At the very start let me confess that I had never read a book by Sulari Gentill a.k.a S.D.Gentill, who is an Australian author of Sri Lankan origins, and is known for writing books about historical fiction and mysteries. Thanks to the #BookishLeague by Ritu Bindra I came across a book by this author and made a note to check out her work. I had finished reading this book in November itself but I had too many other tasks on hand to write the review which included attending my son’s annual day function besides doing some other book reviews. All said and done, now the complete review is here and let’s get down to it without me wasting any more of your time.
This is the first book of the Rowland Sinclair mysteries that consists of 10 books so far. The plot is set in early 1930’s in Australia. Interestingly enough this book by Sulari Gentill was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book.
The Plot of “A Few Right Thinking Men”
1. A Shocking Murder
Shockingly for me, the book reveals a murder in the first chapter itself – The murder of Rowland Sinclair. That really set me thinking what the book was about if the main character who is supposed to solve the mystery dies in the first chapter itself.But the mystery unfolds in a very interesting manner and I won’t spoil it for you by giving away any details of that.
2. Colourful Characters
The story revolves around Rowland Sinclair, a young artist (and later amateur sleuth) who comes from a respected old-money family of World War -I veterans but he raises many eyebrows because of his colourful house guests and close friends – including a young poet with strong communist thoughts that he is not afraid to air , a gifted painter and a very seductive sculptress.
3. Interesting wordplay in title
The title itself is very interesting – while “A few right thinking men” could simply mean – A group of men or a society which is probably composed of philanthropists or it could also mean a group of men inclined to Rightist beliefs. Now that’s food for thought , isn’t it?
4. Set in Post World War-1 Australia
I also found this book enlightening because I knew little about Australian history and its politics in the early nineties.But Sulari Gentill does not let the politics bore you, the politics is more of a background upon which the story stands.In fact she successfully paints such a lively picture that you could almost visualise the events as the narration proceeds.The camaraderie and banter among the main characters Rowy , Clyde , Milton and Edna is heart warming and enjoyable.Her characters are full bodied people and you can easily see how they live, feel and think.
Conclusion and Rating
In short, I loved “A Few Right thinking Men” by Sulari Gentill , but compared to the grand dame of mysteries Agatha Christie to whom she was compared in some reviews , I think this book was a pale version of a detective novel.Of course I must read more of her mysteries to make a final opinion and even Agatha Christie sometimes failed to enthrall, like in this novel . Nevertheless I must admit Ms. S. D. Gentill does leave her mark upon the reader with her rich and engaging storytelling, bringing to life the people and atmosphere of unrest in 2oth century Australia and introduces some dazzling and glamorous characters but sadly I had solved the mystery halfway through the book which was a bit of a dampener) or maybe I am too smart-Hehehe !)
To conclude I rate this one a 4/5
Title of the book – A Few Right Thinking Men
Author – Sulari Gentill
Language – English
Pages – 339
Prices – Paperback – 1870, Hardcover – 5476.59 , Audio book – 199
Genre – Fiction, Mystery, Historic fiction
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