Browsing bookstores and their online counterparts over the years, it would seem that Australians love a good crime story. Even our television shows have a proud crime genre tradition, one of the most iconic perhaps being the nineties drama, Blue Heelers. In book form, they are just as popular, whether from overseas or home-grown with Australian themes and Australian characters. Whilst television dramas have focussed on the police procedural aspect, series such as The Rowland Sinclair series by Sulari Gentill, and this week’s feature, The Cass Lehman series by Melanie Casey, have amateur detectives who are sometimes reluctant to help out in cases, but who have police contacts who assist them, or whom they assist.
These amateur detectives are often people from all walks of life who somehow become tangled up in a case. Whether they stumble across a crime in progress, or are somehow involved through a friend or family member asking them to help discreetly, an amateur detective can be reluctant or willing, or perhaps somewhere in between. Inevitably, they will find that, somewhere along the way, something goes wrong and they will find themselves in some kind of trouble linked to the case, which is usually where the detectives they have been assisting, or who have been trying to deter them from assisting, come in to help them out.