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The Port Fairy Murders is the sequel to The Holiday Murders, an historical crime novel set in 1943 in the newly formed Homicide department of Victoria Police. The Holiday Murders explored the little-known fascist groups that festered in Australia both before and during the war, particularly an organisation called Australia First. The Port Fairy Murders continues with thisThe Port Fairy Murders is the sequel to The Holiday Murders, an historical crime novel set in 1943 in the newly formed Homicide department of Victoria Police. The Holiday Murders explored the little-known fascist groups that festered in Australia both before and during the war, particularly an organisation called Australia First. The Port Fairy Murders continues with this exploration but looks, as well, at the bitter divide between Catholics and Protestants. This divide was especially raw in small rural communities. The Homicide team, which includes Detective Joe Sable and Constable Helen Lord, is trying to track down a man named George Starling. Starling is a dangerous loose end from the investigation in The Holiday Murders. At the same time they are called to investigate a double murder in Port Fairy. It seems straightforward — they have a signed confession — but it soon becomes apparent that nothing is straightforward about the incident. The novel examines the tensions that simmer in a small town, riven by class and religious divides, and under economic stress from the shrinking of its fishing industry, and the exploitation of fishermen by Melbourne's markets. It also examines the tensions within the Homicide Department....

Title : the port fairy murders
Author :
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ISBN : 23682181
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 282 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the port fairy murders Reviews

  • MaryG2E
    2018-10-15 17:14

    This book, the sequel to The Holiday Murders gets off to a flying start with a lively pace and a pleasant prose style. I was engaged from the first page. I’d already been intrigued by a short Prologue, which explained the gist of the previous novel, in what seems to be an emerging series of books featuring Constable Helen Lord and Sergeant Joe Sable, of the newly formed Victorian Homicide Squad. The book is set in 1944, picking up the story left off at the end of the last one. Sgt Sable is desk bound, recovering from injuries sustained in the pursuit of a vicious Nazi criminal, George Starling, who has now disappeared. We learn that he is hiding in the small coastal village of Port Fairy, a long way from Melbourne in south-west Victoria. Starling had grown up on a farm on the Melbourne side of Warrnambool, the region’s major town, but he had not seen his elderly father for some years. By pure coincidence the embryonic Homicide Squad is called to Warrnambool when Starling’s father is found dead at home in inexplicable circumstances. The investigation finds that he died of natural causes and the team returns to Melbourne. Taking money, fuel and a motorcycle from the abandoned farm, Starling also travels to Melbourne, seeking vengeance on the officer who had escaped his clutches in the previous novel, Joe Sable. Meanwhile, back in Port Fairy another tragedy then unfolds. The rather snobbish spinster Aggie Todd wakes one morning to find her favourite nephew Matthew dead in her sitting room. Her niece Rose Abbot, for whom she has no fondness, arrives in the front yard asking awkward questions, while her intellectually disabled brother Selwyn is asleep in the garden shed. It is all too much for Aggie to handle…which means more work for the Homicide detectives.Thus two seemingly unconnected story lines are rolled out and developed, both featuring members of the Homicide Squad. Under the leadership of Inspector Titus Lambert, Constable Helen Lord is given the opportunity to work as an investigator, alongside the men, at a time when much of the workforce is serving overseas in WW2. Helen experiences terrible levels of prejudice and sexism, all of which would daunt anyone without her personal strength. Her colleague Sgt Sable is preoccupied with his growing awareness of his Jewish heritage, something that had not bothered him before the rise of Nazism. It was Starling’s membership of a Nazi sympathiser group that brought him in contact with Sable in the first instance. Now Starling is determined to kill Sable.This is where I confess my personal interest in this book. Port Fairy was my home town for many years. The author has succeeded in describing the physical layout of the town very well, and all the place names are accurate. BUT, I honestly don’t think he has nailed the character of the community as I know it. Of course I was not alive in 1944, so cannot report on what social tensions existed between the various levels of the community. What I know from my time living there is not what I read in The Port Fairy Murders. The sectarian divide in the area is strongly tied to both ethnic origin and socio-economic status. I can attest that Port Fairy is a multi-layered society, with many levels of status, subtly nuanced, and Gott’s broad brush approach fails to pick up those subtleties. Aggie Todd may consider herself superior to other parishioners at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, but in reality that would not distinguish her as a doyenne of Port Fairy society. Aggie's cruel treatment of her disabled brother would not have happened in real life in James Street, in the centre of town. What Gott’s written about could be any old fishing village, so why does he set the story in Port Fairy? Gott misses the key visual elements that make Port Fairy special, including the wide streets, extensive use of finely dressed bluestone in buildings, the vernacular architecture of the whalers cottages, the 100+ Norfolk Island Pines, which are so prominent. I must stress that this is my personal reaction, based on my fondness for my former home town, and my concerns may not matter one iota to other readers.My other big beef with Gott is the ending of this book. Clearly he wants to continue to a third volume, hence the cliffhangers which appear right at the end. But the resolution of the plot lines is handled rather crudely, as if he’s just run out of puff and needs to end it. Apart from the elements he chooses to leave up in the air, the other story lines get a very superficial summation in the final 5 pages or so. I rather prefer the traditional ending to a crime novel, in which the trusty detective/s carefully lay out all the facts and draw their conclusions based on evidence and intuition, and get the baddies bang to rights.3.5 ★s is the best I can give this book, which starts so well and ends so disappointingly.

