Book Title: A Few Right Thinking Men (Rowland Sinclair, #1)
Author: Sulari Gentill
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction
Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Book synopsis: Rowland Sinclair is an artist and a gentleman. In Australia’s 1930s the Sinclair name is respectable and influential, yet Rowland has a talent for scandal.
Even with thousands of unemployed lining the streets, Rowland’s sheltered world is one of exorbitant wealth, culture and impeccable tailoring. He relies on the Sinclair fortune to indulge his artistic passions and friends … a poet, a painter and a brazen sculptress.
Mounting tensions fuelled by the Great Depression take Australia to the brink of revolution.
Rowland Sinclair has been murdered against a backdrop of Depression and political unrest between The New Guard and Communists, and the need to maintain a democratic Australia in the interwar years of the 1930s. His nephew, also Rowland Sinclair, known as Rowly, is indifferent to the political climate, much to the chagrin of his older brother, Wilfred, a returned soldier from World War One, disappointed in his brother’s choice of career, though the family has money and several properties, and disappointed in him not having fought for his country or wanting to fight now, despite Rowly having been too young at the outset of the war. Instead of falling into a line his brother deems appropriate, Rowland has opened his home to other artists who need a place to stay and work, when he is drawn into a world of political factions following the death of his uncle, the elder Rowland Sinclair.
The intrigue that Rowland follows and the conspiracies surrounding his uncle’s death and the actions to prevent Communism curling its red fingers around the democracy of Australia that threatens to dissolve in the days of Depression, come to a head with the conflicts of the Old Guard and the New Guard, the Legion and plots to kidnap Premier Lang, and De Groot’s famed crashing of the Sydney Harbour Bridge opening in 1932. Soon, his double identity to try and find out who killed his uncle is uncovered, and Rowly finds his life, and those of his friends, in danger.
Having read book two first, for the NSW Writer’s Centre, I went back to book one eagerly. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will be making my way through the rest of them soon. I felt for Rowly and his friends, Clyde and Milt, too young to have gone to war against Germany, yet still feeling the despair and, from Wilfred towards Rowland, the disappointment of society that they had not gone, that they had been too young to fight. Gentill captured these attitudes well, reflecting on how those able would look down on those who didn’t or were not able to. She painted her characters and their relationships with real-life characters from the day perfectly and seamlessly – they slipped into the real life events as though they had really been there. Reading this book, I felt as though I was in that world too, enjoying life as an artist with Milt, Clyde, Rowly and Edna. I found Gentill’s work to be well researched historically, and Rowland was an amazing character, his introduction to readers was beautifully written. I look forward to reading more of his adventures.