Saturday, March 12, 2011


A POLITICAL AFFAIR by Andrew Porteous (Kingslake Publishing, 2010)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

An Otago novella that won a worldwide award for unpublished stories is an enjoyable debut that introduces a likable hero with the potential to tent-pole an ongoing series. 

Part-Maori detective Lachlan Doyle's career is already in jeopardy when he draws a dangerous assignment: to quickly and quietly close a high-profile ‘accidental death’ case where an attractive assistant to the Prime Minister is found dead at her boss's private house.

With pressure mounting from many directions, Doyle begins to suspect that the nighttime ‘fall down the stairs’ may have actually been a push, and that powerful forces, political and otherwise, are massing to keep the truth from coming out. But who pushed the assistant, and why?

At 118 pages in length, Andrew Porteous's debut tale is more novella than novel, but it's an enjoyable read from a new voice in Kiwi crime writing. Porteous, who is a playwright and assistant at the University of Otago's science library, creates a nice flow to his crime story, there's a good touch of intrigue to keep the reader guessing, and Doyle is a pretty likable hero. A part-Maori cop descended from the early settlers of Dunedin, hemmed in by forces outside of his control or understanding.

I found it easy to follow and root for Doyle as the pages turned. Porteous potentially has a character that could provide the spine of an ongoing series. I also enjoyed the local touches to this mystery tale.

Hopefully there will be more to come from Porteous and Detective Doyle

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