A fascinating historical mystery by Sulari Gentill, author of #1 LibraryReads pick The Woman in the Library
Shortlisted for Best First Book for the Commonwealth Writers' Price for 2011
"Her witty hero will delight traditional mystery buffs." —Library Journal STARRED review
Can a house divided against itself hope to stand?
Sydney, 1931. Rowland Sinclair doesn't fit with his family. His conservative older brother, Wilfred, thinks he's reckless, a black sheep; his aging mother thinks he's her son who was killed in the war. Only his namesake Uncle Rowly, a kindred spirit, understands him—and now he's been brutally murdered in his own home.
The police are literally clueless, and so Rowly takes it upon himself to crack the mystery of the murder. In order to root out the guilty party, he uses his wealth and family influence to infiltrate the upper echelons of both the old and the new guard, playing both against the middle in a desperate and risky attempt to find justice for his uncle. With his bohemian housemates—a poet, a painter, and a free-spirited sculptress—watching his back, Rowly unwittingly exposes a conspiracy that just might be his undoing.
The first novel in the Rowland Sinclair WII Mysteries introduces readers to an amateur sleuth with wit, heart, and a knack for solving inscrutable crimes. A historical mystery by an award-winning author, this murder mystery will appeal to fans of Rhys Bowen, Kerry Greenwood, and Jacqueline Winspear.
Gentill's well-mannered first novel in a series set in Depression-era Australia introduces gentleman painter Rowland "Rowly" Sinclair, the somewhat emotionally reserved youngest son of a moneyed family. Rowly's pursuit of his artistic path and financial support of several similar-minded creative friends are causes of concern to his older brother and their peers, "right-thinking men" who suspect Rowly's associates of Communist leanings or worse. When Rowly's uncle, also named Roland Sinclair, dies after being assaulted in his Sydney home, the police suspect the elderly housekeeper, in collusion with other disenfranchised elements, despite the housekeeper's reported sighting of mysterious dark figures at the scene. Convinced the police are pursuing the wrong path, Rowly looks deeper into his uncle's holdings and interests. Gentill's positioning of Rowly as an observer of the personal consequences of political actions targeting the privileged and the not so fortunate helps inform the sometimes dry narrative.