Multifaceted Australian crime fiction: The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary

The High Commissioner by Jon Cleary is the first in the Scobie Malone series. Malone, a police detective, is sent to London to bring back the Australian High Commissioner for the decade-old murder of his wife. Malone finds himself in the middle of Australian and international politics as the High Commissioner attempts to wrap up Vietnam peace talks before he goes home to face his past. While it’s plot definitely has the ingredients of a thriller, what actually gripped me as I read was its interesting and enjoyable characters and the exploration of Malone’s growing sympathy with the perpetrator. Written back in 1966, it captures attitudes and life at that time.

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