The Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin (Penguin, 2010); audiobook read by Peter Byrne (Bolinda, 2010) Former bomber pilot Charlie Berlin is sent to Wodonga to track down a gang of armed robbers. His investigations seem almost peripheral to McGeachin’s purpose: a well-drawn character study of Berlin and of rural Australian society shortly after the Second World War.
Nest by Inga Simpson (Hachette, 2014); audiobook ready by the author (Wavesound, 2016) A could-have-been murder mystery in which Inga Simpson defies all genre expectations and instead just tells the story of a woman coming to terms with her life choices. A beautiful exploration of flora and fauna, person and place (the Sunshine Coast hinterland).
The New Shoe by Arthur W. Upfield (Doubleday, 1951); audiobook read by Peter Hosking (Bolinda, 2010) A beautiful piece of Australiana and a preserved character study—both of the small coastal town and its inhabitants, and of half-caste Aboriginal detective Napoleon Bonaparte. Upfield’s prose is methodical yet poetically descriptive. Bony is a protagonist with unique methods and appeal.
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (F. W. Cheshire, 1967); audiobook read by Yael Stone (Bolinda, 2018) Pointless Australiana. While some of the lengthier complex sentences lose their coherence in the audiobook reading, it is Hanging Rock’s mystery element—the dangled carrot that might tie together its inconsistencies and senseless character actions—that most disappoints, being left entirely unaddressed.