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Death and the Running Patterer (Curious Murder Mystery #1)

3.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  136 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
1828: Sydney is a city built on the backs of exiled convicts. But in a colony of criminals, how do you narrow down the list of suspects when a murderer is on the rampage?
Nicodemus Dunne was a London policeman. After being deported on trumped up charges of assault, he now makes his living in New South Wales as a running patterer, spreading the news of the day by word of m
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Berkley Books (first published 2009)
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Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
This book is horrible. No grammatical or spelling mistakes, but it's boring. The author seems to be attempting to educate his audience on the history of Australia instead of entertaining them with a mystery story. In fact, for every line or two of dialogue that the characters speak, three or four paragraphs follow with explanations about what was just said. For instance, if someone mentions a pipe, then there are two paragraphs explaining different kinds of pipes that were available at this time ...more
Jul 14, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sydney, Australia 1828, Nicodemus Dunne, a transported ex-Bow Street Runner on parole, is called on by Governor Darling to help solve a spate of unsolvable murders. He joins forces with the beautiful Rachel Dormin, a seamstress, but there are many twists and turns along the way. There are also numerous suspects with secrets worth killing for, including the Governor himself. The biggest twist of them all though is who the actual killer is.

I found this really easy to read, I loved the Historical a
I was really looking forward to reading this novel, I thought the premise sounded like it would make an interesting and exciting mystery.

Nicodemus Dunne was a Bow Street Runner before he found himself deported to Australia as a convict. Now he makes his living as a running patterer, reading the newspapers to a variety of customers who pay for his services. Because of his experience investigating crime the governor has asked for Dunne's assistance discovering who's responsible for the recent murd
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Utterly boring and poorly written. There was a lack of plot structure, pace, and the characters weren't very interesting. I hardly got through the first 60 pages before I had to turn my attention to better books.

A shame, because I got it through Dymocks where you get the first book free when you buy the second... so I have both books and don't know where to get rid of them too. I hope the library lacks copies.
Shannon Teper
I enjoyed the period details scattered throughout this book. Having no knowledge of the history of Australia except that it began as a penal colony, being transported back in time to the early days of Sydney was enlightening, if a little overwhelming. The book was dark with a good deal of gore and violence, but probably very true to the time period the author sought to capture. It's darker aspects were periodically lightened by humor and the presence of several likable characters. I wish Dunne h ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just didn't enjoy this. Can't say I particularly liked the lead character, and I found the style of writing to be really tedious. Too many attempts to shoehorn in some little factoid the author knew about some obscure piece of Australia's history, and a way of telling a story that almost came off like a 1940s radio show (no subtlety, just a lot of "keep listening for the next exciting chapter in How Nico Caught The Baddies").

Started skimming about halfway through, just to find out whodunnit, but
Tonya Cheney
This author has a great sense of humor.
Mistress Bast
2 and a half stars. It was better than OK, but I am not sure how much I liked it.

In some ways this is a great book for someone who is interested in the very early history of British settlement of Australia - particularly if they want a feel for the daily life of people, because the author often (every couple of paragraphs) gives the reader a quick history lesson. But a history buff would already know quite a bit of it, and it does interrupt the narrative somewhat, and for a history novice, there
Oct 07, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very entertaining book which is also educational although I found it pedantic at times. Nicodemus Dunne lives in a place and time that is grim, frightening and filled with desperate people trying to stay out of trouble because the consequences are always dire. A redeeming feature is that the reader has a view from the future and knows that better times are coming. Australia is a land of transported convicts under penalty, other convicts who have served their time and are on parole, the ...more
Sep 17, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DEATH AND THE RUNNING PATTERER is the book that won Penguin's last Most Wanted Crime Writing competition, and there's a comment in the acknowledgements that explain a little about the development of the book:

"I owe a debt to Robert Sessions, Penguin Australia's Publishing Director, who overcame his initial shock at being confronted with a manuscript knocked out on an old manual typewriter...."

The reason for highlighting this is that whilst reading DEATH AND THE RUNNING PATTERER was a very enjoya
Jun 22, 2011 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Nicodemus Dunne is currently making his living as a running patterer, this means he ‘reads’ newspaper articles and ads as well as passing other information via word of mouth to the illiterate citizens and soldiers of Sydney, Australia. Dunne had a life in London where he was a Bow Street Runner until he gets transported & has only a year left before he can return to England. This past leads the Chief of Police Francis de Rossi to ask for Dunne’s help after gruesome murders start occurring. R ...more
Apr 08, 2013 Lenore rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Adair has obviously done his historical research for this mystery, but unfortunately loves it so much that he had chosen to burden the book with too many historical references. Instead of using his knowledge to create a rich, historically accurate setting for his solid, engaging mystery story, he has chocked the story overly full with historical characters, linguistic factoids, locations, other details that could have been interesting if there were fewer. His story has another problem, that ...more
Andrea Bilardi toon
Michael Hyneman
I found the book fun in the way I find most mystery novels like Agatha Christie and such. There were times that the story lagged and felt things were out of place but if you are looking for something light to enjoy just until you find your next page turner I would give this a run.

