Review: Consolation by Garry Disher

Title: Consolation {Paul Hirschhausen #3}

Author: Garry Disher

Published: 3rd November 2020, Text Publishing

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Text Publishing/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

Consolation is the third excellent, compelling crime novel by Garry Disher to feature Constable Paul Hirschhausen, a country copper in rural South Australia.

It’s winter in Tiverton, there is frost on the ground and snow on Razorback ridge and as Hirsch patrols the quiet streets in the freezing Wednesday dawn he is ruminating on the behaviour of the ‘snow dropper’ stealing the underthings of elderly women from clothesline’s all over the district. Arriving at the one-man police station that is barely warmer inside than out, a request for a welfare check first leads Hirsch to discover a severely neglected young girl, next he is called to calm an irate parent at the local primary school, and then made aware of gossip that suggests a local big shot is in financial trouble. Thursday, Hirsch’s regular long range westerly patrol is interrupted by an environmental control officer wanting an escort to inspect a local property, and an accusation is made regarding the exertion of undue influence against an elderly lady. On Friday, everything goes to hell, and Paul finds himself dealing with a manhunt, a stalker, a missing man, Irish conmen, a dead woman, all while managing two stations, and his relationship.

There is a lot happening in Consolation but Disher manages the multiple threads skilfully, connecting seemingly disparate people and events in a manner that feels credible where any single disturbance can create a ripple effect within a small community. There’s plenty of well timed action that drives the story at a fast pace but without sacrificing suspense, or emotion.

A country copper is more than just an enforcer of the law, Paul is often called upon to act, among other things, as a mediator, a counselor, a confessor, and a jack-of-all-trades. The various events in Consolation requires Hirsch to draw on all his skills to keep the peace within his community, and he is often worried he won’t be able to do it right, despite evidence to the contrary. Paul’s humility and integrity contrast with that of several of the visiting officers in the novel who are variously ego-driven or indifferent.

The setting is recognisably Australian, Disher’s prose effortlessly evokes the environment, character, and residents of Tiverton and surrounds. The laconic dialogue and dry wit is familiar and authentic.

This series has become a firm favourite of mine, Consolation is as deserving of five stars as its predecessors Bitter Wash Road (US title: Hell To Pay) and Peace. If I was pressed to recommend just one Australian rural crime series, this would be it.


Available from Text Publishing

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

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  3. Carla
    Nov 02, 2020 @ 09:13:11

    Great review Shelley Rae, It sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Helen Murdoch
    Nov 02, 2020 @ 10:46:28

    I liked Peace, which I read on your recommendation so I’ll add this one to my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Claire Louisa
    Nov 02, 2020 @ 11:04:50

    Do I need to read the first two before this one?



  6. Trackback: #R3COMM3ND3D2020 with #BookBlogger Shelleyrae (@bookdout) #BookdOut #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2020 |
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