Stone Town by Margaret Hickey


I bought this book at The Bright Bookshop. We were spending a weekend in Bright and I was left, in the middle of town, with a car and plenty of time. The first day was a Saturday and also market day. I spent Saturday morning in the market and then wandered around town for a bit before heading back to our motel. Spent more time at the shops on both Sunday and Monday before heading home on Tuesday morning. It is a great little town. The bookshop is wonderful and has a great selection of books, I loved how they have a whole room for their children’s books. Having browsed the entire shop I finally asked for a recommendation of a book by a local writer. My googling tells me that Margaret Hickey lives in north east Victoria, nicely unspecific. The library in Bright is also really nice. It’s small but packs a punch and the librarians are lovely people.

I enjoyed this book. It’s set in small town Victoria and I enjoyed getting a better understanding of what it must be like to live in a small town. A place where you known everyone and everyone knows you. Well, maybe not the new people, or the young people were born between the time you left and came back. But, everyone knows your Mum because she had a hand in everything and was always first to put up her hand when someone needs a meal. That was Mark Ariti’s Mum. I’m not saying she was important to the story or the murder investigation, but she was important to the character, Mark Ariti, and giving us all of this background helps flesh out other characters.

One reason we’re given so much information about Mark’s Mum is because this seems to be our entry into the CWA. There is probably a CWA in every country town across Australia. The initials stand for Country Women’s Association. They are the people who fund raise whenever money is needed for something. They provide meals and support when needed, they make so many, many scones. In one year, one CWA would probably make more scones that I have made in my entire life. I love making scones, so that’s a huge amount of scones. Except for the scones, this point is hammered home to us. I’m not averse to having this pointed out to me so much, the CWA has made so much of a difference to so many, they all deserve any accolades sent their way.

There are some great characters in this book. I’m not mentioning Mark Ariti as he’s too obvious. I started this paragraph with the idea of picking up some characters from my notes. As it turns out I’ve written a total of zero notes. Not one note! I wanted to mention the boy who saved Mark from the bullies all those years ago at school. It was an unorthodox save, but they’ve been friends since then and we see them both together. I also wanted to talk about one of the CWA, one of those stalwarts who keep things going. Sadly, I can’t find their names on a quick look. You’ll just have to read the book to find out the names of these people.

It’s a great murder mystery. There are certainly twists and as I wasn’t trying to solve the murder I was surprised. But I was notating things in my mind. Things which would have been easier to remember if I’d actually done something sensible such as making notes. If you’d like to buy the book and see what I’m rabbiting on about you can use this link. I do appreciate everyone who clicks on the link, there have been several clicks this week and each one gives me heart.

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