Review: St Kilda Blues by Geoffrey McGeachin


Title: St Kilda Blues { Detective Charlie Berlin #3}

Author: Geoffrey McGeachin

Published: Viking: Penguin May 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 26 to 28, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

In St Kilda Blues, by award winning author Geoffrey McGeachin, ex-World War II bomber pilot and POW, Victorian police detective Charlie Berlin, is unceremoniously yanked from exile in the fraud squad to run a covert investigation into the disappearance of a teenage girl. Under pressure from shadowy top brass and the girl’s well connected father, Charlie, along with his one time protege Bob Roberts, finds himself on the trail of a serial killer.

The third installment of this intelligent and entertaining police procedural series offers superb characterisation, an intriguing investigation and interesting insight into the pathology of a sociopath with a secondary narrative that reveals the chilling evolution of the killer Charlie is hunting.

Unusually McGeachin chooses to leap ahead a decade in each installment of this series. Set in 1967, McGeachin creates a authentic sense of time and place in St Kilda Blues as Melbourne is buffeted by the winds of change wrought by the era of ‘free love’ and the Vietnam War.

Charlie has changed little in the last ten years, retaining his strong sense of justice and dedication to his job. Still frustrated with the politics and corruption in the force, his focus is on finding the missing girl, no matter the consequences for his career. He is impatient with the inequities of justice that allowed the killer to torture and murder nine young women, the self serving politicians suddenly demanding results, and the ineptitude of the official investigators.

Berlin does find himself distracted though by the resemblance of the teen’s father to an SS officer he witnessed murder a young woman during his time as a POW. For Berlin, the memories of his wartime experiences are never far from his mind. In addition, Charlie is worried about his wayward son, Peter, serving in the army and his adored daughter, Sarah, spending a year on a philanthropic mission in Israel.

Though St Kilda Blues works as a stand alone, the nuances of Charlie’s character are cumulative and the experience of reading this novel is richer if you first read The Diggers Rest Hotel and Blackwattle Creek.

St Kilda Blues is a fine example of Australian crime fiction that combines outstanding character with accomplished storytelling, and I recommend it, and the entire series, without hesitation.


Chasing Shadows  is Available to Purchase from

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Melinda
    May 30, 2014 @ 23:19:43

    I like stories that is set around wartime. I think I will enjoy this one.



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