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The Kingfisher's Debt

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Magic isn't real, right?

Within the small coastal city of Dunedin, local translator, Tamsin Fairchild has a reputation she hates. People think she's psychic... Tamsin belongs to a hidden community of Witches, Faeries and Elementals.

Always hovering around and interfering in Tamsin's life, part father-figure, part thorn in her side, Detective Jackson, is an old-school cop. Ch
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 28th 2018 by IFWG Publishing Australia
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been glued to this book every night for the past week - it really is a “just one more chapter” kind of novel! Un-put-down-able.

I loved how urban fantasy and crime came together, and in a very kiwi setting. I became very invested in the characters, especially Fin (Aussie surfer dude) and Jackson (police chief who I could not help but picturing as Sergeant Maaka from Wellington Paranormal lol). There are flashbacks to the protagonist’s teen years as well that I really enjoyed, and which help
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s been a while since I’ve read Urban Fantasy, and even longer since suffering the angst that comes from being forced to put a book down when you really just wanted to shut the door on the world and read!

The Kingfisher’s Debt by Kura Carpenter is a great example of a genre that blends crime drama with fantasy in a modern setting. Like many of the urban fantasy genre, The Kingfisher’s Debt has a strong female protagonist in the form of Tasmin Fairchild, although she plays in a mostly male domi
Piper Mejia
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of course Dunedin is the home of Fair Folk and Elementals in the middle of a never ending feud. Where else could they hide in plain sight among the lesser humans? Of course they are casting spells and causing trouble. Like any other notorious crim' on the East Coast they have a reputation to uphold. Of course they expect the worst but hope for the best. With power comes responsibility. Debut novel The Kingfisher's Debt by Kura Carpenter, is an escape into the life of Tamsin Kingfisher as she hel ...more
Stephanie Shortcake
Great read. I’m obsessed with anything Fae, and the urban and gritty setting was refreshing. Loved the magical laws and the Chinese influence! So cool!

Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I was a fan of urban fantasy I'm sure this would rate a 5 star from me! So why did I read it? Well, it is set in my home town, Dunedin, New Zealand. Now there are not too many books about set in this beautiful city, so that's why I read out of my usual genre.
The writing was crisp, clear, and had a cracking pace, often sparse with a tactile feel to them, you could almost hear things move: the crackle of paper, the rev of an old engine, or hear the voices with their different inflections, as yo
Barbara Howe
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Aunty Tamsin, was Billy my dad?”

I stopped applying my lipstick and and angled the rear-view mirror. … With grey eyes and auburn hair framing her face, Gwyn looked like her mother. She hadn’t inherited the blonde hair and blue eyes I shared in common with my older brother Billy, her dad.

“Well, was he?”

“No, sweetheart.”

From the opening paragraphs of The Kingfisher’s Debt, New Zealand author Kura Carpenter’s debut novel, I was hooked. Who was this Tamsin and why was she lying to her niece? The ans
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, new-zealand
I think the speed with which I read this one is testament to how much I enjoyed it. Sorry family, I am indeed behind on dishes, etc. And sorry to my readers, I did put off a day of writing to read.

As others have mentioned, there is some time-hopping between "present day" and the MC's teenage years. It took a few chapters for me to get into partly for this reason -- a lot of characters to meet -- but I liked how it let us see the MC's teenage romance develop, which definitely affected how I felt
R.L. Stedman
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truncated review here - the full review is on Scoop Books (
It’s been a long time since I’ve read such an engrossing urban fantasy. This wonderfully written story is sure to appeal to fans of Ben Aaranovitch, Brendon Sanderson or Maggie Stiefvater.
Okay, so the plot summary: It’s midwinter in Dunedin. Solstice, when the nights are long and magic powers ebb. Tamsin Fairchild, part-time Power worker, part-time occult expert (and full-time criminal) is hired to help find a
Lee Murray
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was excited to receive an ARC copy of local speculative writer Kura Carpenter’s debut novel The Kingfisher’s Debt. Carpenter is an active member of New Zealand’s speculative community and since I’d had a chance to read an advance excerpt of this work some time ago, I’ve been looking forward to reading the book. It’s an excellent debut, a soundly-written urban crime fantasy with a cast of complex characters, some of whom aren’t too savoury. In the story, protagonist Tamsin Fairchild, linguist, ...more
Angela Oliver
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A competently written debut novel combining the family politics and drama of Outrageous Fortunes with the supernatural intrigue of the Dresden Files.

