Goodwood by Holly Throsby

Goodwood is the debut novel from Australian author Holly Throsby, who is also a noted singer-songwriter.

Reading a mystery novel really takes me out of my comfort zone – I’m just not that way inclined – I need to know why, and I need to know NOW – not at the end of the book. The temptation to skip to the last few pages is just too great….Recently I had to read a mystery novel “Goodwood” – as I had set it for my book club. I’m always telling the book club members they need to get out of their comfort zone and read different genres…. so now it was my turn!

Goodwood is a fictional small town in Australia nestled between a mountain and a lake and notorious mainly for its’ annual fishing competition and parade. The 17 year old narrator Jean Brown describes it as “a peaceful town before the tragedies”. The tragedies occur when popular but troubled teenager Rosie White vanishes without a trace, followed two weeks later when the town’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, disappears on one of his regular fishing trips.

Jean finds a large sum of money secreted in a tree by the lake just before Bart disappears, but the money goes missing at the same time as Bart. There’s also the mystery of the old Toyota that was stolen from the McDonald residence a few weeks earlier that Bart never reported to the local police.

As more information comes to light speculation is rife that the two disappearances are linked. Has Rosie indeed run off with Bart?? In the tight-knit community of Goodwood everybody knows everybody, but as the mystery deepens and then unfolds it appears that nothing is as it seems.

As previously mentioned, this genre is totally not my favourite – but I have to say I really enjoyed this debut novel from Holly Throsby – it was well written and the characters were rich and complex but still believable. I even enjoyed the mystery and the inevitable twist – I thought it was all very well done. At last! A book with a decent plot!

Here’s a link to a much fuller review from the Sydney Morning Herald, which I thought summed it up very well – but just be warned there’s a bit of a spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book first.

The library also has copies of this tile in large print and ebook, as well as a book club kit. I think it will make for good discussions at a book club – I’ll let you know next week!