Book review: Murder in Mt Martha by Janice Simpson

I’m a sucker for a story set in my home town and this one provides some interesting insights into 1950’s Melbourne.

Janice Simpson was inspired to write her debut novel, Murder in Mt Martha, by the 1953 unsolved murder on the Mornington Peninsula of Shirley May Collins. First published in 2016, this fictional story proposes a potential solution to the open ended real life mystery.

It is sixty years after 14 year old Beverly Middleton was murdered. Nick Szabo is working on a thesis about Hungarian defectors from the polo team that come to Melbourne for the 1956 Olympics. Whilst interviewing an old Hungarian man, Arthur Boyle, Nick stumbles across Arthurs connection to the unsolved murder.

The narrative shifts between 2013 and 1953 and the events leading up to and following the murder.

The story sets a good pace, with well drawn characters, and the complex interwoven story lines hold the readers interest.

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