Murder in the Mountains

First in a series set in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Such regional crime series are hugely popular in the northern hemisphere, but not in Australia — so far. The Blue Mountains is a superb setting, with its foggy towns amidst a wild and dangerous landscape. The area is dripping with history, and also attracts a stream of varied visitors from nearby Sydney. It has a history of murder — with four serial killers known to have operated there — making it all too plausible for a novel such as this.

Bella Greaves is editor of the local newspaper, and strikes up an unlikely alliance with Paul Ruel, a disgraced top homicide detective exiled from the city. Paul’s bosses hope he’ll be so bored he’ll resign, but he uncovers a crime that has been hidden for many years, and — with Bella’s help — sets to work at what he does best.

This is an unusual book, about crime and character, but also about community — and landscape.