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Death of an old goat
Death of an old goat
Author: Robert Barnard
ISBN-13: 9780002311984
ISBN-10: 0002311984
Pages: 190

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Publisher: Collins [for] the Crime Club
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette
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In "Death of an Old Goat" Robert Barnard gives a witty detective story in an academic setting as well as a satisfying plot.
There's a wonderful cast of ignoble characters including nasty back-biting academics, ignorant prejudiced graziers (sheep barons), and Inspector Royle who at one point declares he doesn't have to catch THE murderer, just A murderer. Imagine RCMP Sgt Dudley Dooright with his moral compass reversed 180 degrees and his IQ halved -- that's Inspector Royle. The mystery takes second place to the satirical portrayals of the characters and what they reveal about Australian life. The primary character is probably the rural Australian psyche itself, and the individuals are all variations on that theme.
The mystery itself is puzzling but hardly suspenseful, and the solution to the crime is anti-climatic -- until the splendid kicker of the final paragraph. This book is an extremely funny satire.
It also gives a very close up and personal look at University life "down under". And the fun doesn't stop right up until the very last words. Barnard pokes fun at all kinds of golden age mystery writers, and his Royle creation is absolutely wonderful.
Read this book for a good laugh, and the mystery isn't bad either. It is wickedly funny!
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