Murder in the Telephone Exchange

June Wright. Dark Passage/Verse Chorus (PGW, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-1-891241-37-6
First published in 1948, this welcome reissue of Australian author Wright’s first mystery features Maggie Byrnes, a “telephonist” at the Melbourne Exchange, who gets swept up into the investigation of the murder of a much disliked supervisor. Who would want to bash in the head of nosy Sarah Compton? Maggie doesn’t accept the suicide of one of her coworkers as a confession, irritating both John Clarkson, a senior traffic officer who worries about her safety, and Detective-Sergeant Matheson, who fears the same. The period charm is most noticeable in the loving descriptions of the very latest technology available at the Melbourne Exchange. The downside is the routine sexism and racism. For example, the elevator operator can’t be guilty because “he’s one of the whitest men in the building.” Still, the story creates an engaging porthole into the past, with lively characters and inventive plotting. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/07/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 235 pages - 978-1-891241-96-3
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