Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Death in a Matchbox

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Death in a Matchbox

Author: Steve Rogers
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC
ISBN: 9781945181924
Buy through Amazon or Booktopia

When fire devastates the Cleary’s Creek gold mine near Bullfinch in Western Australia the operation is abandoned, along with a secret stash of gold illegally collected over the years by the mechanic Tom Bosich. Gold prices were low and the economics of keeping the mine running made no sense. Tom planned to collect the gold later, but life got in the way.

Forty years later, road-train driver and keen bush painter, Carter De Freitas and his artist companion Elise Alquist, are drawn to the attractions of the district and have taken a weeks leave to paint scenes of poppet heads and old workings. When  De Freitas’s three legged blue-heeler cattle dog, Carpenter, discovers human remains down an abandoned shaft, local interest in old Tom’s rumoured cache resurfaces. A cold-case investigation of the body means De Freitas must stay in the district instead of returning to his driving job for Mooney’s Transport in Port Hedland, to the annoyance of his boss Don Mooney.

Curiosity in the fabled gold has bubbled below the surface in the nearby town of Southern Cross over the years, but with an increase in gold prices, interest has heightened in the Cleary’s Creek reserves – both known and hidden. City prospectors, disgruntled farmers and district identities are all interested in getting their hands on the fabled treasure buried at the mine.

More bodies are found and subsequent investigations reveal that a number of people have motives  for their demise. De Freitas and Elise are crucially involved in the police investigations of murder and gold theft.

Set in a districts where farmers and miners are at loggerheads, emotions run high and motives are many.

An intriguing mesh of motives and methods provides the framework for this story in which colourful characters offer an entertaining insight into outback life, and the mystery surrounding the buried gold. Is it real or only scuttlebutt?

This is another of the author’s stories involving Carter De Freitas, his dog Carpenter and the Swedish back-packer Elise Alquist, who spend their down time painting scenes of Australia’s north-west.

Read about the first in the Carter De Freitas series, Truck That, here.

About the author

Steve Rogers

Steve Rogers lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, with his wife of over 50 years, and enjoys writing, socialising, and actively cycling, swimming and golfing. He has written articles, children’s stories and countless ‘bush’ poems.

After a working life of activities including farming, teaching and documentary-making, Steve now weaves his experiences into crime fiction stories set in ‘outback’ Australia.

Also by Steve Rogers: She cost HOW much? Australia Day, the poem; Hard way to make a crust; Truck That

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