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Sydney’s Observatory on a balmy summer evening is the perfect venue for a cocktail party and, it would seem, a murder, for Peter Van Goren’s body is discovered bludgeoned to death in the grounds. The first question Detective Chief Inspector Fitzjohn must answer is why Van Goren was present given his name does not appear on the guest list. The second is what was the subject of Van Goren’s vehement argument with Richard Carmichael, one of the function’s hosts.

Meanwhile, Richard’s son, Ben Carmichael, a photojournalist, returns to Sydney from an overseas assignment to find his fiancée, Emma Phillips, has gone missing. Although unavoidably dragged into the police investigation, Ben goes in search of her. In so doing, he is drawn to Lane’s End, the abandoned family estate where the very atmosphere awakens disturbing memories.

Through a maze of twisted stories, Fitzjohn follows a winding path to solve his case, but he is not prepared for the spiralling perplexity his quest creates.

248 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 30, 2014

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About the author

Jill Paterson

13 books113 followers
Jill Paterson is best known for her popular Fitzjohn Mystery Series. Set in the city of Sydney, Australia, her richly drawn characters include Alistair Fitzjohn. Now a police consultant since his retirement from the force, his methods of investigation remain the same, methodical and painstaking.

While continuing the Fitzjohn series, Jill is also working on a new series, the Phoebe Chadwick Mysteries. Set along the east coast of Australia in a small township, Phoebe Chadwick heads the cast of characters as the female sleuth.

When not writing, Jill explores settings for her books and enjoys painting, photography and tai chi.

If you would like to get an automatic email when Jill’s next book is released, sign up on her blog at: https://theperfectplot.blogspot.com
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5 stars
332 (36%)
4 stars
341 (37%)
3 stars
180 (20%)
2 stars
35 (3%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 77 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,020 reviews2,618 followers
January 25, 2015
Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn had just arrived home after taking out a prestigious title with his prize orchid; he was returning it to his glasshouse when he was interrupted by his Sergeant, Martin Betts. They had just been called to Sydney’s Observatory where it appeared that a cocktail party had gone very wrong for one of the guests. Peter Van Goren had been badly beaten and his body was lying in the gardens of the Observatory.

But when Fitzjohn discovered that Van Goren wasn’t on the guest list, his suspicions were aroused. And they were further aroused when he found that Richard Carmichael, one of two hosts for the evening, had become ill and gone home after an argument with Van Goren. There was obviously a connection between the two men but as he was told no one actually knew the man, Fitzjohn was puzzled as to what that connection could be.

When Ben Carmichael, a photojournalist and son to Richard arrived home from his overseas assignment, he was looking forward to seeing Emma Phillips, his fiancée. It had been awhile since they had seen each other, though they had communicated on a fairly regular basis. Ben was looking forward to some down time with Emma. But arriving at their home, Ben discovered Emma was nowhere to be found. And when he realized she hadn’t been seen in some days he became extremely concerned. Where could she be?

As Fitzjohn deepened the investigation, he discovered an abandoned home which had been in the Carmichael family for decades. With witnesses from the Observatory murder not being entirely truthful with Fitzjohn, the secrets that had been long buried began to surface. Was Lane’s End part of this case? And what would Ben discover at his family estate; the home he hadn’t seen since he was a young boy?

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest instalment in the Fitzjohn series by Aussie author Jill Paterson. A light, entertaining crime mystery with a great protagonist! Alistair Fitzjohn is an endearing character with many foibles and a quirky nature. I have no hesitation in recommending Lane’s End highly.
Profile Image for Diana Hockley.
Author 9 books45 followers
February 22, 2015
Loved this traditional murder mystery! Beautifully written, the characters are a delight, each person's life unfolding without fanfare. Fitzjohn's bossy sister and her intimidated niece to Betts, his sergeant, who has a "thing" for Sophie, Grieg, Fitzjohn's nemesis and his belligerent neighbour all play their parts with conviction.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting - Sydney, where I lived for many years - the solid policing and quiet style of the lead character and the lack of erotica - a welcome change!