  • Alex
    2018-09-25 14:26

    This is a really enjoyable and well written follow up to the The Holiday Murders. It literally starts from the days after the gruesome ending to it's predecessor.Gott has created lead characters that are believable, human and genuinely interesting, in particular Inspector Lambert, Detective Joe Sable and Constable Helen Lord. There is an authentic feel to the descriptions of 1940s Melbourne and a lovely portrayal of rural Port Fairy with it's Catholic/Protestant divide and socially conservative small town vibe. The quality of the writing is first and foremost with Gott masterfully weaving dual storylines to a very darkly satisfying, slightly unresolved ending.I really hope this turns into a long series.

  • Carol -Reading Writing and Riesling
    2018-09-27 15:18

    More!!! Outstanding!An Open Letter to Robert GottDear Mt Gott (or may I call you Robert?)I am writing to complain about your latest book, The Port Fairy Murders. I recently (last night) read this novel and was engaged, enchanted, invested and so involved in this narrative that when I read to the end of page 282 and then there was no more I was bereft! Surely there must be more? What will happen to Joe Stable next? Does poor Tom recover? What about Helen? She will be devastated by that phone call. And then there are the relationships stalled and unfulfilled. And did I mention the villains? There are villains to be caught and murders to be solved. If you need inspiration I can send you many pictures of coastal towns in South Australia (courtesy of our recent holiday) that will send your fingers flying across the keyboard. Do you need help with research - I have some spare time, I can do. Come on Robert, where is the next episode?Your loyal fanCarol

  • Josh
    2018-10-09 15:22

    A pairing of double murders, a vengeful killer on the loose who seeks redemption in blood, and a quiet town riddled with secrets and sin are the perfect footings for this 1943's period piece of crime fiction set in Port Fairy, a small coastal town in country Victoria, Australia. THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS is the direct sequel to THE HOLIDAY MURDERS, however, as someone who hasn't read the first book, I'm glad to say it didn't hinder the reading experience. Author Robert Gott provides a brief summary of THE HOLIDAY MURDERS prior to delving into his latest installment centered around a small Melbourne Homicide Division which, while not comprehensive, does provide enough context to the characters and past events to form a broad understanding of where things are at and, more importantly, why Detective Joe Sable is the center of a murderers attention. The plot comprises two distinct and independent threads which at first don't seem to have any reason to be incorporated in the same book, rest assured, they do converge and culminate in a criminally good fashion. What really impressed me about THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS was the whodunit murder mystery that didnt give anything away accompanied by great characters who read 'real'. I enjoy books that keep me guessing and this did just that. I also loved the non conventional ending which hopefully leads to more stories of this interesting band of Melbourne Homicide police set in period of Australian history.This review first appeared on my blog: http://justaguythatlikes2read.blogspo...

