The Text Publishing Company, Sep 2005
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
When Janine McQuarrie, a psychologist and the daughter-in-law of
Superintendent McQuarrie of the Mornington Peninsula police, is found shot
to death, the only witness is her seven year old daughter. Detective
Inspector Hal Challis is assigned the case which he doesnít particularly
For a start, Superintendent McQuarrie is a pompous man, a pen pusher, not
a police officer, who keeps interfering and trying to direct the
investigation. Whether itís because he just wants to help, just being
protective of his family, Hal isnít sure. Things become even murkier upon
the discovery of Janineís damaged mobile phone which contains pornographic
photos of people having group sex. She and her husband have been attending
sex parties where Janine has taken photos and sent them to some of the
participants which widens the list of suspects.
Hal is also getting conflicting impressions about the victim. Her family
insist sheís a caring, loving woman, doing good work counselling the
troubled at a local clinic. Her colleagues and some of her patients say
sheís self-serving and arrogant and takes pleasure in confronting those
she sees as the source of the problems of her clients.
Halís former lover, Tessa Kane, editor of the local newspaper has recently
caused considerable controversy by writing a feature article about these
sex parties. Now she is working on a story about the nearby detention
centre for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. There have been many
complaints about the treatment of the inmates. The manager is a rather
unpleasant South African who is refusing to talk to the media which only
makes Tessa more determined.
When Tessa is also found dead, Hal has to try and work out whether her
murder is connected to the sex parties or the detention centre or perhaps
something else going on in her life.
SNAPSHOT is set on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Itís an area that
has a string of small to medium sized beach towns and the economy relies
very heavily on tourism. This particular book is set in winter and its
portrayal of a summer holiday town in winter hibernation is particularly
vivid. As in most small communities, there is much intertwining of
relationships both personal and professional, all of which impact on one
another. This enables the author to create multi-layered stories with
complex characters. In many police procedurals, the author will try to
give the reader a glimpse of the private lives of the characters as well
as their work, often at the expense of the pace of the plot, but Garry
Disher manages to do it beautifully.
Disher has published a number of stand alone novels and several
non-fiction works. SNAPSHOT is the third in the Hall Challis series and
for those who enjoy police procedurals the series is one which you should
put on your list of must read books.
Original version published on Murder and Mayhem
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