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Monday 15 November 2021

‘The Stoning’ by Peter Papathanasiou

Published by MacLehose Press,
7 October 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-52941-697-8 (HB)

Cobb, a small outback town in modern Australia, wakes to a crime of medieval savagery: the local schoolteacher has been taped to a tree and stoned to death. DS George Manolis is sent to investigate, but the case raises memories of his childhood in that same small town.

This gripping debut novel takes us straight into the investigation with the discovery of the body and the reactions of the local police force, then follows Manolis as he tries to make sense of the death of a well-loved local woman.

Manolis is a likeable character, still coming to terms with the recent death of his Greek immigrant father. The family had spent Manolis’ childhood years in Cobb before moving to the city, and Manolis’ memories of the way the town used to be and his father’s busy café are vividly evoked.

The obvious suspects, to the locals, are the present-day immigrants held in a large facility on the outskirts of town - this theme showed a side of Australia that’s not often seen in novels. Manolis is determined to investigate properly in spite of equally determined efforts to make him leave. The novel’s fantastically atmospheric, with the heat, the dust and the small-town hopelessness rising from the pages, and the plotting’s clever, with plenty of twists and turns, and an unexpected ending.

An unusual police procedural with a vividly-evoked Australian bush setting, tricky plotting and a cast of colourful characters.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Peter Papathanasiou was born in northern Greece in 1974 and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His debut book, a memoir, was published in 2019 as Son of Mine by Salt Publishing (UK) and Little One by Allen & Unwin (Australia). His debut novel, a work of crime fiction, was published in 2021 as The Stoning by MacLehose Press (UK). He holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from City, University of London; a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences from The Australian National University (ANU); and a Bachelor of Laws from ANU specialising in criminal law.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

 Click on the title to read a review of her recent book
The Shetland Sea Murders

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