HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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Digging Up Dirt Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Pamela Hart is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 35 books. She writes the Poppy McGowan mystery series and also historical novels; The Charleston Scandal is her most recent historical story, set in 1920s London.
As Pamela Freeman, she is well-known as a beloved children's author and fantasy writer. Her most recent children's book is a non-fiction picture book, Dry to Dry: The Seasons of Kakadu. Her adult fantasy series, The Castings Trilogy, ended with the award-winning Ember and Ash.paperback edition.
- ASIN : B08PDQQHSW
- Publisher : HQ Fiction (1 June 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 779 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 250 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 3,824 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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If I compare this to other cosy mysteries, it’s quite a superior book. Most cosies I’ve read up until now have been a little annoying. I’m not a fan of the ‘quirky’ characters usually included. Hart, at least, avoids that trap with her supporting characters being mostly an appealing bunch, archeologist Alain and builder Boris (wait… were those alliterations deliberate?) being my favs who I hope turn up again in subsequent books.
Our heroine, Poppy, is [most of the time] pretty likeable too. Poppy has engaged Boris to renovate her house when he comes across bones under the floorboards and soon she is embroiled in a murder mystery involving an ultra conservative minor political party which is being funded by a Pentecostal contemporary Christian church. Poppy’s day job as a researcher for a children’s programme at the ABC (Australian Government funded tv station ABC, not the US commercial network version) makes it easy enough for her to switch roles and use the excuse of being a reporter to nose around into the affairs of the leaders of the church/politicians.
The pace of the book moved along nicely until I got to around the last third where I felt the fun of the book started to wane a bit. There’s a few things I put this down to. One was the chemistry between Poppy and her potential love interest. Hart gave them some conflict, a couple of good reasons why they shouldn’t get together, I admit, but I still just didn’t feel the unresolved sexual tension was that strong.
Another problem I had was Poppy’s age and the book’s contemporary setting. I actually don’t think Poppy and her inner thoughts felt very modern or young a lot of the time. Her talk of tea and roasts and such all seemed to suit someone a lot older. I think Hart should have just made her older and perhaps set the whole thing in the 60s or 70s.
I do think, however, if Hart can rein in that self righteous attitude, she will be on a winner with Poppy and this series. At least there was no mind reading witches or grandmothers reincarnated as cats, after all.
3 ½, heading towards 4 out of 5
* Than you to Net Galley and the publishers for my copy (this hasn't altered my review in any way).
Poppy McGowan works as a researcher for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), working on a stimulating "real life" show for kids. When her builder discovers a skeleton beneath the floorboards of the cottage she's renovating, it seems a great opportunity to film a segment on suburban archaeology. Things don't stay fun for long though - firstly, the head archaeologist Dr. Julieanne Weaver, a long-time nemesis of Poppy's, threatens to whack a heritage order on her property, then said archaeologist is found dead in the excavation pit that was once Poppy's living room!
Drawing on her skills in researching and natural tenacity, Poppy sets out to discover who, apart from herself, might benefit from Dr. Weaver's untimely death. Her search leads her from the many curious characters who work at the Museum of New South Wales, to the murky and tangled web behind both the ultra-conservative Australian Family Party and the Pentecostal-style Church of Radiant Joy. Her investigations lead to a wonderfully high-camp denouement, featuring heroes, villains and members of local government.
Pamela Hart successfully blends a lighthearted mystery with some deeper messages about politics, the news media, attitudes to women and the LGBTI+ community, and the hypocrisies rampant within certain religious lobby groups. As a counterpoint, Poppy's parents and broader family, who are practising Roman Catholics, provide many moments of domestic levity.
Digging Up Dirt was a stimulating and highly enjoyable read and I'm delighted to learn that it's the first in a new series by author Pamela Hart. I'd highly recommend the book to any and all lovers of crime and mystery, especially those who seek a less gritty, more up-beat style.
Top reviews from other countries
The cast of characters are interesting, and feel so real. I also loved the descriptions of Sydney. I felt a strong desire to visit, and walk the streets the characters walked.
Fair warning to people considering buying this, Pamela Hart's political leanings are definitely to the left, so those who do not share her views may not particularly enjoy reading Digging Up Dirt. Some of the themes felt a little heavy-handed to me, but not in a way that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story as a whole.
There is no indication given from storyline whether this will be a standalone, or if there is more to come. I can say that I'd gladly welcome more Poppy McGowan whenever she sees fit to grace us with her presence.