This is the second book by Stephen Crabbe.
The story is set in 1913 a year before the first world war. Kangaroo Island is s small island just off the coast of South Australia with the nearest port being Adelaide. In this small community, gosip is rife and it seems that the only policeman takes the side of the prevailing winds as the truth.

The main character is Pansy Pearce. A tall, athletic and strong willed young lady. She has her own ideas about how things should work. Sadly they did not fit in with the society of the time. The mystery seems to be about her next door neighbours who appear to have darker skin than was acceptable at the time. There are other side plots such possible German Spies who were buying gum from the “Yacca” trees.” In spite of the pictures on the front of the book, it took me some time to realise they are what I have always called “Blackboys.”

The story seemed to lack depth in character development. It took me three tries at the first two chapters to get the people set in my mind. All the main action seemed to happen in the last two chapters. There were also obscure pages devoted to another story.

Stephen’s description of the scenery seems to show the soul of a poet and added to the class of the book. In my mind, it is a story that could have been developed further so the reader does not get lost in side issues that appear to go nowhere. Never-the-less, I hope Stephen continues to gain strength in his writing and I am looking forward to more books from him.

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