Friday, March 8, 2013

Review of White Dog by Peter Temple (Quercus, 2011, pub in Australia in 2003).

Sarah Longmore is about to stand trial for the murder of her former lover, a property developer who’s business was in trouble.  Jack Irish has been hired to look into her defence and the veracity of her claims that she’s innocent given that it appears to be an open and shut case.  Jack’s partner has just taken a job in London, so he has plenty of time to investigate Longmore’s story.  It doesn’t take long for him to start to question her guilt and not much longer for others to warn him to quietly drop his snooping.  But once something has got under Jack’s skin, he finds it difficult to walk away.  The question is whether he’ll be walking at all if he doesn’t let the case slide.

White Dog is the fourth and (so far) last book in the excellent Jack Irish series set in and around Melbourne about a former lawyer who divides his time between being an investigator, debt collector, furniture maker, horse-racing gambler and watching Aussie rules football.  Like all of Peter Temple’s novels, White Dog is a nice mix of hardboiled crime and literary voice and observational asides.  In a genre full of workman-like prose, Temple writes with a fresh tone.  The narrative is layered and sometimes almost elusive or veiled, the reader as unsure as to what is happening as Jack.  It’s an intriguing and beguiling style.  As usual, the characterisation is excellent, especially Jack and the Youth Club, an elderly group of football supporters that prop up the local bar, and Jack’s horse racing friends.  The plot is tight and engaging and there’s a nice sense of place.  Overall, a first rate read and  I’m hoping that now the first two books have been adapted for television that Temple will resurrect what has been a stellar series.

5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - I consider Peter Temple's Jack Irish series to be one of the best PI series there is. I'm so glad you liked this one as much as you did and too home we'll see more of Irish...

Gerard said...

I read Temple's 2005 novel Broken Shore and thought it was pretty decent. I just saw he has a sequel to that one, Truth, that came out in 2009. I should hunt down the sequel. And kill it.

Gerard said...

Wow, there are four copies of Truth at four different libraries within my library system and all four copies are checked out.

Rob Kitchin said...

Gerard, I thought Truth was good, but in my view the Jack Irish series is Temple's best work. If any of the those books are in your library system try one of those.

Anonymous-9 said...

A walk down memory lane with some of those wonderful vintage colloquialisms. Thanks, Rob
Elaine Ash/Anonymous-9