  • Karen
    2018-09-19 19:30

    The first book, THE HOLIDAY MURDERS marked a change in series, but not style, for author Robert Gott. Much of this author's crime fiction writing has concentrated on historical time periods, in particular around the second world war.This reader was very impressed with the first book. It introduced a range of new characters in the newly formed Homicide department of Victoria Police, from Inspector Titus Lambert (and his wife), Detective Joe Sable and Constable Helen Lord. Events from that book physically and mentally scar Joe Sable, scars that he carries forward, along with a serious threat, into THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS.Linking the small seaside town of Port Fairy on Victoria's Coastline with the team back in Melbourne are elements of the very real threat that the villain George Starling poses, as he hides away there, plotting and planning finishing the job he started in the first book. "George Starling hated jews, women, queers, coppers, rich people, and his father. He loved Adolf Hitler and Ptolemy Jones. Hitler was in Berlin, a long way from Victoria, and Jones was dead. He knew Jones was dead because he stood in the shadows and watched the coppers bring his body out of a house in Belgrave. One of those coppers had been a Jew named Joe Sable and that meant one thing, and one thing only - Joe Sable's days were numbered."Which he nearly manages to achieve late one night in Melbourne. The second connection emerges when a brutal double murder happens in Port Fairy, which allows Lambert to put Sable and Lord into that town, the investigation and inadvertently the firing line yet again.There are many strong elements from the earlier book that carry forward to this one. Gott draws a very detailed and yet entertaining portrait of war-time Country Victoria and Melbourne. The example of Lord's difficulties as a woman in the police force nicely illustrates the attitude of workforce participation prevalent at the time. The behaviour of the branches of an established family in Port Fairy a particularly telling demonstration of the outcomes of snobbery and favouritism. "She didn't have a much higher opinion of her niece. She was pretty, but insufficiently interested in her appearance to do herself justice. Her voice was irremediably awful, beyond surgical help because it wasn't just a question of adenoids. Timbre, tone and pitch were all off.""Her feelings about her nephew, Matthew, were, if not extreme, at least extravagant. She adored him. He was beautiful - others less smitten admitted to his being good-looking, nothing more - and his decision to live within minutes of her had raised her flagging spirits."Even the way that the main suspect in the double murder in Port Fairy is an intellectually handicapped man, gives the author the opportunity of drawing out the way that some society and families reacted to people with disabilities at the time.The action, however, does move backwards and forwards between the investigation in Port Fairy and the threat to Joe Sable posed by George Starling. Unfortunately this leads to one of the major downfalls of THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS in that the two elements never seem to quite jell, spending instead a lot of time competing for attention. Whilst there's something inevitable about the double murder investigation (and not just because the reader knows the truth right from the outset), the potential for Starling to succeed also seems quite high. That threat is constantly being shifted around in focus to allow for much rushing backwards and forwards between Melbourne and Port Fairy, and a series of rather odd coincidences that are a tad heavy handed in execution.Frankly the Port Fairy component didn't seem to contribute an awful lot to the overall story. The threat of Starling, the investigation of his activities, the further exploration of Sable's Jewish background and the affect that will have on him as well as the expansion of the bone-headed behaviour of so many towards women in the workplace were really involving. The complications of Lord's personal life and how her work impacts on her home life, particularly when Sable needs somewhere to live were particularly engaging. That background, and the search for Starling had some sense of genuine threat and menace to them, and it felt like they could have supported a larger concentration. At the very least, there was something more to say there than some daft old lady with a fetish for a loser nephew to the exclusion of her obviously well-meaning niece, all of which came with a sense of overwhelming inevitability. By the end of this book it was hard to ignore the big question, which was why somebody hadn't done away with many of that family a lot earlier.Having said all of that, there's enough here to make you wonder if THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS is "the difficult second book" that's got some positioning of characters sorted out, kept a major element of threat in play, set up some ongoing relationships and provided a path into "the series moves forward third book". This reader certainly hopes so. For the elements of THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS that did disappoint, these are still such an interesting group of characters, and the historical background is so informative, you'd hope there's a further outing in the works.http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-port-fairy-murders-robert-gott-0

