Death in the Ladies Goddess Club – Book Review
Author: Julian Leatherdale
Genre: Mystery, Australian
My rating: ★★★★☆
Release Date: Expected 3rd March, 2020 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
What did I think?
Death in the Ladies Goddess Club is a complex murder mystery set in Kings Cross in the 1930s. Leatherdale’s novel offers a cast of characters who are bohemian, on the dangerous side and despite their flaws, often very likeable. Though I didn’t always agree with their antics.
The main protagonist, Joan, is a journalist by day and novel writer by night and she gets caught up in the mystery, amateur detective style, as the story gets played out in her novel. Leatherdale does a lovely job of bringing her to life, giving her plenty of verve. He also creates likeable, imperfect, characters in Joan’s friend, Bernice, and other supporting parts.
I can tell you those days were pretty wild. Well, in the Cross at least. I loved the interweaving of Bacchus/Dionysus into the story. For me, it helped set a tone that I enjoyed reading about and I think that tone was about a certain…decadence. Whether the rich living in a mansion or the bohemian poor living in a boarding house, Leatherdale developed a depth in the novel’s time period and history (for example the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge) that was so fun to read.
‘City of Shadows‘ was a term I came across once again while reading this novel. I got up and grabbed one of my favourite all time photography books, of the same name. It’s a compilation of New South Wales police photographs from the early decades of the 1900s. Looking through it again was a nice adjunct to the read.
I will admit that I suspected the guilty party early on. However, I could never in a million years have guessed what was coming. For that reason, the story and surprise remained solid for me.
This was a rip-roaring mystery complete with blurred moral lines, Bacchus and communists. I can recommend it for anyone who likes mysteries, the 1930s or who is interested in Australian history.
Thank you to the publisher, Allen and Unwin, and the writer, Julian Leatherdale, for my advance reader copy, given in return for an honest review.