Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review of A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill (Pantera Press, 2010)

1931 and Australia is in the grip of a depression, with thousands finding it difficult to make ends meet.  Politically, the country is being split between the left and the rise of communism, and the conservative right and the spectre of fascism in the form of the New Guard.  Rowly Sinclair has been bought up as a privileged gentlemen, his family rich from farming and investments, but lives a bohemian lifestyle as an artist, friends with many working class folk.  When his uncle is killed in his own home, the police prove less than useful, suspecting the elderly housekeeper.  Rowly and his friends decide to investigate, much to the chagrin of his elder brother.  Soon they are caught up in the swirl of political rhetoric and running battles between the communists and New Front, Rowly risking his reputation and life to get at the truth and justice. 

I wasn’t really sure about A Few Right Thinking Men for the first 150 pages or so.  Not a whole lot happens except the characters are introduced and the scene set for what follows.  It is only with Rowly’s friends turning up at his brother’s house that the book sparks into life and then it’s a thoroughly enjoyable romp all the way to near the end.  The strength of the story is its characterization, and its sense of place and history.  Rowly and his friends are very engaging, and the other main characters such as his brother, the police and the various political actors are nicely drawn.  Gentill weaves the story around a series of real events and actors, and the reader is dropped into Australia society in the 1930s, and in particular to the brief flirtations with communism and fascism.  The plot was relatively straightforward, the mystery element was a bit of damp squib, and the end just kind of drifted away as a bit of anti-climax and setup for the next instalment.  Nevertheless, for a good chunk of the story I was captivated and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, A Decline in Prophets.  


Sulari Gentill said...

Dear Rob

I'm glad you managed to get hold of a copy. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review AFRTM.

Kind regards


Sulari Gentill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Kitchin said...

Hi Sulari,

I'm working on getting 'A Decline in Prophets', but it isn't easy to buy your books from Ireland given the rights restrictions. I know someone travelling back for Christmas and she's looking out for a copy for me. Hopefully she'll manage to source it before she leaves. That's also how I managed to get AFRTM - someone travelling back bought a copy over for me a couple of weeks ago,

best wishes,


Sulari Gentill said...

Hello Rob

I'm sorry you had to go to so much trouble...I'm afraid I haven't been picked up by a publisher in the UK as yet. I think all my books are now able to be purchased worldwide as ebooks if that makes it any easier. Hope you enjoy ADIP...it's my husband's favorite of the four.