Meet Tamsin Fairchild, hailing from a family that dance on the far side of the law, she's got a few secrets - and special abilities - of her own. But when the cops come knocking, it's not to arrest her (yet!) but to employ her. A baby has gone missing, and another has been found - dead - with evidence indicating foul play of a supernatural nature.
Carol Tate
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of magic and fairies

This book kept me guessing and threw in a few twists I didn't see coming. The ending was satisfying and also intriguing, I would love to visit this world again and get to know more of the characters. The Kingfisher's Debt is a tale of magic featuring both elemental beings and fairies masquerading as humans. Kura Carpenter has set her magical world within the city of Dunedin, New Zealand, and it was wonderfully done blurring the real with the imagination and I really e
Evelyn Robertson
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book and its completely amazing. I really like how magic works in this world and how the characters talk to each other. The twists all made sense as soon as they happened but i never saw them coming.
And the main character is just delightful.
The alternating present and past plot threw me alittle but once i got used to it, its a really interesting way to learn about the character.

Completely brilliant urban fantasy! The focuses on the detective and adventure, and fairy clan p
Karen Robinson
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read Kingfisher's Debt twice now. The first time it took me a while to get used to the time switches, and the detail of the characters and their magical world. Reading it again, I picked up things I missed, or didn't quite connect to the first time. Having traveled to Dunedin a few times, it was nice to see familiar landmarks and the quirky nature of the NZ attitude presented so accurately. It is a new interpretation of magic with a kiwi twist. I think it is a strong first novel, and I am l ...more
Anna Cressy
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book by the talented Kura Carpenter so much. Great New Zealand flavour, magic, mayhem and mustang's. I also love a book with a badass chick as the main character. I always think a book is great if I don't want to leave the world it created when I've finished it. This definitely fits. I would love to immerse myself in this world again for other stories. Get writing please Kura! ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Tamsin Fairchild, thought to be a physic by local police, is called in to assist when the body of a baby is found at the Forsyth Bar Stadium in Dunedin. She teams up with Officer Scott Gale to examine the bizarre crime scene and they wonder is it a satanic ritual or hoax?
“There wasn’t a spell painted on the body …..And there was no sacrifice. The baby was already dead, a preserved medical specimen.”
Kura Carpenter’s novel The Kingfisher’s Debt, unravels two storylines as it moves from the present
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I totally love this book! it had many layers of complexity plus being urban fantasy. I liked the writing a lot. In the beginning, I got a little confused about the setting but reading on it was all clear up and become really interesting.

I must read in fantasy, a very creative way to read about fairies.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing story

While the story skips back and forth between past and present, it weaves a tale of fae, dragons and humans, all within the confines of my favourite City, Dunedin.
Tamsin is a mysterious fairy, who has other mysterious power, and universally tied to the Chief of the local police through a life bond. How this happened is explained in the past flashbacks while the current story tells of the death of a baby, which is surrounded in magic.
The story has been carefully crafted, weaving
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gritty and gripping debut novel! As a Dunedin girl I'm always excited to read books set in my hometown and even better when it's urban fantasy. The worldbuilding is a great twist on fae (the chop shop - amazing) and the characters are all well drawn and totally believable. Tamsin is a difficult heroine but the book's dual timeline offers a great insight into why current-day Tamsin is how she is. I would love to read more in this universe. ...more
It is very Dunedin.
Unfortunately it brought a whole pile of cultural cringe along with the familiarity of setting.

I really wanted to like it, and I liked a lot of the ideas, but overall I was just left feeling pretty 'Meh, whatever' about the experience of reading the book.
Dion Perry
This book is an urban fantasy that combines a crime thriller with an urban fantasy. Set in Dunedin it is a New Zealand tale written in the New Zealand dialect. There are fairy folk and elementals and magic and mystery. There is also a complicated line up of characters who are all interrelated through clan ties.

I liked the book and found it difficult to put down. It is witty and cleverly written. But I really struggled to understand it. Too many characters all twisted together with magic and cult
Mark McCabe
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story quickly wove its magic on me, drawing me in as the tale unfurled as if the central character was reaching out from the pages and weaving one of her spells on me, as the reader, until I was trapped and just couldn’t put it down.

Set in Dunedin at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, this is urban fantasy shaped by a master of the craft. Kura Carpenter’s command of words and language along with her ability to weave an entrancing tale held me spellbound until the very end – and what
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Kura Carpenter is a Writer and Graphic Designer based in the small but perfectly formed coastal city of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Kura enjoys reading, practising calligraphy, doodling, sewing and constructing miniature furniture from ice-block sticks. A few years ago she was fortunate enough to adopt a retired racing greyhound and now wants everyone to experience the joy of sharing your house and hear

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