An Iron Rose and Bad Debts

by Peter Temple


In his new life Mac Faraday is a blacksmith set up on his late father’s spread not too far from Melbourne. In his old life, he was a senior detective in the Australian federal police, but he left after a stakeout went sour and he’s trying to forget the whole thing. Then his friend on the next farm is found hanging in a machine shed. Faraday knows it’s not suicide and he begins investigating — quietly, informally. Will the past catch up with him? Could it not?

Peter Temple is as entertaining a thriller writer as one is likely to find in Australia or anywhere else. His characters in An Iron Rose are wonderfully odd; even Faraday’s dog stands out from the crowd. The action moves along swiftly, the plot is sufficiently complicated and there’s a wealth of local colour, like the tendency of these country types to pull on a Drizabone whenever they go out. Best of all, Faraday has a fine line in wisecracks, and seduction scenes are enlivened by witty banter between seducer and seductee.

Temple is best known for a series featuring Jack Irish, a former Melbourne solicitor come down in the world. When he’s not in the pub, at the races or trying to learn the art of cabinetmaking, Irish works as a debt collector. In Bad Debts, the first in the series, a former client whose case Irish lost while he was still practising law leaves a message on his answering machine, asking for help. Irish is sleeping off a binge and doesn’t hear the message until it’s too late and the man is killed. He tries to ignore the creeping sense of guilt, fails, and makes the dangerous decision to look into the original case.

A former South African, Temple has lived in Australia since 1980. He’s won four Ned Kelly awards so far for crime fiction, all well deserved. His books are so good it’s surprising it has taken so long for them to be distributed outside Australia. Apparently his first publisher thought they were ”too Australian” to work anywhere else — as if the exotic were not one of the reasons people read crime novels. Fortunately, Temple has finally moved to a more adventurous publisher and the novels have travelled — and travelled well.

An actual Black Friday deal

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Barbara Ludman
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