I shall be reading more of this author's work.
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,652 reviews702 followers
January 11, 2020
Fourth in the Fitzjohn Mystery detective series set in Sydney, Australia, in 2013 and revolving around Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn.

My Take
The story is very low-key in a number of areas, low enough to be vague, which I found irritating — and partially accounts for the "3". What really pushed me to that "3" was how lame the reason was for not revealing what truly happened back in 1983. Good grief. Why not at least tell Richard??? It was a letdown when the truth all came out. Oh, it was all quite plausible...except for the why. As for that "foreign" accent that Van Goren had...gimme a break. You'll understand once you read the story. Jesus.

There's plenty of action in Lane's End: issues in the police station; the long, involved mysteries plaguing the Carmichaels (and Hunts); Emma's shenanigans; the unlikely heir to Van Goren's estate; Ben's personal issues with his father and Emma; those early relationships between Richard, Sebastian, and Rachael; Amanda's reticence; and, of course, Fitzjohn's turmoils with his neighbor and sister as well as his relationship with his niece. It certainly kept things hopping.

They're great characters, both the core ones and this story's. I'll definitely have to go back to the first in this series, The Celtic Dagger , in hopes of meeting Fitzjohn's wife. I think I'd like her.

While Paterson uses a third person global subjective point-of-view, the primary perspective is Fitzjohn's with a pace that's quick enough to keep me interested — especially with those characters, lol — although the prose felt very 1950s.

Just keep in mind that the truth will always out.

The Story
Murder. At the Sydney Observatory. Witnesses who know more than they're telling. It's all grist for Fitzjohn to mull over, causing him to dig deep, back to 1983 with too many people involved in a maze of twisted stories.

The Characters
Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn has a lovely new greenhouse in his backyard where he grows his prized orchids. Edith is his late wife who died 18 months ago. Meg is Alistair's interfering, controlling sister who lives in Melbourne. Sophie is her determined daughter, studying forensic medicine in Sydney. She's about to have new roommates of whom her mother does not approve.

Day Street, New South Wales Police Force
Detective Sergeant Martin Betts is Fitzjohn's partner. Chief Superintendent Evelyn Grieg is a major jerk and Fitzjohn's supervisor. DCI Reginald Fellowes (he retired as Chief Superintendent) had originally been in charge of the investigation into Rachael Carmichael's death. Senior Constable Williams, who had been moved to Kings Cross Local Area Command is back at Day Street.

Charles Conroy is the pathologist who works at the Parramatta morgue. DCI David Roberts is in charge of the attack at Lane's End.

Peter Van Goren was a wealthy man and an uninvited guest. Ida Clegg is Van Goren's housekeeper. Marjorie "Marge" Reynolds is the cook, and Leonard "Len" Preston is the grounds man and chauffeur. Raymond West is Van Goren's solicitor.

Richard Carmichael and Emerson Hunt are real estate partners. Laura Carmichael is Richard's second wife; his first, Rachael, a talented artist, died under suspicious circumstances. The estranged Benjamin and Joanna were Richard's children before he married Laura. Lane's End is the Carmichael family's country property along Whale Beach. Amanda Marsh was the housekeeper back in the day. Now she's a caterer. Henry Beaumont is the gardener who disappeared.

Benjamin is a renowned photojournalist (with a degree in astrophysics) who is living with his fiancée, Emma Phillips, a freelance journalist. Audrey McIntyre is Emma's research assistant. Ron Evans is Ben and Emma's next-door neighbor.

Sebastian Newberry is Richard's half-brother and an interior designer with a degree in architecture who runs Ultra Design. Jacinta is Newberry's assistant. Sebastian's father had been Edmund Newberry who died in a car accident. His mother then married Desmond Carmichael, his father's best friend.

Theodora Hunt is Emerson's wife, and she runs Fabrique en France. Tulip is her nervous dog.

Murray, Bennett, Walker are Richard's solicitors. Rhonda Butler is Fitzjohn's nasty neighbor who has involved the Leichardt Municipal Council.

The Cover and Title
The cover has a bold red sky with a tower emerging from a rooftop in a much darker red. I'm guessing the house is at Lane's End. The title is a combination of script and sans serif in white and begins on the right side of the tower. At the start of the title is an eagle-headed cane on the slant. The author's name is near the bottom, also in white, as is the series information immediately below it.

