Post Script: Pachyderm – Hugh McGinlay

Pachyderm

Pachyderm

Hugh McGinlay

Threekookaburras

ISBN: 9780995369245

 

 

Description:

A night at the Melbourne Zoo drinking champagne seems a fine idea, until an animal’s death throws milliner and sleuth Catherine Kint into another mystery. Before you can say ‘monkey business’ Catherine and her trusted barman Boris are annoying everyone from zoologists to police. The investigation would challenge the best detectives, but this is Catherine and Boris on the case. Secrets, accidents, rivalries, egos and lust all set the dung flying. By the time this is finished, reputations will be tarnished, gin will be drunk and someone’s gonna get fed to the lions … or some other carnivore.

 

Pachyderm is the second Catherine Kint mystery written by Hugh McGinlay.

 

 

My View

I can visualise this book in the show-reel in my mind; such quintessential Australian humour, larger than life charters – Catherine and Boris are fantastic protagonists that you will cheer on as they try and solve this mystery. The settings are pure Australian – from the Melbourne Zoo to the local pubs, taxis and streetscapes.

 

I loved being privy to the protagonists’ thoughts as they navigate their way through their action packed days. Interestingly each chapter starts with a characters witty observation, eg  p. 165 chapter ten – “I’m cheerful, it’s the most subtle form of rebellion can think of,” Boris  Shakhovskoy. There is a lot to love about this clever, addictive read.

 

I predict that this series would make great television viewing with its quirky yet loveable characters, with a narrative that has a wonderful sense of fun and adventure and moments of almost slapstick humour.  I did enjoy this quirky read!

 

 

 

 

Post Script: The Sense Of An Elephant – Marco Missiroli

This is writing with heart and soul filled with quirky characters, secrets and brilliant observations of life.

The Sense of An Elephant

The Sense of an Elephant

Marco Missiroli

Picador

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781447241935

 

 

Description:

Pietro arrives in Milan with an old bicycle and a battered suitcase full of tokens of the past. He takes up a post as concierge in a small apartment building, where it soon becomes apparent he has a deep-seated reason to be there. Living in the palazzo is Luca, a doctor, whose wife Viola carries a secret that could destroy their marriage; the bereaved lawyer Poppi, kind and desperately lonely; and elderly Paola and her damaged son, both looking for impossible love. Right from the start Pietro has a special interest in Luca and his family, and soon he’s using the concierge spare keys to let himself into his apartment while the family is out. Pietro’s story is told in snatches and flashbacks, each prompted by one of the objects and notes he keeps in his suitcase, and gradually we find out what has brought him to be guardian of these lost souls, so late in his life . . .

 

My View:

A memorable narrative filled with what at first appears to be quirky individuals but as you read further you begin to know these characters as individuals with a past that has shaped their present in unique ways; as individuals that are flawed, that are real, lives where love or loneliness has shaped and determined their paths.

The biggest theme and the most moving is the evocative sense of an elephant… elephants ”… take care of the herd without regard to kinship.” (p.65 ) The protagonist Pietro, the keeper of secrets, is charged with taking care of those around him, his community, but he is also determined to protect his own kin; a difficult act to balance.

But this is more than a story about love, themes of death and assisted dying are also woven into this intricate plot; death of a child, death of a lover, a partner…death of aspirations and plans for the future. The sub story of the old man who cares for his son who needs the assistance of tubes and machines to live is heartbreaking. What a wonderful example of love this is.

There are so many memorable moments and observations in this novel but one that will stay with me is this, Luca says to Pietro (p.193) “When my mother was dying she told me she had one single passion in her life. “Papa,” I said to her. ”No,” she said….”It was someone I knew before I was married,” my mother said. “The only good secret in my life.”… ‘I asked my mother how she came to marry my father. She said, “Papa was the love for a lifetime.” So what was the other? “The other was the love of a lifetime.”

Great characters, brilliant observations of love and life and death and an ending that will bring a tear to your eye. Memorable reading.

Post Script: Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

“Death is a natural occurrence, murder is not.” (p.362)

Leaving Time

Leaving Time

Jodi Picoult

Allen and Unwin

ISBN:9781743317211

 

Description Alice Metcalf was a devoted mother, loving wife and accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. Yet it’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life. All signs point to abandonment – or worse.

 

Still Jenna – now thirteen years old and truly orphaned by a father maddened by grief – steadfastly refuses to believe in her mother’s desertion. So she decides to approach the two people who might still be able to help her find Alice: a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance and the strange, possibly linked death of one of her mother’s co-workers.

 

Together these three lonely souls will discover truths destined to forever change their lives. Deeply moving and suspenseful, Jodi Picoult’s 21st novel is a radiant exploration of the enduring love between mothers and daughters

 

 

My View:

Leaving Time is one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. This is a book that defies you to limit it to one specific genre – it is a murder/mystery, it is a romance, it has a psychic, it is a contemporary work of fiction, it is a social commentary, it is a study on elephants and of loss and grief… This book has many themes; about relationships, particularly relationships between mother and child whether they be human or elephant, about loss, grieving, death and memory and forgiving but not forgetting. This can be a casual comfortable read as you sit by the pool, or the in the airport lounge or on the train, it can also be something more serious; words that prick your conscience, words that make your heart quake and words that will make you smile.

 

The setting in the books come alive in front of you – elephant sanctuaries –both in Africa and in Tennessee USA, police stations, seedy neighbourhoods, a haunted derelict house…words paint realistic pictures. And the dialogue – contemporary, natural and flows so well, the humour will make you ‘eye roll’.   Here is just one hilariously example where we get Jenna’s perspective (thirteen years old) of Virgil/Victor trying to talk a lab technician/colleague in to assisting them (p127), Jenna- “I’ve been sitting on an examination table observing the mating behaviour of the Fundamentally Alcoholic, Washed Up Male and the Oversexed, Overblown Cougar.

Here are my scientific field notes:

The Male is uneasy, caged. He sits and taps his foot incessantly, then gets up and paces. He has put a little effort into grooming today, in anticipation of seeing the Cougar, who enters the room.

She wears a white laboratory coat and too much makeup. She smells like the perfume inserts in magazines that are so overwhelming you are tempted to lob the whole issue across the room, even If it means you will never finds out the Ten Things Guys Want in Bed or What Makes Jennifer Lawrence Mad! She is a blond with dark roots, and someone needs to tell her that pencil skirts are not doing her ass any favours.

The Male makes the first move. He uses dimples as a weapon. He says Wow Lulu long time no see.

The Cougar rebuffs his advances…” It just gets funnier.

 

Panoramic settings, realistic dialogue, engaging characters, humour, elephants, love, death, murder and mystery, all these elements make this a momentous read – and did I mention the twist in the tail? Guaranteed to surprise.

 

That’s my view, what’s yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read extract here: