Book review: Broken Bay by Margaret Hickey

Friday, June 16, 2023 Permalink

Broken Bay is the third book in this very enjoyable series by Margaret Hickey featuring DS Mark Ariti. Each has been named after a place – Cutters End, Stone Town and now Broken Bay where Mark’s taken a short break to do some fishing. There’s a tragic death while he’s there, but it unearths (kinda literally) another body and Mark’s convinced to hang around until more is known about the cause of death.

Book review: Broken Bay by Margaret HickeyBroken Bay
by Margaret Hickey
Series: Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti #3
Published by Bantam Australia
on 13/06/2023
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 0143777262
Pages: 378

Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti has taken a few days’ holiday in Broken Bay at precisely the wrong time. The small fishing town on South Australia’s Limestone Coast is now the scene of a terrible tragedy.

Renowned cave diver Mya Rennik has drowned while exploring a sinkhole on the land of wealthy farmer Frank Doyle. As the press descends, Mark’s boss orders him to stay put and assist the police operation.

But when they retrieve Mya's body, a whole new mystery is opened up, around the disappearance of a young local woman twenty years before . . .

Suddenly Mark is diving deep into the town’s history - and in particular the simmering rivalry between its two most prominent families, the Doyles and Sinclairs.

Then a murder takes place at the Sinclairs’ old home – and Mark is left wondering which is more Broken Bay’s hidden subterranean world or the secretive town above it .

I’m liking Mark more and more each outing in this series. In the first book he’s still married but it’s made even more tenuous because he’s headed off on a case (with links to his past) without consulting with his wife. There’s some romance for a newly single Mark in the second book and this time around he’s trying to make a decision about that relationship and his future.

I was fascinated – with equal amounts of horror and awe – at the notion of sinkhole diving. I can’t stop thinking about the fact they’ve suddenly appeared and could – just as suddenly – close up or move! And we’re offered a wonderful sense of place here, reflecting the quiet isolation of rural coastal communities.

Hickey offers us an interesting array of characters here, predominantly through a couple of families with histories that blend and blur. There’s bad blood that simmers beneath the surface and long but wary friendships.

Old friends, he thought, they’re channels to our former selves. How else can we recognise what we once where, what we’ve become? p 83

There’s also a reminder that small communities have long memories and though sometimes we grow out of the stupid things we do when young, sometimes it’s a reflection of who we really are.

Hickey manages to include a cold case, accidental death and fresh murder in this well-paced novel which strays from the more predictable missing persons / murder cases, offering readers something quite unique.

Broken Bay by Margaret Hickey was published by Bantam Australia (Penguin Books). and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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