The title is where the mystery began at Lane's End so many years ago.
215 reviews
April 26, 2016
A fun read!

This book flowed from start to finish, with numerous twists throughout the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed this author once again!
Profile Image for Carl.
542 reviews1 follower
November 14, 2018
Set in Sydney, Australia, "Lane's End" is a well written, fast paced mystery. There is a element of Australian local color that is unique to many English related books, and that is the question of social class which often can impede an investigation. The protagonist is Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. Through a maze of twisted stories, Fitzjohn follows a winding path to solve his case, but he is not prepared for the spiraling perplexity that his investigation creates. This is an enjoyable series, and if you like a good mystery, then I do recommend this series to you.

Arriving home after taking a prestigious award with his prize orchid, Chief Inspector Fitzjohn is interrupted by his Sergeant, Martin Betts. A cocktail party held at Sydney’s Observatory had gone very wrong for one of the guests. Peter Van Goren had been found badly beaten on the Observatory's grounds. Later, a seemingly solved case involving this family from 1983 — suicide vs. accidental death — impinges on the present case.

Paterson's "Lane's End" is a well crafted mystery with a fast paced plot. Paterson's characterization has created well rounded, engaging characters. This is especially true of Chief Inspector Fitzjohn and his side-kick Sergeant Betts. Also we have his neighbor who wants to make his life miserable, a sister who is out of control and wants to run everyone's life, and a his poor niece Sophie, a college student, who is moving into a new apartment with two guys. (Mom now wants to drag her back home!) The web of intrigue, the twists in the plot, and the dark family upper class secrets, are all cleverly woven to produce a mystery that will leave you guessing. I will definitely be reading more of Jill Paterson's Fitzjohn Mysteries, and I do recommend them - you will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Jillian.
638 reviews7 followers
December 10, 2017
It’s always good to read a well-turned story set in one’s home town. While you me of the joys of reading is gaining familiarity with many places you never or rarely visit, there is nothing like the jolt of reading a good story set in a place whose geography,streets, road networks and public transport you recognise instantly.

It helps, of course, that Paterson creates interesting, rounded, credible characters and tells a convincing, engaging story. I appreciate the lack of melodrama. Secrets lie hidden for decades, their damage manifesting in recognisable, subtle ways that pass for normal behaviour as families adjust to get by.

A quiet, credible unfolding kind of mystery.
Profile Image for M.
1,377 reviews
March 7, 2018
Easy-read Australian cozy with a straightforward procedural plot that proceeds at a comfortable pace. Unlike most cozies, there are three—okay, 2 and 1/2—cases. The present day cases are: 1) the mystery of the missing journalist/writer, and 2) the murder of an uninvited guest at a cocktail party being held at the Sydney Observatory. Plus, a seemingly solved case from 1983—suicide vs. accidental death—which impinges on the present case. There is also a fun side-story involving Detective Fitzjohn’s neighbor.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,420 reviews
October 17, 2018
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Profile Image for Liz Etnyre.
639 reviews3 followers
July 22, 2019
Another nice little classic Christie-style mystery! Echos of Father Brown and Midsommer Murders. Just a touch formulaic, and I think they would be better if I didn't read them back to back - but I'm going to anyway! Nice diversions. Heartily recommended - as long you can juggle 10-12 characters. Luckily, they have different enough names and rolls that it's not hard to keep up.
Profile Image for Stacey.
192 reviews1 follower
June 30, 2017
Quick read. Enjoyable characters. Like a lot of e-books, the plot is propelled forward more from talking and confessions than police actually finding evidence. Pleasant read but I'm not sure I'll be reading any more in this series - this felt more like a first novel than number 4 in a series.
322 reviews4 followers
July 16, 2017
Cliffside Antics

An excellent read. I look forward to reading more books with detective inspector
Fitzjohn as the leading character. He really works his case and keeps the reader's attention until story's end.
6 reviews
July 25, 2018
A Beautiful Place

Once more Fitzjohn’s skills, aided by Betts, take on a cast of characters in a breathtaking setting. The story is easy to follow and a comfortable quick read. See if you can figure out who dunnit.
Profile Image for Kari Morandi.
106 reviews2 followers
November 4, 2018

I was hoping for more of a sense of place. It seemed no different than any of the English mysteries I've read. The most interesting part of the book was the information about the Sydney Observatory at the end.
57 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2019
Thank you Ms. Patterson for such an intriguing novel!

