torsdag den 7. januar 2010

Peter Temple, Bad Debts (1996)


[Denne australske krimi er ikke oversat til dansk, men det er den prisbelønnede “Den knuste kyst” fra 2008]

Australian debut, the first in the Jack Irish series, and my first Global Reading Challenge Review.

A taste of the style (p 7):

“Eddie Dollery´s skin wasn´t looking good. He´d cut himself several times shaving and each nick was wearing a little red-centred rosette of toilet paper. The rest of Eddie, bloated, was wearing yesterday´s superfine cotton business shirt, striped, and scarlet pyjama pants, silk. The overall effect was not fetching.”

Jack Irish, the first-person narrator, is a former lawyer, a debt collector and detective who still struggles to come to terms with the loss of his beloved wife some years earlier. The plot begins when an old client, Danny McKillop, leaves a message on Irish´s phone, asking him for help. Irish checks up on the old case which took place soon after his wife´s death, finding out that McKillop was convicted of culpable driving, killing a woman while he was intoxicated. Jack Irish gets the message too late, and soon after McKillop is shot down by a policeman in ´self-defence´. Irish speaks with friends and relatives, and soon new information makes him uncertain whether McKillop really committed the crime he was sent to prison for.

The case also involves politics (giving me the impression that Peter Temple is not exactly impressed by their honesty and integrity) and a touch of conspiracy. And at some point the police give Jack Irish the feeling they want him to ´give the case a miss´. Well, we all know what will happen next, don´t we?

No more about the exciting and well-wrought plot. Temple gives a clear impression of the Melbourne environment and a colourful impression of Australian English.

A taste of Australian geography:

“It takes hours to get to Perth, flying over the huge shark-infested dent in the continent called the Great Australian Bight. And when you get there, you´re two hours in the past. I didn´t know Perth; it was just an airport on the way to Europe. They tell me the locals have secessionist tendencies. I can understand that. Judging by the accents, they´ll probably have a fight over whether to rename the State Manchester or Birmingham.”

I have been looking forward to the Jack Irish series, and in spite of the conspiracy aspect (not exactly my favourite plot), I enjoyed the debut thoroughly. (Dash it, now I will have to add number two, three and four to my list).

I bought this book myself.

8 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - I'm glad you've read some Jack Irish; isn't he a terrific protagonist?! Thanks for your excellent review of Bad Debts. And yes, now you have to read the other Jack Irish novels, too : )

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: no way around it; three more on my list ;)
Well, I suppose that is what book blogging is really about (finding the best, buying, reading and reviewing them) :D

Jose Ignacio Escribano sagde ...

Dorte I'm glad you choose Peter Temple, Bad Debts. From my side I have Dead Point in my list, but I hardly start in chronological order.

Dorte H sagde ...

Jose: I really enjoyed it! But I don´t quite know where I will go next with the challenge either. I have a library book to finish in the weekend.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

I am sorely tempted not to read anything but standalones. I can't take the commitment.

lilly sagde ...

Hhhmm, Australian mystery...That's something I have yet to try and this one looks quite interesting. Thanks for highlighting it.

Maxine sagde ...

Nice review, Dorte! If it is any consolation (if Denmark is same as UK) the fourth is not available here yet, so only two more to go!

I like Jack Irish very much, but if you want "bigger picture themes" then The Broken Shore (gold dagger winner of 2007 or thereabouts) should do the trick, though that is also strong on corruption in politics and public life, even more so than the Jack Irish books I'd say.

I think the Jack Irish books get better (well, the three I have read) in that he tones down the "over the top" endings somewhat as the books progress.

On standalones, if anyone wants to try a Peter Temple standalone, The Broken Shore is in effect one (the newly published Truth is a sort of sequel in the sense that some of the same characters appear, but isn't really a sequel).

There are three other excellent Peter Temple standalones: In the Evil Day (a sort of John LeCarre-style book); The Iron Rose (another Australian one, a lament for the environment as well as a great thriller); and Shooting Star, based on the classic PI novel. I loved them all.

Dorte H sagde ...

Patti: as Maxine suggests, you could try his excellent The Broken Shore. I am quite the opposite of you, I love finding another great series, knowing I have several good reading experiences ahead of me.

Thank you, Lilly. Temple´s plots are good, and he writes excellently.

Maxine: Thank you. Denmark is not the same as UK as we don´t get Jack Irish at all. Cheers to online bookshops! I have read and enjoyed The Broken Shore, and I am looking forward to In the Evil Day which is on my TBR. So the next Australasian book on my wish list is Paul Cleave from New Zealand.