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Dark Sky by Marie Connolly

Nellie Prayle is a criminal psychologist who takes great professional and personal pride in solving murders. So when Detective Jack Simmons calls her to help him with a police investigation, she is most happy to assist—especially when this becomes an excuse to travel to Aotearoa’s beautiful Mackenzie Country.

The beautiful and successful professor of astronomy, Evelyn Major, has been found dead at Tekapo’s Mt John Observatory during a 50th-anniversary conference that has attracted academics from around the world. There is no doubt this is murder, but it doesn’t take long for Nellie and Jack to realise this is not your typical murder as they try to unravel the world of academia high up amongst snow-capped mountains. There are bitter rivalries, theft of others’ work, ill-fated love affairs and enormous egos, and it is not long before there is a growing list of suspects and reasons they may have murdered Evelyn. Nellie and Jack must unravel the web of deceit to get to the truth, and what they find will surprise everyone.

Dark Sky is a page-turning read once you have got your head around the large cast of suspects (the cast of characters is very helpful in this regard), and Nellie is most definitely the star character of this novel. She is wonderfully insightful and comes with an understating of the academic world that will prove to be invaluable. Her easy working relationship with Jack adds another dimension to this excellent whodunnit, as does the magnificent scenery. There is a freshness about reading a crime novel set in such a remote and beautiful setting, a very different reading experience from one set in grimy city streets.

I look forward to reading the next book in this planned series.

Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Quentin Wilson Publishing


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