Marianne's Reviews > Dead Man Switch

Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read January 27, 2021 to January 29, 2021.

“’He looks a lot more like a body rolled in a rug than I was hoping.’ Ella observed quietly as she and Alma inspected their handiwork. ‘Let's hope we don't run into any neighbours or the next tenant meeting will be hell.’”

Dead Man Switch is the first book in the Billie Walker Mystery series by award-winning Australian/Canadian author, Tara Moss. The audio version is narrated by Danielle Carter. It’s 1946 in Sydney, and the climate favours returned servicemen in jobs while the women who filled those roles during the war are relegated to domestic duties. Formerly a war journalist, Billie Walker’s current profession is already seen as a masculine one, so she’s going emphatically against the grain by running her deceased father’s private inquiry business.

But there’s a call for female investigative agents: obtaining evidence to allow wives to divorce errant husbands makes up the majority of her work, but Mrs Netanya Brown has come about her missing seventeen-year-old son, Adin. “A good boy”, she insists. Billie intuitively knows there’s something not being said, but a near empty work agenda means she can hardly be choosy. She takes the case.

Meanwhile, her confidential informant asks her to look into the welfare of four young women from her mob who have been assigned to work for a man in the lower Blue Mountains. And just why is Vincenzo Moretti, a PI with a grudge against the late Barry Walker, watching her flat?

Moss gives the reader a fast-paced plot filled with intrigue, some nasty villains and a heart-thumping climax. With mentions of fashion, petrol rationing, disfigured veterans, social attitudes and the scarcity of certain commodities, Moss easily evokes the era and ambience of immediate post-war Sydney.

Billie is feisty and determined, and manages to hold her own, although she does end up ruining several frocks and quite a lot of (difficult to come by) stockings. Luckily, she’s a dab hand with a sewing machine as well as a lockpick and her little Colt 908.

Moss gives Billie a marvellous support cast, with a hint of sexual tension between Billie and two of the male characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some background matters remain unresolved, no doubt to be addressed in later books. Certainly, more of this excellent post-war Aussie noir series will be most welcome.
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Reading Progress

August 20, 2019 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
August 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Paperback Edition)
September 13, 2019 – Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
September 14, 2019 –
page 17
4.62% (Paperback Edition)
September 15, 2019 –
page 108
29.35% (Paperback Edition)
September 16, 2019 –
page 277
75.27% (Paperback Edition)
September 16, 2019 –
page 357
97.01% (Paperback Edition)
September 17, 2019 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
January 27, 2021 – Started Reading
January 27, 2021 – Shelved
January 28, 2021 –
January 29, 2021 –
January 29, 2021 –
January 29, 2021 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Carolyn Great review Marianne. I enjoyed this one too - hoping the next is out soon :)

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