I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lane's End by Jill Paterson
on October 30, 2014
Source: my own shelves
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Fourth in the Fitzjohn Mystery detective series set in Sydney, Australia, in 2013 and revolving around Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn.
The story is very low-key in a number of areas, low enough to be vague, which I found irritating — and partially accounts for the “3”. What really pushed me to that “3” was how lame the reason was for not revealing what truly happened back in 1983. Good grief. Why not at least tell Richard??? It was a letdown when the truth all came out. Oh, it was all quite plausible…except for the why. As for that “foreign” accent that Van Goren had…gimme a break. You’ll understand once you read the story. Jesus.
There’s plenty of action in Lane’s End: issues in the police station; the long, involved mysteries plaguing the Carmichaels (and Hunts); Emma’s shenanigans; the unlikely heir to Van Goren’s estate; Ben’s personal issues with his father and Emma; those early relationships between Richard, Sebastian, and Rachael; Amanda’s reticence; and, of course, Fitzjohn’s turmoils with his neighbor and sister as well as his relationship with his niece. It certainly kept things hopping.
They’re great characters, both the core ones and this story’s. I’ll definitely have to go back to the first in this series, The Celtic Dagger, in hopes of meeting Fitzjohn’s wife. I think I’d like her.
While Paterson uses a third person global subjective point-of-view, the primary perspective is Fitzjohn’s with a pace that’s quick enough to keep me interested — especially with those characters, lol — although the prose felt very 1950s.
Just keep in mind that the truth will always out.
Murder. At the Sydney Observatory. Witnesses who know more than they’re telling. It’s all grist for Fitzjohn to mull over, causing him to dig deep, back to 1983 with too many people involved in a maze of twisted stories.
Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn has a lovely new greenhouse in his backyard where he grows his prized orchids. Edith is his late wife who died 18 months ago. Meg is Alistair’s interfering, controlling sister who lives in Melbourne. Sophie is her determined daughter, studying forensic medicine in Sydney. She’s about to have new roommates of whom her mother does not approve.
Day Street, New South Wales Police Force
Detective Sergeant Martin Betts is Fitzjohn’s partner. Chief Superintendent Evelyn Grieg is a major jerk and Fitzjohn’s supervisor. DCI Reginald Fellowes (he retired as Chief Superintendent) had originally been in charge of the investigation into Rachael Carmichael’s death. Senior Constable Williams, who had been moved to Kings Cross Local Area Command is back at Day Street.
Charles Conroy is the pathologist who works at the Parramatta morgue. DCI David Roberts is in charge of the attack at Lane’s End.
Peter Van Goren was a wealthy man and an uninvited guest. Ida Clegg is Van Goren’s housekeeper. Marjorie “Marge” Reynolds is the cook, and Leonard “Len” Preston is the grounds man and chauffeur. Raymond West is Van Goren’s solicitor.
Richard Carmichael and Emerson Hunt are real estate partners. Laura Carmichael is Richard’s second wife; his first, Rachael, a talented artist, died under suspicious circumstances. The estranged Benjamin and Joanna were Richard’s children before he married Laura. Lane’s End is the Carmichael family’s country property along Whale Beach. Amanda Marsh was the housekeeper back in the day. Now she’s a caterer. Henry Beaumont is the gardener who disappeared.
Benjamin is a renowned photojournalist (with a degree in astrophysics) who is living with his fiancée, Emma Phillips, a freelance journalist. Audrey McIntyre is Emma’s research assistant. Ron Evans is Ben and Emma’s next-door neighbor.
Sebastian Newberry is Richard’s half-brother and an interior designer with a degree in architecture who runs Ultra Design. Jacinta is Newberry’s assistant. Sebastian’s father had been Edmund Newberry who died in a car accident. His mother then married Desmond Carmichael, his father’s best friend.
Theodora Hunt is Emerson’s wife, and she runs Fabrique en France. Tulip is her nervous dog.
Murray, Bennett, Walker are Richard’s solicitors. Rhonda Butler is Fitzjohn’s nasty neighbor who has involved the Leichardt Municipal Council.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a bold red sky with a tower emerging from a rooftop in a much darker red. I’m guessing the house is at Lane’s End. The title is a combination of script and sans serif in white and begins on the right side of the tower. At the start of the title is an eagle-headed cane on the slant. The author’s name is near the bottom, also in white, as is the series information immediately below it.
The title is where the mystery began at Lane’s End so many years ago.