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Jul 02

Book Review: Mosquito Creek by Robert Engwerda

Mosquito Creek by Robert EngwerdaSummary (from Penguin Books website)

Huge floodwaters have engulfed a remote Victorian goldfield, reducing the prospect of digging up a fortune from very slim to impossible, and adding disease to the many possibilities of sudden death in harsh conditions. As sickness starts to take its toll and calls mount for the rescue of diggers stranded by the raging torrent, Sergeant Niall Kennedy must try to keep order in a place where frictions can become murderous. Does a suspiciously abandoned tent suggest there has already been a killing? And why has Mosquito Creek’s erratic Commissioner Stanfield drafted in special troopers behind Kennedy’s back?

In a new country where everyone’s past has a question mark, asking too many questions is dangerous. But how else can you get to the truth?

Comments

I enjoyed this novel, although it didn’t have quite the feeling of suspense that I expected. I found that the ‘current’ crises – the rising floodwaters and the intrigue centred on the Commissioner – didn’t hold my attention as much as the central characters’ back story. For me, the highlight of the novel was the way it showed just how similar the characters on the goldfields were despite their disparate backgrounds and personal circumstances. Everyone had secrets to hide and everyone was haunted by ghosts from their past.

I generally enjoy reading about this period of Australian history and did enjoy the setting and descriptions of the Victorian goldfields in Mosquito Creek. I noticed the absence of significant reference to Indigenous Australians and Chinese settlers on the gold fields, but this didn’t particularly influence the flow of the story or appeal of the novel in general.

Overall, this was an interesting read with its appeal primarily the result of the characters and historical setting.

Review Copy Details
Title: Mosquito Creek
Author: Robert Engwerda
Publisher: Viking, 2010
Genre: Australian historical fiction

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