Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss
Bestselling author Tara Moss returns to crime fiction with an impressive new heroine, private investigator Billie Walker.
It’s 1946 and Billie Walker is living life on her terms, in a man’s world. During World War II, Billie’s photojournalist husband went missing and is now presumed dead. Determined to remain financially independent, Billie re-opened her late father’s detective agency in Sydney. Most of her work includes simple investigations into cheating spouses, however her latest case is far from straightforward.
A young man disappears and his mother reluctantly approaches Billie for assistance. Soon, Billie and her loyal male assistant are navigating Sydney’s ruthless underworld dodging gangsters, smugglers and murderers. Will they find Adin before it’s too late?
Full disclosure, I am a long-time fan of Tara Moss and have enjoyed every installment of her popular Mak Vanderwall crime series and later, her feminist memoir, The Fictional Woman. While I was initially apprehensive about Tara’s foray into historical crime fiction, I was quickly won over within the opening pages.
Billie and her story were created from a mix of family stories, Tara’s fascination with the 1940s and women’s post-war history. As with her previous novels, Tara’s attention to detail is obvious from her commitment to research. She spent two years checking historical period details, double checking every elevator, street and building in 1940s Sydney. Interestingly, the characters in the book are fictional with the exception of Special Sergeant Lillian Armfield, who Tara included, to acknowledge her pioneering work in policing.
Tara’s natural talent for storytelling is once again apparent in this thoroughly enjoyable novel, which I can only hope is the beginning of a long lasting series. I was quickly invested in Billy’s life and immersed in the well-paced plot which kept me guessing till the end. I’m looking forward to meeting Billie Walker again soon, in another mystery. Tara Moss is the author of 12 bestselling books. Follow Tara Moss online.
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy HarperCollins, RRP $35.00