Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chain of Evidence-Gary Disher

Chain of Evidence
Gary Disher
Soho, Jul 2008, $13.00
ISBN: 9781569475003

In Australia Police Inspector Hal Challis returns home to Mawson's Bluff in the Australian Outback, as his father is dying. Sergeant Ellen Destry takes over running the Peninsula East's Crime Investigation Unit in Waterloo, Queensland temporarily. At the annual Waterloo Show, ten years old Katie Blasko vanishes; shockingly her mother waits twenty-four hours before reporting her missing to the cops, who know how critical the first few hours are in terms of retrieval. To her shock her superiors want her to close the case though she fears a pedophile ring may be operating in the peninsular.

Meanwhile in Mawson’s Bluff, a corpse is found inside a plastic bag lying on top of a coffin buried four years ago. Inside is Challis' odious brother-n-law who vanished at the same time the coffin was interred. Challis’ sister Meg assumed he was alive as she has been receiving junk mail that she thought came from him since he left her. He unofficially investigates.

There are obviously two major subplots; both are well written and could stand alone as investigative tales. However, rotating back and forth subtracts from the overall impact of each in spite two well written multilayered story lines that come across as rotating novellas. Still Gary Disher provides his audience with an engaging Australian police procedural as Challis is out of town conducting an unsanctioned private investigation re his family while Destry works a police procedural inquiry into a kidnapped child. Putting Destry in charge of dealing with media, the brass, and politicians refreshes this excellent series.

Harriet Klausner