All Ned Coleridge has ever wanted to do is to make people laugh. Now he’s about to do something he never thought he was capable of . . .
Powerful tides of desperation, corruption, political intrigue, blackmail and love all work their way through this well-crafted crime. Capp’s superb prose blends the action into the bayside landscape with deft crosshatching, a shadowy rendering of the familiar that will pull lovers of classic noir into the undertow of this very Australian take on the genre.
As he sleeps in the boatshed of a wealthy bayside town, Ned tosses and turns. But it’s more than the “thwacking” of the restless sea. He may be in affluent Portsea – with its aptly named cliff-top outlook, Millionaire’s Walk – but Ned is flat broke. After a domestic incident left his sister Angela a paraplegic, Ned was supposed to manage their joint inheritance. Instead, he’s blown it all on what turned out to be a bad investment. With mortgage payments and medical bills mounting, Ned is getting desperate. So when he overhears a politician and a property developer talking shady deals, he begins to hatch a plan that will lead him down a dark path. And, to complicate matters, he may be dragging his new lover Mai –Angela’s most trusted carer – down with him.
From the very first page, the author’s clear love of the sea is harnessed as a strong metaphor for trouble brewing along Millionaire’s Walk and beyond. At one point Ned is sure that the ‘sea is trying to tell him something, if only he could decipher its clues’. And when we are close – so close – to the dark denouement, the bay becomes a ‘deep purple bruise’ to which even the surrounding hills succumb ‘exhaling stars to the obsidian sky, like shiny bubbles rising from the depths’.
Capp’s writing is crisp and clear, and the narrative flows inexorably towards darker waters – making this an enjoyably light read, buoyed up rather than weighed down by the depth and detail. To Know My Crime is a lovely way to wade into local noir. A highly recommended read.
Fiona Capp has written eight books, including three works of non-fiction. Her work has been published internationally and shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Victoria Premier’s Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, the Queensland Literary Award, The Age Book of the Year and the Dobbie Award. Her memoir, That Oceanic Feeling, about her love of the sea and surfing won the Kibble Award. To Know My Crime is her fifth novel.