  • Izzy Rizzo
    2018-10-16 19:35

    This isn’t the book I read but it’s close and I want it to count for my good reads goal BOOKS called port fairy ghost stories and it’s like 200 pages of stories about the town I’m staying on holidays in It counts IT DOES!!!!!Okay it was fun and spooky , cool Love bik

  • Rhondda Powling
    2018-09-22 16:13

    The sequel to "The Holiday Murders", the first book in this series, this novel picks up shortly after the events of that first story. The main characters, Inspector Titus Lambert, and his two subordinates, Constable Helen Lord and Sergeant Joe Sable, are still suffering the effects of those brutal events that occurred at the end of "The Holiday Murders".Two threads run through the story. One follows George Starling who escaped in the earlier book. He is both a hunter and the hunted. Although the police are looking for him, George wants to wreck vengeance on Joe and Helen for being a major part in the downfall of the Nationalist group and his mentor.The second strand, involves domestic lives and tensions in a Port Fairy. Families and small towns have always been more complicated than it seems on the surface. The author paints an authentic picture of what life was like in Melbourne and country Victoria (Port Fairy and Warrnambool) during the second World War. The attitudes of people towards women in hte workforce and entrenched prejudices especially religious tensions, between Catholics and Protestants and attitudes towards intellectual disabilities, homosexuality and The characters in this story are interesting and the historical and political setting is very well established. The tension around whether or not George Starling will succeed is compelling. The Port fairy murders take quite a while to happen and the final dénouement interesting. It is a good read but better if you have read the first installment and there is certainly enough left for more about the burgeoning Homicide Department of the Victorian Police.

  • Robin
    2018-10-09 17:22

    I was really disappointed with this book. I hadn't read any of Robert Gott's previous books, but from the glowing reviews, I expected at least a reasonable read.There are two strands to the novel - a dangerous criminal George Starling going after Detective Joe Sable and an unrelated double murder in Port Fairy. However I found the plot plodding and laborious - George Starling seemed to take forever to track down Joe and for a dangerous criminal, didn't seem to have much of a clue as to how to go about it and the murders didn't happen until two thirds of the way through the book, with a most unsatisfactory ending.The thing that annoyed me the most (WARNING - SPOILER)was when George Starling finds and traps Joe's associate Constable Helen Lord and is about to have his wicked way with her, some random neighbour (not introduced previously in the book and not referred to afterwards) just happens to witness the event and comes rushing in with a gun and rescues Helen. There's a name for that plot device, I can't remember it, but it's definitely a no-no. In an effective story arc, it should have been Joe who rescued her. The characters were reasonably well drawn and believable and it was of interest that the book was written in 1943, with the historical backdrop of WW2. For those reasons only, I'm giving it 2 stars.

  • Ellen
    2018-10-07 14:17

    This novel will appeal to people who read for character and setting. There is an abundance of historical detail and background information about characters so it will appeal to lovers of detail, while for story oriented readers, it at times will be a tough read. This is the second in a series. I did not read the first, and there were deliberate spoilers at the start of this novel so I don't need to read the first in the series. Keep this in mind if you want to read the series. This novel is not self contained, and the subject matter for the next novel is strongly flagged at the end, and for those seeking resolution in crime novels, this may not be one for you.

  • Leonie
    2018-10-11 14:22

    A trip to Port Fairy and a drink at The Stump (properly called in this book by its official name, the Caledonian) will never be the same again! Robert Gott sets the scene in 1940s Melbourne, Warrnambool and Port Fairy with meticulous detail and a cast of characters who are in turns endearing, psychotic and downright frightening. A superb thriller. Now looking forward to catching up with the first in the series, The Holiday Murders.

