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Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys

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Buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A cracker of a mystery, set in Australia. It's a debut novel, so I'm hoping that it's the first in a long series. Highly recommended
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416/10h21m Date: November 2019
Publisher: Zaffre
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1785769290

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It's when we read that a young boy is creeping reluctantly to a teacher's bedroom one October night that we realise something is badly wrong. Nowadays you might hope that something would be done about it fairly quickly but this was 1965 and child abuse was generally regarded as malicious mischief on the part of the child. The boy would be safe that night though - albeit in the most horrific fashion. When he reached Captain Edmund's bedroom he found the man dead on the floor, the top of his skull missing. The school's initial reaction was that this was a dreadful accident: there had been a cull of kangaroos in some nearby fields and it was obviously a stray bullet which had killed the Captain.

The case was given to Detective Cardilini, who describes himself as fat and lazy. It's hard not to come to the conclusion that he's expected to toe the 'dreadful accident' line and close the case as quickly as possible. St Nicholas College values loyalty (and thus the reputation of the school) above all else and it seems that just about every grown man in the locality is a graduate of the college - and parents send their sons there as a matter of course. Everywhere that Cardilini turns he's faced with people who are determined to get the investigation closed. They'll even stretch a point to get Cardilini's son into the Police Academy, from which he should be barred as he has a criminal record.

Cardilini wants to do his best by Paul, but he's fat, lazy and a functioning alcoholic rather than corrupt. His wife died a year ago and the loss of Betty has hit him hard, but he's perverse enough to find that he pushes back when people try to manipulate him into doing what they want. Why is everyone so determined that the shot came from quite a distance away when basic forensics would suggest it's actually a couple of hundred yards? Why is it that sixth former Carmody is trying to manipulate the course of the investigation despite apparently caring about what is happening to young boys at the college? Is there any connection with the three deaths associated with the college since Captain Edmunds arrived there? One was suicide, but the other two look suspiciously self-inflicted too.

There's a thought-provoking theme running through the book. How does 'the greater good' sit beside justice? It's difficult to see the benefit in pursuing the possible murderer of the Captain: whichever way it happened a lot of heartache for a seemingly infinite number of boys has been alleviated. Would Cardilini be wrong to write this off as an accident when it could well allow Paul to get into the police academy - particularly as Paul is adamant that he's innocent of the crime of which he was convicted.

I was fortunate that I was able to listen to an audiobook, narrated by David Muscat as well as reading the book. Muscat's narration is exemplary: he never intrudes between the reader and the story, and has a range of voices which meant that I was never in any doubt about who was in the picture. I'd be delighted to hear more from him.

It's a cracker of a story with a winding plot and plenty of red herrings. I finished it within twenty four hours, not least because I really needed to know what happened. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag and allowing us an audio download.

For more top-class crime from Australia we can recommend Bitterwash Road by Gary Disher.

Buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Man at the Window (Detective Cardilini) by Robert Jeffreys at Amazon.com.

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