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The Shifting Landscape: An Alex Clayton…
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The Shifting Landscape: An Alex Clayton Mystery (edição 2020)

por Katherine Kovacic (Autor)

Séries: Alex Clayton (3)

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Título:The Shifting Landscape: An Alex Clayton Mystery
Autores:Katherine Kovacic (Autor)
Informação:Echo (2020), 215 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Shifting Landscape: An Alex Clayton Mystery por Katherine Kovacic

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The third book in the Alex Clayton Art Mystery series sees a shift of setting to the Western District of Victoria and one of those big pastoral leases that were such a part of the landscape down there. The title of the novel "The Shifting Landscape" is quite cleverly pitched referring as it does to the way that farming has changed in recent years, the way that succession creates issues for so many of those generational farming families, and the way that changing perceptions of the landscape are finally starting to come about.

Along with the main thread, that of the suspicious death of the MacMillan patriarch when Alex is visiting to assess the family's extensive art collection, there is a sub-thread through this novel referring to the imposition of pastoral leases on ancient indigenous lands. There is a revealing visit to areas in that location that are stunning and informative, explaining a lot more about Aboriginal society and land management than we were allowed to understand in years past. The tensions within the family about the future of the property and succession are cleverly pitched, something that many of us who grew up on family-owned properties have experienced, or seen close by.

As always, Alex is present at the scene due to her artistic expertise, and in this case, the cataloguing of an extensive collection has thrown up an astonishing find, but when that painting disappears, and then a toddler goes missing, along with Alex's much loved dog Hogarth, the threat starts to be targeted towards Alex as well. As always her colleague and best friend, art restorer John, is there to help, even as his own personal life lurches from drama to disaster.

A really strong series, it would be possible to read the three Alex Clayton novels out of sync if you're new to them, but really it would work better in order, to get a handle on Hogarth, John and Alex's background, and how they all fit together. THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE takes them out of past familiar territory in and around the streets of Melbourne, and into the plains and rolling vista of Western Victoria, all of which felt spot on in the way it was depicted, and this reader was particularly pleased to have the indigenous aspect respectfully, but pointedly included. Good characters, believable mysteries, enough threat to keep you engaged, with a strong sense of place, this third novel serves as a timely reminder that this is good, solid, entertaining crime fiction, with an informative element built in.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/shifting-landscape-katherine-kovacic-0 ( )
  austcrimefiction | Aug 6, 2020 |
Alex Clayton is contacted by Alasdair McMillan and asked to come to stay at the family property Kinloch in Victoria's Western District to value paintings that the family has accumulated over the years. In storage, among paintings damaged by a fire decades earlier, she finds one which will need restoration. She invites her friend conservator John Porter to join her at Kinloch the next day.

Dinner that night is a very tense affair as the family try to work out why Alex has been called in to asses the paintings. When Mac storms out at the end of the meal, it is the last time Alex will see him alive.

Events move quickly. Before John arrives next day Alasdair McMillan is dead, and the family is beginning to bicker over who will inherit what, in particular the very valuable painting that hangs in the sitting room. The police are called in, and the contents of Mac's will are revealed, triggering a rapid series of events.

An assured piece of writing which I thoroughly enjoyed. Circumstances have led to me reading #3 in the series before getting my hands on #2, which I'm sure I'll regret. ( )
  smik | Apr 27, 2020 |
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