Note: I purchased this when Borders was going out of business so I got it at an extreme price cut I would recommend buying at a used book seller or if it is discounted more than 40%.
I finished Death and the Running Patterer this morning and I'm a little torn. I did NOT guess the killer but I don't think the author really gave me a chance at it. The book reads fairly quickly and it is really steeped in the history of early Sydney but at times it read a bit like a history professor's lecture notes. There is lots and lots of information and anecdotal stuff but...that doesn't necessarily make for a great mystery, historical or not. The author explained what a patterer is at the ...more
Jan McClintock
Feb 14, 2011 Jan McClintock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This historical mystery was fascinating on so many levels. First, because the setting was a new one to the genre and the author took full advantage of this to convey the unique community of 1828 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. In a penal colony with strict levels of society, a person's freedom is tenuous, no matter his previous position in life. Second, because the hero is so well-drawn as a disgraced Bow Street runner who is now a prisoner, able to make his own living by dispersing news by ...more
Adair, Robin. DEATH AND THE RUNNING PATTERER. (2009). **.
Although this was a winner of Penguin Australia’s “Most Wanted” Award, it turned out to be rather boring. Set in the early 19th century, when Australia was still used as a penal colony, a series of murders occurs that is investigated by Nicodemus Dunne. Dunne is the running patterer of the title; a person who spreads the news of the day by mouth to those who don’t have time to read the paper or to those who can’t read. It’s a living. Dunn
Mar 09, 2014 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, mystery
The author loves the trivia of Sydney's past, and this book is probably only truly fun if you do too. You know how Heinlein is sometimes like being cornered at the pub by the guy who thinks the gubmint is coming for his guns? Yeah, this is sometimes like that but it's a collector of minutiae and trivia of Sydney's history.
Nov 15, 2011 Mundi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While the writing is a little rough, and the dialogue in places seems contrived to wedge in the anecdotal historical explanations, it does, if you let it, fall in with the wit and feel that is characterized by the time, the place, and the rough-cut feel of the characters themselves. I did consider setting this one down, but the murder mystery carried me through - I wanted to know what happens. While the author does leave the reader out of the last few "ah ha!" moments that helps the killer be di ...more
George Seminara
Jul 26, 2012 George Seminara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and involving. The main character, Nicodemus, reads all the newspapers and recites them news to the basically illiterate upper classes for a few cents each. Oh, I should tell you that this is Australia in 1832 and still a criminal colony. Nicodemus is a smart fellow, a former policeman and convict, who gets himself involved in a criminal investigation involving an enthusiastic murderer going about his business and leaving clues that Nic. follows to the conclusion. I have never b ...more
DNF I got about 30 pages in and the descriptions got the better of me. The writing style just wasn't my cup of tea and the mystery didn't seize my attention.
Jul 16, 2014 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this,and was easy to read. Amurder mystery set back in early Sydney days.
Mar 30, 2011 lindsae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is "Eh". The book was not horribly written however it meandered. I think the author was trying to make the Patterer into Sherlock, how he took all of the clues that didn't seem like clues at the time and bam- solved the mystery. However, the clues the author provided never pointed to the killer nor did the Patterer ever process aloud to point the reader in the right direction.
Mar 18, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting ready about Australia's early days, but the plot was a little clunky and only a few of the characters were interesting enough to be remembered.

The strangest part of the book was his insertion of modern catchphrases - the one I remember specifically was, "Bond. James Bond." It was clever but it really took me out of the scene.
Aug 27, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is a fascinating piece of history--set in mid-1800s in Australia. The main character has a job of something I never knew existed, but could have figured out (eventually) if I remembered the level of illiteracy rampant. A good mystery and interesting historical information.
Nov 15, 2011 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting read taking place in 1800's Australia. Rather graphic at times but a complex story. Interesting characters. The twist at the end was a bit random. A historical who done it.
Another 60% off Borders find.
K.B. Hallman
At times, I feel that Adair stresses his cleverness too much. This would be a better read if he'd employed subtlety. But, rough though it is, I enjoyed it. I look forward to reading about the bank robbery.
Jan 09, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Enjoyed the book. The first mystery I've read set in Australia during the period the British transported convicts to the country. Even if the end seemed a bit contrived, I'd read more by this author.
Dialog is difficult to write well, so I go easy with my expectations for first books. Even so I'm done with this one...which is a pity because the premise was really interesting.
Feb 10, 2011 VMom marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up off the library's new books shelf. So far the writing is stilted and the setting, while impressively researched, seems instrusive.
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Veteran Sydney journalist Robin Adair has had a wide and colourful career at the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, the Australian Financial Review and the ABC. For many years he reflected on the lighter side of life in a humorous column for the Australian Women's Weekly. He has been a lifelong student of early colonial history, especially police, pubs, crime and punishment. One of his ancestors was an ...more
More about Robin Adair...

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Curious Murder Mystery (2 books)
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