CHB Mail - 2021-07-22


Bombshell in a sleepy town


Nancy Business By R.W.R McDonald, Allen & Unwin, $32.99 .. .. .. .. .. Jill Nicholas

Kiwi raised, R.W.R McDonald, now of Melbourne’s Rainbow community, has completed a fast turnaround with this his second book in what promises to be a growing series of Nancy crime stories. Book one, The Nancys, won the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Award for best first novel. This reviewer has yet to read it; no doubt it would have been helpful with his follow-up, however the thread isn’t to taxing to pick up. The Nancys are a group of three would-be sleuths based in an unremarkable South Island town. Tippy Chan is 12 and has teamed up with her gay uncle Pike and his flamboyant boyfriend Devon. They take their name from Tippy’s love of the Nancy Drew Mysteries. The town hall and solicitor’s office have been bombed, there’s a death and serious injuries. As Tippy and her crew task themselves with finding the culprit, their suspect list grows. Along the way Uncle Pike and Devon fall out, there are jealousies; other men in this seemingly macho community are drawn to them. Tippy is undeterred, motivated to crack the case by the discovery that her dad’s death a year ago wasn’t the straight-out car crash she’d been led to believe. He’d taken his own life. A wealth of material for McDonald to work with, plus plenty of add ons. Perhaps with one too many. Was Tippy’s first period party really necessary? —


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