Garry Disher

There are at least two types of ‘snowdroppers’ in the world. I grew up around economic snowdroppers, working-class women who stole laundry from clothing lines in more affluent suburbs and sold the contraband, mostly linen and women’s clothing, to pawnshops across inner Melbourne. The snowdropper introduced early in Garry Disher’s new crime novel, Consolation, is of another variety. He steals underwear, women’s underwear specifically, then trophies the garments home and enjoys their company. The thief is pursued by Constable Paul Hirschhausen, the local cop in the town of Tiverton, whom we know from Disher’s previous novels in this series, Bitter Wash Road (2013) and Peace (2019).

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These are exciting times when the new normal for Australian crime fiction is strong domestic interest and sales, but also international attention in the form of Australian-only panels at overseas writers’ festivals, plus regular nominations and awards in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Whether this is a literary fad or sustainable in the long term – with Australian crime fiction becoming a recognisable ‘brand’ in the manner of Scandi-noir or Tartan-noir – will depend largely upon the sustained quality of the novels produced here.

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Last year in New York, I visited the Mysterious Bookshop, Manhattan’s only bookstore specialising in crime fiction. The otherwise knowledgeable bookseller had heard of three Australian crime novelists: Peter Temple, Garry Disher, and Jane Harper ...

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In this dark historical novel, Garry Disher imagines a world in which small girls are sold by their desperate families and enslaved to men such as the brutal ‘scrap man’ – ‘a schemer, a plotter, a trickster’ in whom ‘nothing ... rang true except rage and self-pity’ and who profits from the labour of womenfolk known as Wife, Big Girl ...

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A generation living in peacetime is inclined to devalue the identity and place of soldiers. In Australia, active soldiers have been maligned as meddlesome interlopers in ...

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Garry DisherGarry Disher is an author of crime fiction and children’s literature.

He graduated with a Masters degree in Australian History at Monash University, and was awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford Univ ...

Garry Disher’s World War II novel Past the Headlands (2001) was inspired in part by his discovery of the diary of an army surgeon in Sumatra, who wrote of how his best friend was trying to arrange passage on a ship or plane that could take them back to Australia before the advancing Japanese army arrived. But one morning the surgeon woke to find that his friend had departed during the night. Mateship in a time of adversity, that most vaunted of masculine Australian virtues, had turned out to be a sham. The elusiveness of real friendship and love, and the difficulty of discerning what is true and what is false in human conduct, are recurring themes in Disher’s writing, and he visits them again in his latest book, Bitter Wash Road.

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When not preferring silence, I like to listen to Leonard Cohen and Emmylou Harris, but a friend recently introduced me to the early music ensemble, Accordone (Marco Beasley and Guido Morini).

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Blood Moon by Garry Disher

by
June 2009, no. 312

It is ‘Schoolies’ Week’, and Waterloo, on the Mornington Peninsula, hosts a crowd of teenagers who, for various reasons, shun more fashionable parties on the Gold Coast. The police try to ensure that the kids practise safe sex and don’t become victims of their own excesses with drugs and alcohol, nor of the ‘toolies’ who scavenge the festival fringes. Liaison officer Constable Pam Murphy, recently transferred to detective duties, has encountered few serious problems but warns her superiors that an impending lunar eclipse could produce ‘the ultimate high’.

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Contemporary Australian fiction continues to lean on the national past. Perhaps that’s a comment on the present, or the future, for that matter. It seems to be not so much a matter of the past being experientially ‘another country’, but a more engaging version of the literal one ...

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