Sunday 19 May 2019

Under the Cold Bright Lights

Finished May 12
Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher

This Australian mystery features the Melbourne detective Alan Auhl. Alan had retired from the police, but recently rejoined to work cold cases. Alan also has an unusual living arrangement. He lives in the large old house that he inherited from his parents. He rents out rooms to university students, and his university attending daughter also lives there. His ex-wife has a room in the house that she sometimes uses and the two get on well. There is a small suite at the back of the house that has been used from time to time by people who need time to get themselves together, and is currently being used by a young mother and daughter fleeing from a domestic abuse situation with a powerful man.
As the book begins, a body is found in a former agricultural area hidden under a concrete pad. Alan and his team are assigned the case, looking to find both the identity of the man and who might have killed him. Another case that Alan brings to the job himself, is one that he worked on before he retired. The two daughters of a murder victim call him every year to see if anything has turned up. He decides to look into the case again and see what he can find. Alan is also brought into another case from his past when a man that Alan had investigated for murder when both of his first two young wives died under suspicious circumstances. Alan could never prove it, but he believed the man was guilty. Now, though the man is accusing his third wife of trying to kill him, a twist that Alan doesn't believe for a minute.
On the home front, Alan is finding himself drawn into the situation with his vulnerable tenant as well. As Alan starts to make more of a productive relationship with one of his new colleagues, he also gets drawn into her personal life. There is lots going on here, and Alan is a very interesting man, who strongly believes in justice, even if it isn't always formal.

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