The Wombat Strategy

Reviewed by Andy Smart

Before I begin, Iím not going to reveal what the wombat strategy is! But I did find this page about wombats though.

Claire McNab is well known for her excellent series of police procedurals featuring Carol Ashton, however in The Wombat Strategy she leaves both the police procedural and the Australian suburbs for the world of the Los Angeles private eye Ė well almost.

Small-town girl Kylie Kendall is not excited by the prospect of running The Wombatís Retreat in Wollegudgerie, especially not now her mumís remarried somebody else and her girlfriend has gone off with the local hairdresser (and in wolleguderie everybody knows everybody else, and their business). So when her American father dies and leaves her his share in a Los Angeles private detective agency Kylie sees it as a golden opportunity to escape the bush and see some excitement other than brawling opal miners. However her fatherís partner, the beautiful and enigmatic Ariana Creeling is less than delighted at the prospect.

As youíd expect from a Claire McNab novel, itís well-written and thought out Ė with people you can believe in and situations which donít require too much of a disbelief suspension. What is nice however is to see her using her talents for writing humour to such great effect, and there is a lot of humour to be had in this book. The small-town stranger in the big city is a stock situation for comedy, from Ancient Greece to Crocodile Dundee and all points in between, but that doesnít mean the book loses anything for that. Deep down I suspect that Claire McNab has more sympathy for places like the Ďgudge than she does for L.A. though.

Itís a delight from first page to last, buy it, now.

Oh, and you canít get a decent cup of tea in California eitherÖ..

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