future works.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Thorpe’s use of language and description is masterful and once started I didn’t want to put it down.

The tale commences with a grinning little man knocking on the door of the house at Halfwell Station, on the edge of the West Australian Outback.  When the lady of the house, Mrs Harris answers the door she is confronted by the man, dressed in a long brown shift or cassock, who politely requests “a spot of tea.”  As Mrs Harris agrees and lets him in, we are told that “Somewhere in the mulga, a mile or two to the south, a corpse lay slowly cooling.”

And with that enigmatic beginning, we meet the Harris’. Ruth Harris, a short wiry woman of middle age, Neville Harris, a farmer who believes as the man of the house he is entitled to speak for the women, Mariana, their daughter and the little grinning man, a friar who claims to have no name.

With the discovery of a dead body on the property by Mariana, that magically disappears before anyone else gets to see it, we are introduced to Detective Sergeant Arnold Parkes of Geraldton Police Station (and his moustache) and his indigenous tracker, Cooper.

The search for answers, where has the corpse gone, who was the corpse, why was he killed etc will bring up more questions, and answers, for all involved. As Parkes, Cooper, Mariana, and the nameless friar embark on a search that will lead them from the goldfields to the city, admissions and discoveries will occur that will rock everyone’s world.

In telling this tale Thorpe has not attempted to play down the attitudes, ideas and prejudices that were prevalent at the turn of the 20th century, in his own words “I have included these in the interests of providing an accurate historical setting and in the recognition that the damaging legacy of racism should not be hidden or downplayed. No disrespect is intended.” 

Many thanks to Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read and review this book, and to share it with members of Beauty and Lace Club.  I hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

Highly recommended for lovers of Cozy Mysteries, historical fiction and anyone who enjoys a good read.

ISBN: 9 781925 816006 / Publisher: Fremantle Press

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Death Leaves the Station by Alexander Thorpe. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

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