In Murder in Murloo, Dusty Kent investigates her first cold case in the small town of Murloo. When Sean O’Kelly, her research assistant, meets Dusty for the first time she overpowers a drunken youth who is tormenting a gentle old sheep and threatening her with a length of timber. He looks on as Dusty uses her karate skills to tackle the youth. 'In an instant, she had grabbed his wrist with one hand and flicked his hand with the other, ejecting the piece of wood from his grasp and sending it plummeting to the ground.
Later when Dusty learns Sean is one of those 'unbelievably clever people who know the inside, backside and all sides of a computer', she invites him to assist her with her investigation into the murder of the young local woman, Gabby Peters.
Murloo is an Aboriginal (Kurnai) word meaning ‘clay or muddy banks’. The Murloo in the book is based on Marlo, except that I have taken poetic licence with some of the geography. The route to Giuseppe’s house mentioned in Chapter 10 which ‘offered spectacular views of the sand and ocean below’ is actually the Marlo-Conran Road which ends at Cape Conran; a surfing haven with outstanding surfing beaches attracting serious surfers from around the country.
Murloo Mansion is fictional. It’s actually Marlo pub that 'is situated on a bluff overlooking the Southern Ocean'. (Chapter 1). Marlo is a quiet seaside village at the mouth of the Snowy River in a region of Victoria called East Gippsland with a population of less than 500. It is largely unspoilt with excellent walking trails, and abundant wildlife such as kookaburras and lyrebirds. Anglers know they can catch the best perch and bream in Australia at Marlo – and so do the pelicans that frequent the area. The creation myth of the local Aboriginal people (Kurnai), who have occupied the area for at least 20,000 years, tells us the first man was Borun, the pelican. Even older than Aboriginal settlement are the magnificent old-growth forests forty kilometres north-east of Orbost.
The township of Claigan is based on Orbost a small town fifteen minutes drive from Marlo. Most of the road runs parallel with The Snowy River. The legendary river starts on the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko in New South Wales. It crosses the border into Victoria, flows through mountains and all the way down to Orbost where it runs adjacent to the town and concludes its almost 400 km journey at Marlo where it flows into the ocean.
I have taken the name Claigan from the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the same way that Orbost is named after a farm on the Isle of Skye. In the 1800s, many Scottish migrants settled in the East Gippsland area and established sheep runs.
Once a year at Christmas I return to my hometown where my sister Irene still lives. Here’s a photo she took of me at the town sign last year.
I hope to have Dusty Kent Mystery #6 on the shelves before I next visit Orbost. Murder on a Melbourne Tram is set in my current hometown of Melbourne.
Until next time... JB & BG :)
Yes! Disguising Demons is ready and will be released on October 19th, 2018 but is available now for pre-order. Check it out. This book, #4 in the Dusty Kent series, is set in Port Douglas, in Far North Queensland. It is an idyllic setting visited by the rich and famous from around the world including Bill and Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Glenn Close, Kylie Minogue and many more. See gorgeous photos from my visit to Port Douglas here.
Here's the awesome cover designed by Yocla Book Cover Designs.
What Dusty discovers in her quest to find the truth about the murder of a gentle Buddhist monk shocks her and and has her Irish assistant questioning whether they should continue with the case.
This 4th book in the Dusty Kent Mysteries following Murder in Murloo, A Devious Mind and Rippling Red is certain to captivate you.
Let all your cares fall away; read a Dusty Kent today.
Sometimes readers think the Dusty Kent Murder Mysteries need to be read in sequential order like a serial (a story that is published in several parts over a period of time). That is not the case. The Dusty Kent Murder Mysteries are a series (several books that deal with the same subject or feature the same character) much like Agatha Christie’s Poirot series. Each Dusty Kent book is a stand-alone story. The books can be read in any order and you don’t need to read all the books if you don’t wish to. (I hope you do!)
The other confusing issue is genre. On Amazon.com the Dusty Kent series is listed in the 'Mystery, Thriller and Suspense' category. Wow! That is so broad and potentially misleading for readers. For those of us who are particular about the type of crime novel we want to read, choosing a book from such a wide range of styles can be time consuming. I don’t want to read thrillers or suspense. I want a jolly good murder mystery. BUT under the sub heading of Mystery you could find: police procedurals, murder mysteries, mysteries that do not involve murder, cosy murder mysteries, whodunits and goodness knows what else. Choosing the one that is just right is not quick and not always easy.
The Dusty Kent books, such as Murder in Murloo, are not thrillers or suspense. Murder in Murloo is a murder mystery. But what sort? Easy! A whodunit.
Once I would have called Murder in Murloo a cosy/cozy mystery. However, cosy murder mysteries are now often associated with the very light, often humorous, style of detective fiction. They are like pavlovas: light and sweet and devoured easily and quickly, leaving the reader smiling and licking their lips.
A whodunit, on the other hand, is more like a fruit cake: light enough to rise in the oven but with a substantial filling that can be savoured with leisurely deliberation. Sometimes the filling has a few nuts and sometimes even a little alcohol, but the ‘cake’ is essentially wholesome.
I hope that helps you decide whether a Dusty Kent Murder Mystery is the sort of book you would like to read. I hope the answer is yes because as Lawrence Wargrave said in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None:
‘...no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone.
There is a natural craving for recognition which cannot be gainsaid.’
JB (writing as Brigid George)