My island homicide by Catherine Titasey
University of Queensland Press, 2013. ISBN 9780702249716
(Age: 16-adult) Recommended.
With a play on the title of the Christine Anu song 'My island home', Titasey conjures up the image of an island paradise in the Torres Straits. And this is exactly what Senior-Sergeant Ebithea Dari-Jones hopes it to be - a break from the stresses of her mainland job in the Queensland Police Service and a broken relationship, and also a return to her roots - rediscovering her mother's origins on Thursday Island. She expects her new role as Officer-In-Charge on the island to be a relaxed and uncomplicated life in the tropics. But on her first day on the job, she finds more than she bargained for: tensions and superstitions, a missing person - suspected homicide... and an undercurrent of 'maydh', black magic.
There is lots to enjoy in this book. The character of Ebithea herself is a break from the traditional heroine mould - she is 6 feet tall with a few too many curves, and a liking for fast food. We can smile in recognition of the situation where she goes online to purchase sexy new underwear after meeting with attractive Islander fisherman Jonah, and the warm humour of the relationships with her mother and her work colleagues. The writing style is easy to read, the location and storyline are original and the mystery keeps you guessing until the end, - as Ebithea discovers that perhaps the lives of these island people are not as simple as first appears and there is much more to the missing person case than even she, with her astute detective skills, suspects. Readers will enjoy the unusual characters, the gradual realisation of the threat of 'maydh', and the twist of the plot that still makes sense and has a satisfying ending. This is a fresh new novel that leaves us hoping for another in this style from Titasey, winner of the 2012 Queensland Literary Awards - Best Emerging Author.