  • Jennifer
    2018-09-26 20:33

    I enjoyed this book as much as the first. I have read other reviewers who said they found the connection between the events in Melbourne and those in Port Fairy tenuous and implausible. I would heartily disagree with this. Considering that this is of the 'police procedural' genre, I find it entirely realistic. Police don't have one job at a time on the boil. They have a number of them, so it's not unbelievable that they would have to travel to work on another matter. I would say it lends a much greater realism to it because they traveled to Port Fairy to investigate the other set of murders. As for the other connections (Starling's connection with it, them having just been down there), well there has to be a few coincidences written into a book to keep it moving and I'm quite happy to live with those.I think the murders in Port Fairy really fleshed out some of Gott's recurrent themes: how societies identify, label and stigmatise those they consider 'other' or outside of what is considered mainstream and how societies are further divided into different strata, each with their own rules. A police procedural is a fantastic setting for looking at this as our laws, our crimes and how these are policed more often than not reflect this.While Australian society is not so divided along Catholic v Protestant lines anymore, there is still enough frisson in society today in relation to different religious groups for the tension generated by Gott's story to still resonate. An enjoyable book, and probably not the last in this series.

  • Kerrie
    2018-09-28 13:19

    I've discovered that this is the first novel by Robert Gott that I've read. THE HOLIDAY MURDERS was shortlisted for Best Fiction on the Ned Kelly Awards, but somehow I just never got around to reading it. As THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS is a sequel to that title, and the plot takes in some unfinished business from it, it is probably best to read them in order, but obviously I haven't done that. There are plenty of hints about what happened in the first title, and the characters are well developed.There are some interesting features to the plot of THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS: the historical setting of 1943 which is not only during the Second World War, but also a time when women were not generally employed by Victoria Police except as secretarial staff; the rural location of the murder site; it allows the author not only to explore the restrictions imposed by the war, but attitudes in the general population.The author has left plenty of room for a sequel, for while we know who committed the various murders, there is still some unfinished business.

  • Calzean
    2018-10-05 21:24

    I did not read the first book in this series but a two page prologue gave the background to the continuing story of the Melbourne Homicide squad in 1943 and their attempts to capture the very un-nice George Starling.A lot of good historic stuff with WWII political extremists, food shortages, coal fuelled cars, dirt roads to remote towns, tensions between Catholic/CofE/Presbyterian/Masons, the views on homosexuality, role of women, the haves and have nots, etc. The characters are strong and having a capable woman as a lead in a man's world also gives the book a lot of depth. I look forward to next in the series.

  • Catherine
    2018-09-20 20:33

    Perhaps it was because I read it so soon after the Holiday Murders, but this paled in comparison. I felt the first chapters were trying to fill us in on the history of the previous book; the middle moved around between some increasingly absurd and disperate plot elements; and the ending: SRSLY? It felt as if Gott was a) given a 10 page warning to wind it up, and/or b) desperately trying to get us to buy the (I'm told) pending third novel.Don't get me wrong, I will read the third one too, but this felt nothing like as clever, engaging or well considered as the first.

  • Elisa Grassa
    2018-10-02 18:29

    Good book and just as good as The Holiday Murders.Enjoy the characters Helen, Joe, Titus and Maude.Oh and George Starling. Love the historical Melbourne, Port Fairy, plus the local suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg.Can't wait for the next one, Robert Gott.

  • Karen
    2018-09-23 20:17

    This wasn't a bad read, and follows on nicely from the previous book. The ending, however, was astoundingly disappointing, and I can only guess that there is a further book to the tale.

  • Shane Emmons
    2018-10-04 20:38

    Enjoyable but could have been a bit more of a page turner....

  • Ann Tonks
    2018-10-07 18:36

    Deeply frustrating book. On the one hand, some great characters and interesting story telling. On the other hand, it feels completely and unnecessarily unfinished.

  • Suzie
    2018-10-13 14:23

    3 1/2 stars. Sequel to The Holiday Murders. Set partly in Port Fairy, this was an interesting crime story. It ended quite abruptly, even though it set up for the next book in the series