I chose this rating because the suspense was well put together. I try to solve mysteries before I reach the end, well Ms. Patterson gave me a run for my money, and I love that.
Profile Image for Cindy .
263 reviews10 followers
November 2, 2020
I've been enjoying this series so far. The author has a lot of ins and outs along with red herrings that can keep you guessing. Putting the "little grey cells" to work. Looking forward to reading more of them.

For those interested, nice clean reads which is a big plus.
111 reviews
February 2, 2023
A multi-generational murderer

The intricate plot, set in and around Sydney, Australia, brings a reliable old-school detective who balances his work with murder scenes with his greenhouse of unusual blooms.
645 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2017
a twist among the memories - real or pretend - of family and friends leads to an untimely end of one of the characters - jealousy lasts a long time
530 reviews8 followers
September 19, 2018
Thought Provoking

This adventure covers a variety of escapades. Love, jealousy, lies, romance, family, and deception along the way. This author entertains!
98 reviews
June 4, 2019

I really love these stories.. All the Fitzjohn mysteries are intriguing. The characters are brilliant. It's a story I couldn't put down.
Profile Image for Maria Do.
Author 1 book15 followers
July 14, 2019
Gosto muito das aventuras investigativas de Alistair Fitzjohn, por isso decidi ler este quarto livro, como sempre, muito bom.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,276 reviews
August 1, 2019
Good book

You people should just read this book yourselves and write your own review on this novel yourself and I really enjoyed reading this book very much so. Shelley MA
206 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2020
Good suspenseful read

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were great and very defined. The mystery was good all the way to the end!
Profile Image for Annette.
1,540 reviews6 followers
May 28, 2015
Fitzjohn is a Chief Inspector in the Sydney. He is good at what he does at work, and he has just won an award for a prize orchid which shows he is also good at his hobby.

At work, he is assisted by Detective Betts and at times Detective Williams. And all of them make a good team. At home, there is a neighbor who wants to make his life miserable, a sister who is out of control and wants to run everyone's life and a niece who is moving into a new apartment with two guys.

There is a murder which makes no sense until there are many little things which come together to form a pattern. But, the pattern does not lead to any answers.

A man is murdered at a cocktail party. No one knows who he is and no one has any reason to have killed him.

Very quickly, one of the suspects is hospitalized and subsequently dies of a heart attack. And more little things start adding up. But all the adding up seems to be going no where.

This is a good mystery. Fitzjohn and his staff are able to put small pieces together and get more detailed pictures of the suspects. And the suspects become more suspicious as we learn more about them.

The plot is well developed and the reader is never kept out of the picture. As information is developed, we are right along with the detectives. Even though this is a mystery about murder, there is humor which makes the story seem to be very human. Everything moves along very quickly.

The character development is good. I like Fitzjohn very much and even though we are not given a great deal of information about Betts and Williams, it is evident they are devoted to the job.

I look forward to finding other books by Ms Paterson. She is a talented author who creates a good mystery for her readers.

Profile Image for Brenda.
451 reviews13 followers
April 22, 2016
Much of my pleasure in this mystery came from the modern day Sydney, Australia setting. I don't think I've read a book set there before, and I enjoyed looking up the places in the story on Google Maps. This is a police procedural with Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. This is the fourth in the series but the first I've read. I didn't feel lost not having read the first three books in the series. The mysteries aren't very hard to figure out mostly due to lack of suspects, but the characterizations are quite good, and I liked the story even though I figured it out without even trying. Usually that annoys me, but the exotic (for me) setting, appealing characters, and crisp writing soothed any irritation. I will read more in the series, although I'm not feeling in a rush to seek one out.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 77 reviews

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