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Allen & Unwin (2018-10)
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2nd Pass Pages
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by Throsby, Holly

In the follow-up to gorgeous GOODWOOD, Throsby once again draws us into a poetically drawn small-town mystery. Quirky, loveable characters with big secrets.

On the first day of Summer in 1993, two very different strangers arrive in the small historic town of Cedar Valley.

One of them is an impeccably dressed man, who has arrived on the morning bus. After wandering around a bit, he sits down on the footpath to enjoy the sun. Before anyone can tell him to move along, it is discovered that he is dead. His cause of death is a mystery; he carries no form of identification or even any money; and all the labels have been meticulously removed from his clothing.

The other stranger who arrives this day is Benny Moon, a 21-year-old university student, whose mother, Vivian, once lived briefly in Cedar Valley and has a very mixed reputation in the town. Vivian has recently died and her once best friend, Odette, has offered Benny the opportunity of living in a vacant house she owns. Is there any connection between the dead man and Benny's quest to learn more about her mother?

Holly Throsby is an accomplished and awarded musician who lives in Sydney. She's released five solo albums and has been nominated for four ARIA awards. Holly is a council member for the animal protection institute, Voiceless; a regular peer assessor for The Australia Council; and has acted as a judge for The Australian Music Prize. She's active on social media, likes good books, cryptic crosswords, small towns, and dogs.

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Throsby has artfully used a true unsolved Australian mystery as a plot device and it works remarkably well here. Cedar Valley is written with an assured hand and is essential reading for those who like their Australian rural tales with a touch of mystery. Readers who loved Goodwood will find even more to love here.

Review: Books + Publishing

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